Day Trip: Amish Country, PA
My cousin, David, and his wife, Monica, were in town from Barcelona and staying with my mom in Montgomery County, Maryland. David and Monica are frequent travelers and had already been to Washington, DC and many other places around the world, but one thing Monica had not seen was the Pennsylvania Dutch. She was eager to visit Amish country so we planned a last-minute day trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
First, we visited Amish Village, an Amish property that includes a traditional home, farmhouse, one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, and barn with farm animals, including a peacock. We took a guided tour of the home, complete with a cooking furnace and Amish clothes for different occasions on display.
On the property grounds, we looked inside the one-room schoolhouse. From my limited knowledge of German, I could read some of the text written in Pennsylvania Dutch on the chalkboard. My mother is from Germany and said it basically looked like broken German - her words, not mine. After looking around a bit more, we decided a horse and buggy ride would be our next activity.
After the scenic horse and buggy ride, we all needed some food so I used Yelp to search for Amish restaurants. Amish-run businesses weren't open since it was Sunday and many of the Amish-themed restaurants seemed to be kitschy, but the food at Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant ended up being very good and since we went with the family-style option there was plenty of it.
Here's an important tip for anyone planning to visit Amish country: don't go on a Sunday! The Amish don't conduct business on Sundays for religious reasons. That means there will be no Amish market and very few actual Amish people to be seen in public. A few Amish in buggies did pass us by on the road, but for the most part, the day was pretty quiet. Still, it was a beautiful day and worth the two-hour drive.