10Best Visits Amish Country: A Free, Fun Family Idea

  • Lancaster County back country road

    A Journey Through Amish Country

    While 27 states are home to Amish communities, the largest are found in Ohio and Pennsylvania. These communities of deeply religious farmers and craftspeople maintain a more traditional way of life without the modern conveniences much of the country enjoys, and traveling through Amish Country offers visitors in insight into this very different way of life.

    Photo courtesy of www.discoverlancasterpa.com / Terry Ross

  • Barn raising

    Witness a Barn Raising

    If you're lucky, you may get to see one of the most impressive Amish traditions – a community barn raising. In a family's time of need, the community comes together with supplies and materials, and within a day or two, a new barn is erected. As many as 300 men and boys come together to work, and the process becomes somewhat of a social event that draws the community closer together.

    Photo courtesy of Angela Gray

  • Ohio Amish Country

    The Amish Lifestyle

    Amish traditions center around the ideals of humility, simplicity, equality and modesty based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. These communities across the country have their origins in 16th century Europe when the Anabaptist Reformation gave birth to "Plain" communities. Family and community stability are held dear, while modern conveniences like electricity and gadgets are spurned as they are thought to weaken familial bonds.

    Photo courtesy of Fisherga

  • Amish farm in Ohio

    Lush Landscapes

    A large part of Amish Country's draw is the spectacular scenery – rolling green hills dotted with farms and windmills, where cars share the roads with horse and buggies. Ohio's Amish Country, centered around Holmes County within easy reach of Cleveland and Columbus, is home to about 40,000 Amish people. Take a few days to drive from town to town in the hill country of East-Central Ohio, and leave the cell phone at home.

    Photo courtesy of Discover Ohio

  • Amish family at work

    Biking Ohio Amish Country

    In Ohio, one of the best ways to experience Amish Country with your family is in the saddle of a bicycle. The 29-mile Holmes County Trail has a paved lane for bicycles as well as a lane designated for buggies extending from Fredericksburg to Killbuck. It's the first trail in the country made to accommodate Amish buggies, and you're sure to encounter a few from the local villages on your journey.

    Photo courtesy of Michelle Lavoie

  • Covered bridge near Lancaster

    Lancaster County

    In Pennsylvania, the oldest and largest Amish communities can be found in Lancaster County. Known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, this area has become synonymous with Amish traditions. Take a buggy ride past school houses, barns and craft workshops or do some shopping at a traditional mud sale. Lancaster County is also home to 29 picturesque covered bridges – perfect spots for a family photo.

    Photo courtesy of www.discoverlancasterpa.com / Coy Butler

  • Amish kids watching a hot air balloon set up

    Amish Farm and House

    Lancaster's Amish Farm and House, located 50 miles west of Philadelphia, opened in 1955 as a place where visitors interested in Old Order Amish could come and receive accurate information without invading the privacy of local community members. Here you can see the inside of a modern, furnished Amish farm while learning about the history, traditions and beliefs of the Amish community.

    Photo courtesy of sneakerdog

  • Amish broom maker

    Fine Craftsmanship and Good Food

    The Amish are famous throughout the world for their fine craftsmanship. On weekdays, Amish shops are open for business, and you'll find handmade wooden furniture, hand-stitched quilts, toys, candles and other crafts. When you get hungry, stop in to one of the local restaurants for some traditional Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, with dishes like whoopie pie, schnitz und knepp, chicken pot pie and chow chow making frequent appearances on menus.

    Photo courtesy of Discover Ohio

  • Common sign in Pennsylvania Amish Country

    Baked Goods and Fresh Produce

    As you pass through Amish Country, you'll notice dozens of signs advertising made-from-scratch baked goods and fresh produce from Amish farms. Stop in at any of these roadside bakeries for fresh apple dumplings, shoofly pies or jarred fruit preserves to take home. In Lancaster, visit the farmers market for fresh produce, baked goods and some delicious Amish cheese.

    Photo courtesy of Danelle Bailey

  • Ohio Amish Country

    Amish Country Etiquette

    While traveling through Amish Country can be a deeply rewarding experience, it's important to remember that the people you're learning about are just that – people. Always be respectful of their privacy and way of life.

    Photo courtesy of Discover Ohio

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