I hear there's a large Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Can you stay in or around these villages, or are they strictly off limits to travellers? Are there any camping grounds, etc where one can stay?
I find the Amish culture really fascinating and would love to experience it first hand - any info would be great :-)
Yes, there is a large Amish population in Pennsylvania, but as an endogomous community, I'm not sure how much or what type of access you will have to Amish individuals as a traveller/tourist. It may depend on the practices of the community within that area itself. For example, I've been to St Jacobs in Ontario, and many Mennonite people take part in the local farmers' market. They also sell various handmade goods, such as furniture, and farm tours are available at certain times of the year.
I guess it comes down to issues of respect, I mean just observing someone in their environment can be quite evasive and objectifies them in a way..so if you do have access to the community, I'd assume it would be somehow controlled.
Hopefully someone from Pennsylvania can be of more help...
Definitely go to Lancaster and surrounding areas. The Amish do
seem to keep to themselves somewhat, but you'll be able to see their
very neat farms and them working in the fields. Also, there are Amish
farms you may visit for a fee. There are many things to see and do.
A wonderful farmer's market, museums, gift shops with wonderful
homemade quilts, restaurants with Amish and Mennonite foods.
Don't hesitate to visit the area. Also, nearby is Hersey, PA - well
worth a visit to see the chocolate factory--a super tour. The downtown street lights are Hersey kisses! Lots to see here, too.
There are some really nice campgrounds all around - check online.
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 4, 2007, at 6:26 PM by dlbrown ]
What a coincidence, I was born here and still live in Lancaster PA
There are all sorts of things you can do here that pertain to the Amish. There are possibly 100 Amish run family restaurants to choose from, and from all the ones I've eaten at, they are all hearty and pretty delicious! There's farmers markets and all kinds of shops selling handmade crafts. The main hub of Amish occupation resides in the Strasburg area. You can head to the Creamery in the square of Strasburg, have an ice cream and watch the buggies pass by. Even for me it's like traveling back in time (with the buggies and all) There are a few Amish farm tours located in Strasburg as well. Other main Amish spots include Paradise, New Holland and Bird In Hand (area) For the most part, the Amish live on huge farms so your vision of "villages" may not be correct. These are scattered along the vast rolling hills of farmland which by the way are absolutely amazing. These backdrops are renowned worldwide for their beauty. Just driving through them puts you in a mystical daze. For the most part, Amish folk themselves isolate themselves from most other people in Lancaster so it'll be pretty hard to experience life firsthand in a real Amish farm amongst the children but there are ways (I'm not sure of them though). It's mostly the Mennonites who own all the souvenir and craft shops as well. There is a difference between the two and you'll find the Mennonites more sociable due to their softening views on modern society.
thank you so much for the advice and information :-)