Take about an hour and a half drive (in a modern car) from Philadelphia, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of Lancaster County – and Dutch Pennsylvania. There are several Amish settlements in the area, including dairy and other farms, as well as restaurants and shops. Take a ride on a horse buggy – and then go off the beaten path for a local experience.
A place to start is at the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau (501 Greenfield Road, Lancaster PA). Here you’ll find suggested itineraries and plenty of ideas about what there is to do in the region. There’s a lot to see – and you may want to get a little selective if you want the most authentic experience. Another good resource is the Real Lancaster Country website.
Below are a few suggestions of spots to visit:
- The Amish Village sits on 12-acres of land and includes an 1840′s Amish farmhouse, horse, buggy, and a schoolhouse.
- Amish shops, like Riehl’s Quilts and Crafts (247 East Eby Road, Leola PA), offer hand-made local items, especially quilts. Assuming you want the real deal, pay attention to where you shop and don’t assume all the shops in the area sell authentic products though.
- Visit Lapp Valley Farm (244 Mentzer Road, New Holland PA) for ice-cream made on-site at this dairy farm.
- Visit a “mud sale” – or one of the many auctions and auction houses.
- Experience family-style dining at local PA Dutch restaurants like Good ‘N Plenty, and Plain & Fancy Farm. The buffet at Dienner’s Country Restaurant is less intimate but tends to be popular with both locals and visitors.
There are a number of Bed & Breakfast and other comfortable accommodation options in the area. Just keep in mind that a lot of the Amish businesses tend to be closed on Sunday, so Friday/Saturday may be a better time to visit (though there are other businesses in the area that will remain open).
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