Here’s a weird confession! I have had a desire to visit the home of the Amish people, Lancaster County, for years. Yeah, I know that’s odd. Instead of dreaming about a vacation on a tropical beach all I can think of is to check out farmlands of mid-America.
But if you think about it, you will realize that it is a unique trip. Plus after living in Central America for years my boys have been to tons of beaches, but we don’t get much travel to the countryside with pristine farmlands and cultures such as the Amish.
This year I was lucky enough to travel to Pennsylvania with my extended family. It was a family reunion where my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, the kids and I all ended up learning something new.
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Fun Facts About the Amish Way of Life
What we learned on our visit to Lancaster:
The Amish don’t have electricity, computers or phones in their house. However, they do keep phones and have electricity in their offices and on corners that serve several families at once.
- If a man has a beard it means he is married.
- The length of the beard reflects the length of the marriage.
- They only go to school through 8th grade.
- Their kids go to one-room school houses with one teacher. Older kids help the younger kids.
- The Amish pay into Social Security, but they will ever take a payout. They don’t believe in relying on the government.
- The Amish are extremely humble. They don’t want to ever stand out as more important as the other, because their religion specifies that every person is the same. And this includes people that are not part of their religion.
- Amish don’t have churches, instead their parishes have around 25 families in each. And every other Sunday a household will host the services.
- The minister isn’t chosen by anyone. When it’s time to choose a new minister a piece of paper will be put in the bible and whoever gets that bible will be minister for life.
- A minister is almost like the president who sets and makes all the rules for that parish. They carry the most responsibility. This is super important for the Amish, especially if they have a modern minister which helps them become more part of the society.
- When an Amish boy or girl turns 18 years old, the family gives them money and allows them be part of our world for two to four years. During this time they are allowed to drive cars, have computers, dress normally and do everything we all do, even partying. This tradition is kind of like ‘sowing your oats’ before committing to a simple, strict and religious life. Only 9% of Amish leave after this experience.
- Amish are usually some of the first people on scenes of natural disasters to help. They believe everyone should help everyone else, but they never want to be mentioned or given any glory for this.
- The Amish don’t use bikes. They have scooters that have wheels like bicycles. The reason why, bikes can take their kids pretty far. However, a scooter not so much.
The Amish Village Grounds Tour
Recommendation – When you first arrive do the short tour of the Amish House before heading out on to the main grounds. It’s only 15 minutes long, included in your entrance fee, and a good way to get the background about these humble people. It is easy for the youngest of kids to get into the tour. My four year old was really enjoying.
The Amish House and Village- Fun Facts
- The Kitchen – This is the most important room in the house especially during the winter. It is warm and they don’t have central heat.
- The Amish Bedroom – It is usually shared by many family members. The Amish are known to have anywhere between 5 – 13 kids.
- The Amish Wardrobe – a) They don’t use buttons, b) nothing shiny is allowed and C) only certain colors.
- The One-Room Schoolhouse – All the kids of an area that is walking distance from the house are taught in it.
- Wooden Covered Bridge – There is a good reason why they cover their bridges. A wooden bridge that isn’t covered will last around 15 years while a covered one up to 125 years.
- Tools – The tools that they use for their farming today look like they are from 500 years ago.
Information for Amish Village and Bus Backroads Tour
Address: 199 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks, PA 17572
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm; Sunday: 10am-5pm
Children 5-12: $5.50
Children 4 & younger: FREE
(access to the entire Amish Village property is included in the cost of the tour).
Bus Backroads Tour
Amish Village Tour: (Includes guided house tour and self guided farm Tour)
Child (5-12) $5.50
Child (0-4) Free
Bus Tour Only: (Includes 90 minute countryside bus tour)
Child (0-12) $13.00
Premium Package Tour: (Includes both guided house, self guided farm tour and 90 min countryside bus tour)
Child (0-12) $16.00