AMISH COUNTRY, The Best NYC Weekend Getaway

Lancaster, PA
One of our end-of-summer get aways included a day trip to Amish Country in Lancaster County, PA.
Oh – it’s a bit of heaven, I tell you.  That place is as peaceful and beautiful as can be.
Amish Country
Prior to going, Danny and I had been working a bunch and getting a
little worn out.  But taking this much needed break was so good for our
souls.  We wanted to take pictures of every farm, every quiet field,
and every bit of sunset.  I guess you could say we don’t get out of the
city enough.  New York and all the traffic and tolls can hold you
hostage sometimes!  🙂
Amish hat
I had been wanting an Amish hat.  Check out this amazing hat workshop I found.

Amish Country
While driving around, we followed a sign that said “Heirloom Tomatoes –>”  

And we met this wonderful Amish family…
clothes line

amish buggy

The community lives in the slowest, most peaceful way.  No
cars.  No electricity.  But the gardens and vegetables would blow your
mind!  And the people are as kind as you could imagine.  

amish farm

church marquee
We were only there one day, but it wasn’t long enough.  We could have
stayed there so much longer, just soaking up the last bits of sun and the
fresh air.

A few recommendations:

If there’s a sign with an arrow leading you into a farm, follow it.   🙂
Homemade root beer.  Homemade pies.  Fresh cheese and butter.  Handmade wooden toys.  Candles.  Handmade hats.  Amish doll clothes.  And if you’re lucky…you might see some darling little Amish kids selling lemonade.  You will just die from how cute they are.

You must eat with an Amish family!
This is not to be missed!  Meeting the people is the best part.  The problem is, the families can’t really advertise that they serve dinner.  They prefer that you enter their homes as “guests” and they don’t charge money – they just accept donations (usually the suggested amount is $12-15).  So…you must find a family through the underground.  I have a few names that I have used over the years.  I’ve had dinner with about (4) families and it has been amazing every time.  Email me if you want the phone #s to make a reservation.  The other way to find a family serving dinner is to ask B&B owners.  They usually will have some leads.

Don’t miss the towns of Bird-in-Hand, Strasburg, and Intercourse.
These towns especially have a lot of activity.  But don’t just stay on the main roads here.  There is a lot to do and see on the back roads…some of the best shops and bakeries can be found there.

For kids – stay on an Amish Farm and also take a buggy ride
We didn’t do this, but it looked fun!

Pick up a local map at a visitors center or shop.
GPS won’t cut it here.  It’s helpful to have all the Amish bakeries and craftsmen work shops right on your little map as you drive along.

Attend an Amish auction.
I have wanted to do this for years, but the timing hasn’t worked out.  The Amish communities have tons of auctions.  Call a local information center or Town Commerce in advance to find out if they have any auctions scheduled while you’ll be there.  

Have you ever been to Amish country?  Any recommendations to add?  We hope to go back there soon.

P.S.  Natthefatrat went to Amishland, too.  Here are some pics.

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  1. Anonymous October 8, 2012 at 4:20 am - Reply

    Mara, you always look fabulous in all the pics you post of yourself! I'm sure Danny never gets tired of looking at you. 😉 I'm dying to know if you ever stay in your pajamas all day. I'm afraid if I worked from home I would be tempted to stay in my pajamas all the day long.

    • mara October 8, 2012 at 4:46 am - Reply

      Hi – yes! 🙂 I write at this computer in my comfy clothes longer than I should. It's both a good & bad aspect of working from home.

  2. CountryMouse October 8, 2012 at 5:34 am - Reply

    Looks idyllic, beautiful, peaceful and like you and Danny had a lovely time.

  3. Alyssa October 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    I almost yelled when I read this. Because I live in Amish Country. And I work in Strasburg. And I can't believe y'all were here! Wish I knew! I'd have met y'all.

    • mara October 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      Oh darn! We would have LOVED to meet up with you!

  4. McKenna Ryan October 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Your weekend looks perfect!! I love the pictures you took and the hat works for you. What a beautiful couple you are.

    • mara October 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      Glad you don't mind the hat 🙂 I get all kinds of double takes when I wear it in NYC. haha.

  5. jessinbelgium October 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    That finger in the nose… what a cutie. Just passed through Amish country last month when I was back home. It is gorgeous and you've captured it so well!

  6. Margoulette October 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    My husband and I, our 1-year and my Mom, who was visiting from France took a trip to Dutch Country about 10 days ago. We stayed in Fleetwood in a cottage that we rented for 3 days.(cheaper than booking 2 hotel rooms). We took a buggy ride,shopped in an amazing fabric store,explored the country side and went to Lancaster's Market on our last day.We bought the best Pumpkin Roll ever,some beautiful leeks and a jar of homemade jam. Everyone was elated.
    I can't wait to go back, but for now we'll try a new Amish Market in Hagerstown,MD.

    • mara October 9, 2012 at 2:38 am - Reply

      Margoulette – what a great idea to rent a cottage! I love it! Sounds like you had an amazing time. Thanks for all the details.

  7. natalie holbrook October 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    oh these photos are divine mara! shoot i wish we'd been there on a not-sunday, hah! guess we'll just have to go again! (next time you head down there let us know! we should make a day of it together ;).

  8. Erin October 9, 2012 at 3:22 am - Reply

    You're photos are wonderful!! I have great memories of visiting the Amish Country one summer when I was younger. I would love to go again soon! What an interesting tip that you can eat dinner with a family there. Did you have any problems eating gluten free (I have to be extremely careful about GF)?

    • mara October 9, 2012 at 3:52 am - Reply

      Regarding GF – the good news is – they make most everything from the garden. I found a good variety of things to eat (corn on the cob, green beans, tomatoes, etc.) And after visiting, I'm realizing that they probably wouldn't have minded at all if I had mentioned that I was gluten free. These Amish women are good cooks and have an abundance of fresh foods to work with…so I think it would be easy for them to exclude bread crumbs and what not from the dishes. They are big fans of rolls and baked goods, though…but I bet they'd be just as happy to make their homemade icecream or puddings. In my case it's tricky as I'm also dairy free…so they served me sweetened peaches for desert and it was just amazing.

  9. katilda October 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Umm I mostly love that the young Amish boy is picking his nose in that photo. So funny.

  10. Caitlyn October 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    It looks like you had a great trip, but I was confused by one of your photos. I have always been told that the Amish do not wish to be photographed. I understand when I see distant shots that they were taken without the person's consent, but these boys and their dad are clearly posing for you. Did they not mind being photographed?

    • danny October 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      We actually spent a good deal of time with this family and had some great conversations. He told us a little of his own story and how he'd come to his own "awakening" of sorts and started acting with greater love and meaning in all areas of life.

      We spent quite a bit of time with him, told him a little of our blog, and said we'd love to write a little about our experience and the people that we met. I asked if he'd mind if I took a photo and he said that was okay. We have a few more things we'd love to write a little later. Hope that clears things up.

    • Caitlyn October 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the reply! I love that answer (in a way it is like he saw it as an act of love for you two!).

  11. Lisa October 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I love these pictures of you guys. So glad you enjoyed your weekend and introducing this interesting place 🙂

  12. Emily October 9, 2012 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    I grew up in Lancaster County and was also going to ask about taking the photo of the family. I'm surprised that he approved it and I'd love to hear more about that conversation. I'm also wondering who you call when you make a dinner reservation. I think the Amish are allowed to have phones in their barns for business but not in their homes? Anyway, I'd also recommend spending some time in the town of Lititz. I'm glad you like this getaway as it's nice to see someone interested in the area where I grew up. I now live in Boston and I miss the simpler lifestyle in Lancaster County for sure. I'll have to do some of these activities with my son next time we are home for a visit. The hat looks great on you, Mara!

    • danny October 10, 2012 at 3:20 am - Reply

      Thank Emily, I can understand why you loved the lifestyle…I couldn't help but look at real estate stuff as soon as we got home because I totally wanted to move there 🙂 It is so beautiful, and everyone we met was wonderful.

      We still plan on writing a little bit more about our experience there specifically because of this man. We haven't had time to prepare the post correctly and the timing might have to wait until spring. But when that happens we'll be sure to share a few extra insights of the truly wonderful family that is pictured in the post. This wasn't the family we ate with, it was someone we stopped to buy produce from and ended up chatting with him for almost 2 hours….meeting him was worth the trip alone.

      I'll admit, I'm not familiar with all the rules they have about photography. I did explain why I'd like to take the picture and told him I wouldn't be offended in the least if he said no. Perhaps he was fine with it because of the quick friendship we'd developed, and that we were excited to attach a face to the wonderful man we'd met and planned to meet again.

      I truly hope I didn't do anything that he would be uncomfortable with. I'd be happy to take the picture down if those who know better thought it was particularly taboo.

  13. Emily October 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Danny-I'm sure if he said ok it was ok. I'm not offended by the photo at all-it's the sweetest photo ever. I haven't lived in that area for 18 years and the customs/stories, etc. of the Amish that I grew up vaguely knowing were all from my mother, who also was raised in the area and who had a friendship with the Amish man who repaired her sewing machine-so those were likely older than I was and maybe they are changing. I will say it is cool to learn the customs/rules. Real estate there probably was shockingly cheap in your view, yes? How cool would it be to have a small home in Amish country?

  14. ellen October 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    I went to Amish Country years ago and I LOVED the laundry — the white and then colored clothes separated. Very cool.

  15. Anonymous October 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Such gorgeous photos! Rejuvenating to see such peace and beauty in nature. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Melissa January 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Did you visit one of their beautiful puppy mills too?

  17. Lindsay September 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Lancaster County is hands down the most awesome place to buy quilting fabric. When we visited this summer, I mapped out our day by the local fabric shops.

  18. The Purds September 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful reminder of a day spent with my lovely daughter "Rik" as we took in the sights of Lancaster County PA. I, too, loved the laundry hanging everywhere…made me want to have a clothesline of my own! And the homemade rootbeer was FABULOUS! I love making memories with loved ones and you two are loved by many! Thank you for the reminder!

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