A weekend trip to Lancaster County, PA, offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the Amish community. Here's a two-day itinerary to make the most of your time in Amish Country:
Day 1: Dive Deep into Amish Culture
1. Breakfast at a local eatery Start your day with a hearty Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast. Try places like Miller’s Smorgasbord or Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord.
2. Visit the Amish Village Get an introduction to Amish history and lifestyle. This recreated Amish home and farm will give you insights into daily life, traditions, and beliefs.
3. Take a Buggy Ride Experience the countryside the way the Amish do. Companies like Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides offer various routes that show off the beautiful landscapes and Amish farmhouses.
4. Lunch at Katie’s Kitchen Located right in the heart of Amish Country, this restaurant serves authentic Amish dishes.
5. Amish Craftsmanship and Shopping Visit places like Riehl’s Quilts & Crafts or Snyder's Furniture. Here you can appreciate the Amish's incredible craftsmanship and even purchase handcrafted items.
6. Explore a Covered Bridge Lancaster County has numerous historic covered bridges. Choose one or two to visit, such as the Bird-in-Hand Covered Bridge.
7. Dinner at Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant Enjoy traditional Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish specialties.
Day 2: Engage with Nature and History
1. Breakfast at Speckled Hen Coffee For a mix of modern and traditional, try the Speckled Hen in Strasburg.
2. Strasburg Rail Road Board a historic steam train for a 45-minute ride through the countryside. You can also visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania located nearby.
3. Picnic Lunch at Central Park Pack a picnic with local produce and enjoy it at Lancaster County Central Park.
4. Hike or Bike the Lancaster Junction Trail A relatively flat and scenic trail suitable for all levels.
5. Visit Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum Learn about Pennsylvania German rural history from the 1700s to 1900s. Interact with costumed interpreters and witness live demonstrations.
6. Sample Local Cheeses Stop by September Farm Cheese to sample and buy locally made cheeses.
7. Dinner at Log Cabin Restaurant Set in a historic log cabin, this restaurant offers a mix of traditional and modern dishes.
Dress Modestly: Out of respect for the Amish community, consider wearing modest attire, covering shoulders and knees.
Respect Privacy: While the Amish are accustomed to tourists, always ask for permission before taking photos. Avoid taking pictures of their faces.
Shop Local: The area boasts many local artisans and farmers. Support them by purchasing their handcrafted items and fresh produce.
Stay Alert on Roads: You'll share the road with horse-drawn buggies, so drive carefully.
Remember, the charm of Lancaster County lies in its simplicity and the warmth of its people. Engage respectfully and enjoy the slower pace of life.