Last summer, my family and I had the privilege of visiting Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, which is on the east coast of the United States of America. Lancaster County boasts green rolling hills and beautifully cultivated farmland. We spent five days exploring this beautiful part of the country, however, no trip to this part of the country would be complete without a visit with the Amish people on an Amish farm.
The Amish prefer farming as a way of life. They maintain their lifestyle and their families in a rural environment. They do not permit the use of tractors in their fields, as such; their farm equipment are pulled by teams of horses or mules. It was so refreshing to see horse and buggies everywhere. It was almost like you stepped into a nineteen forties western movie. During our visit, I often saw their horses and buggies on the local roads.
The Amish people are very devout in their faith. They believe in the literal interpretation and application of Scripture as the Word of God. They take seriously, the Biblical commands to separate themselves from the things of the world. They do not own or operate automobiles. They believe that cars would provide easier access to the ways of the world, and that worldliness can keep them from being close to God. Worldliness can introduce influences that could be destructive to their communities and to their way of life.
One of the things that struck me was that they all seemed to be happy. They were pleasant and very giving. They seemed proud of their way of life and enjoyed showing us how they lived. It really made me wonder and question all the things I tell myself that I cannot live without. What if I did not have cell phones, broadband Internet or even motor vehicles, would I still be able to enjoy my life? Is it a case of, you don’t miss what you never had? The fact is that the Amish people live with these modern conveniences all around them. They just choose not to partake.
We watched in amazement as the women sewed beautiful quilts by hand. They also made other beautiful handcrafts, which are sold in the gift shops in the village to the thousands of tourists who visit every year. My husband loves corn and he was in heaven. They had some of the sweetest corn we had ever tasted and plenty of it. This brings me to the food.
The Amish have a reputation for good food. Numerous tourist restaurants feature “Pennsylvania Dutch” and “Amish-style” cooking. Amish food typically is very filling, and not low- fat. We went to a smorgasbord called Shady Maple for dinner. This is an all- you-can-eat restaurant. I had never seen that much food in my life. There was something for everyone and the price was amazing. It costs twenty dollars per adult and that included soft drinks. If you love food this is worth trying. The produce was fresh and understandably so, they did not have far to travel from farm to plate.
My biggest takeaway from this trip was a challenge to myself, to take at least one day every now and again and unplug myself from technology and just be. The Amish experience is definitely one to add to your list.
*Contributed by a Teach Middle East Magazine educator who loves to travel!