I’m not sure if “Amish Country” is the correct term for this area, but the Sibling and I took a morning out of our trip to visit the Pennsylvania Dutch community.
PRO TIP: Don’t venture out to visit the Amish on a Sunday. Most things are closed and you end up missing out.
So we went out on a Sunday to Lancaster, PA, and were immediately lost on what we should do since everything we passed seemed closed. Enter the Discover Lancaster Vistiors Center. I HIGHLY encourage stopping here if you don’t know what to do in the area (or any visitor center anywhere, for that matter). The helpful man inside, after being surprised that we wanted to visit on a Sunday, taught us a little about the Amish culture (including usually not being open on Sundays and not being photographed), and gave us a list of businesses that would be open on a Sunday morning. He recommended an iconic buggy ride through the countryside, and encouraged us to stay in the area for lunch.
Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides are open rain or shine 7 days a week, so we lucked out on experiencing an Amish buggy ride. The actual city of this place is called “Bird-in-Hand.” I really liked the buggy ride, and I would encourage those visiting the area to try it out if not for the actual tour, but the wealth of knowledge that the drivers offer about the history and culture of the area.
Even though I only spent a few hours in Amish Country, the buggy seems to be the preferred mode of transportation in the area. There are numerous signs to watch for buggies in the area, and it was interesting to have to watch for the horses in traffic as well.
PRO TIP: Do not stand directly behind a horse. You either get kicked or poop pops out at you.
These buggies fit a surprising amount of people. We took the “Amish Town Tour” and shared a buggy with another vacationing family with 2 irritating children. I admired one of the moms in the group — she did not mess around. When her child complained about how slow the horse pulled us up a hill, she challenged him to hook himself to the buggy and see if he could do a better job. The entire ride was about half an hour, and our driver offered a lot of his knowledge of the Amish culture and history. He was also pro at entertaining irritating children. He was very familiar with the area, and seemed to personally know the people who owned the property we passed.
Having grown up in the suburbs, I had never known a place that used minimal to no electricity could flourish. I also was able to appreciate how GREEN everything was. It was very beautiful, and I loved the slower pace of the countryside. I also watched two chickens fighting in someone’s front yard, a form of entertainment I haven’t seen since.
Sitting in the back of a buggy doing nothing really worked up an appetite, so the sibling and I heeded the nice visitor center man’s advice and stopped for lunch at Millers Smorgasbord Restaurant.
Now, I don’t like to hype up places because everyone has their own opinion — but I FLIPPING loved this place. The Amish know how to eat. Seriously. I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day. You definitely will get sleepy afterwards, so use caution when operating heavy machinery (like your CAR).
They had delicious fried chicken, warm bread, delicious veggies, SEAFOOD BISQUE, and a number of other options that make me drool just thinking about them. And their DESSERTS ….. make sure to save room. Or just sit there for so long that your body makes room. I’m pretty sure the Sibling and I were there for over an hour stuffing ourselves full. I also tried the Shoofly Pie because the name sounded weird, but the apple pie was definitely one of my favorites.
After complaining to the sibling that I couldn’t eat more, we shuffled over the gift shop for a couple of souvenirs, and then we drove off to our next destination while I simultaneously aimed to will myself out of a postprandial snooze.
Next stop — HERSHEY!!