Last Wednesday, I embarked on the Amish Experience’s Amish V.I.P. (“Visit in Person”) Tour along with our Public Relations Director, Joel Cliff. The V.I.P. tour is a fantastic opportunity to visit with our Amish neighbors in a more personal and intimate setting.
When I first heard the tour was three hours, it seemed like a long span of time, but when the tour was finished I couldn’t believe how quickly the time went. I was engaged throughout the entire tour, as was even the youngest member of our group, a 6-year-old girl from Canada.
We boarded a very comfortable 14-seat air-conditioned bus and our driver and tour guide, Joanne, began our journey with some background on the Amish community and their history in the area. Our first stop was at Esh’s dairy farm, where owner Jake showed us how they milk cows and told us all about life on the dairy farm. Our young little Canadian even had the opportunity to bottle feed one of the calves.
We toured the barn where we saw buggy horses and work mules, then headed to the quilt shop where they sold gorgeous handmade quilts and other beautiful gifts.
Our next stop was at the Leola Buggy Shop to see how buggies are made and refurbished. It was really neat to learn about the types of buggies, the various features that can be ordered, and the differences between Mennonite and Amish buggies.
Our final stop was an Amish home where we warmly welcomed by Steven and his family. We toured the kitchen and common area, then had the opportunity to sit in the living room to listen to stories and ask whatever questions we wanted: “Do you pay taxes?” “How long do the kids go to school?” “Do you still do barn raisings?” etc. This was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the tour – I mean, how many people have the chance to sit and talk with an Amish family and realize that, in a lot of ways, they are just like you and me?
Throughout our tour, Joanne kept us entertained with fun facts, answered our questions, and told us how she came to live and work in Lancaster County. (Originally from Long Island, she visited Lancaster on her honeymoon and fell in love with the area … for more details, ask her yourself!) The other guests – visiting from Long Island, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Canada – couldn’t say enough wonderful things about the outing.
If you would like to learn about the Amish, and see how they live, work and play firsthand, then book your Amish V.I.P. Tour today at www.AmishExperience.com.