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Amish Country

Published on Tuesday 01 November 2011
 
 

Present in many different areas in the world, the amish communities are known for their rejection of many aspects of modern comfort, like electricity or cars. One of the most important is situated in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania. This beautiful area attracts many tourists who have to adapt to the particular amish lifestyle and values. Who are these people we do not really know and, most importantly, is it possible to visit the Amish countryside?

 

WHO ARE THEY?

The Amish history in Pennsylvania dates back to the 18th century, when many Amish and Mennonites (a similar religion) left Europe because of the persecution they were facing there.

Generally, the Amish are known for their very simple lifestyle, recognized by their modest clothing and easily identifiable in today's society because of their way of transportation: horse-drawn carriages.

They refuse modernity because of religious reasons. The majority of Amish are part of the Old Order and must follow very strict rules known as Ordung. The Amish are present in different areas in the United States, but it is estimated that the Pennsylvania Amush population is approximately 47,000, making it one of the largest in the country.

All Amish communities have their own rules and there is no common governance for all groups. However, one thing is common to all: baptism marks a child's entrance and acceptance of the Church and is usually done between the ages of 16 and 25. Depending on the community which they belong to (certain have stricter rules than others), before baptism, teenagers are sometimes permitted to go out into modern society, put on makeup or drink alcool. In fact, I saw two young Amish girls when I walked into a fast-food restaurant in Lancaster!

AMISH COUNTRY IN LANCASTER

During my recent trip to Lancaster, we spent a morning driving around the roads of what is known as Amish Country. The views are picturesque, animals take advantage of plenty of green spaces and houses are equipped with gigantic gas reservoirs (the Amish do not use electricity for various reasons).

Are tourists welcome in this community? Yes, as long as they respect the wishes of the citizens not to be photographed. The Amish do not keep photos in the home and do not want their image imortalized (though it is accepted to photograph the scenery), because they believe that this would go against a Bible commandment. They also wish to be remembered for the life they lived and not for their physical appearance.

Because the Amish do not want their way of life to be seen as a spectacle, it is also important not to point or to park in their driveways hoping to see their homes or carriages up close.

Curious? A belvedere atop of a silo at Red Caboose Motel allows for great views of the countryside while respecting the Amish's desire for privacy.

If you are dreaming of peaceful landscapes and endless flowery fields, Amish Country might just be what was missing from your upcoming Pennsylvania trip!

Blogger : Béatrice B.Poulin

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Blog: Amish Country

Present in many different areas in the world, the Amish communities are known for their rejection of many aspects of modern comfort, like electricity or cars. One of the most important is situated in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania. This (...)