Located in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster is just an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. I was curious to know more about this unique holiday spot, which is made up of two worlds that live in harmony.
The Fascinating Amish Culture and Lifestyle
The Amish came to Lancaster in the 1720s, and they live a life that dates back to an era when the world was a little less complicated. It was fascinating to learn that the Amish want to be self-sufficient and not rely on others for survival. They make a lot of their own clothes, and the girls pin their clothes so that they grow with them over the years. They use propane lamps and irons, as well as gas-powered refrigerators. Compressors power their milking equipment and water wells. Just before the new millennium, the Amish are also using solar power to generate electricity.
The Amish Village and Shopping at Kitchen Kettle Village
My starting point was a visit to The Amish Village, in the middle of a lush farm. This allows visitors to fully experience Amish culture as it is today. There is an authentic Amish farmhouse dating back to 1840, a one-room schoolhouse (children go to school by age 13 or 14), and barnyard filled with cows, sheep, chickens, goats, and horses, as well as a blacksmith shop and market.
Next, I headed east to Kitchen Kettle Village, where there are 42 boutiques and restaurants, including the family-run Jam & Relish Kitchen, which is a true food lover’s paradise. There are literally hundreds of delectable goodies to try including jams, snacks, and sauces. They also make the famous Whoopie Pie, which originated in Lancaster. I passionately dipped into the sweet, spongy, buttercream-filled sandwich, and spent over an hour trying everything else.
Before leaving, I took a tour of Village Quilts to see the amazing selection of handmade quilts and wall hangings. They also sold a “pillow,” which is a quilt that can be folded inside itself to make a pillow. The perfect thing to hang out on my settee on a Sunday afternoon!
Horse and Buggy Ride Through Beautiful Countryside
To make the most of my time in Amish country, I took a tour from Kitchen Kettle Village on an authentic horse-drawn buggy. Jerry and Jimmy pulled me over for an hour, not moving even once because the cars were coming at high speed. We trit-trot on country back roads through a covered bridge and past open fields.
Many of the homes we passed were Colonial Revival and late 19th-century Victorian styles, and I learned that you can recognize Amish homes by green blinds in the windows and clothes hanging to dry.
Boutique Accommodation and Family-Style Dining
Lunch for the day was served at the Plain & Fancy Farms restaurant, a family-style eatery with communal dining tables. The fried chicken was delicious – crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. And the dessert of Snitz apple pie was to die for.
Afterward, I moved to the AmishView Inn & Suites next door to rest in my room. Surrounded by open cornfields, this is a great place to stay. The bathtub was spacious, and with a glass of red wine in hand and some bubble bath, my evening of perfection was easily set off.
It is a place that must be visited in person to be fully appreciated. Be sure to have an authentic Amish experience during your trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania!
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