Monday, September 14, 2015

Amish Country - Lancaster, PA

Saturday, the folks drove to Lancaster, PA.  Dad wanted to tour an Amish home and school, see a film about the Amish and eat at an Amish restaurant.  Mom wasn't all that thrilled.  She thought the price for seeing the film and the tour was high.  It was $17.50 a person.  You can check it out here: The Amish Experience.

The film is shown in a room that looks like an old barn. There are five places where the film pops up on the barn.  It is one of those type of theaters where if there is a high wind, you feel it.  There was rain and they felt mist.  The film about an Amish teen who wasn't sure he wanted to be baptized.  You see, the Amish must choose if they want to be baptized and they normally do that between the ages of 18-22.  They can leave the community and come back and visit, if they choose not to be baptized.  However, if they are baptized and then leave, they are shunned.  Mom thought they were shunned if they left, but didn't realize they had a choice.  When the Amish are teens, they are allowed to test the waters of the English life and decide what they want to do. In the film, the teen had a car which surprised Mom.  Amish do not drive, but since he wasn't baptized yet, he was not considered Amish so he could drive.  Very interesting!  About 90% of the teens do decide to get baptized and remain with their family and their community.

After the film, the folks toured an Amish school and home.  The Amish attend one room school houses. The grades range from grade one to eight. The tour guide explained that while one grade is being taught, the other grades work on homework.  Mom's grade school class was small, so they were put in with another class.  It is really not hard to do work while the teacher is teaching the other class and you actually learn things by listening to the teacher teach that class.  Anyway, the Amish only go to grade eight.  The teachers are usually about 18 when they start teaching and they quit teaching as soon as they get married so that they can start their own family.

An Amish teacher set up this school house so that it is authentic.

The Amish do not use electricity because they want to be self sufficient.  They do use generators, propane, batteries and solar.

This is an old washing machine.  The house dates back to 1950's, so they probably use more update to appliances now since they use generators for power.

A boy's bedroom.

They do play sports, but not organized.
 The tour guide warned the group that they would be seeing a coffin, so that they wouldn't freak out.
Funerals are held in the home. Burial is in a cemetery.

Play kitchen in a girl's bedroom.

The tour guide showed all the different clothing that the girls wear.  It all depends on the age by the colors and type of dresses that they wear.

Buttons are starting to appear on more clothing.  Buttons used to be banned because they drew attention to the clothing.  They do not want to draw attention to themselves.
Girl's bedroom

Still talking about the clothing.  This is the teen clothing.  Brides do not wear white. They normally wear blue and their two attendants wear the same outfit.

They can wear any type of shoes that they want.  They even wear Crocs and flip flops. 

The living room.

Crafts, such as quilting is popular.

Notice the green shades.  They choose green because it easier to keep clean than the white.  They are allowed to have curtains in the bedroom and more recently, some have started putting curtains in their downstairs. The bishop decides the rules and he said that you have to choose your battles.  He is allowing curtains in the district we visited.

The kitchen - the stove is propane as is the refrigerator.

There are no dietary restrictions.  They drink soda and coffee. They shop in regular stores for things they don't grow themselves.

The folks both thought the tour was great!  Mom learned a lot even though she has read a lot of books on the Amish.  Okay, the books she has read have been romance novels, but they all talk about the Amish lifestyle.

The Pennsylvania Dutch speak both English and German.  Their church service is in German.

The Amish do not drive, but they are allowed to be driven in a car, train or bus. They are not allowed to fly.  They cannot have a phone in their house.  They can have a phone in the barn.  They are not allowed cell phones, but that is an increasing problem with the teens.  The do not have televisions or radios.  More and more of the Amish are working with the English (us) because there is not enough farmland in the Pennsylvania area for them.  Some own their own shops and sell their wares.  The Amish in this area are not allowed to ride bicycles, but they can ride scooters (not like Buddy).  They feel that they can get too far away on a bike.  When we were in Indiana, we saw a lot of Amish on bicycles.

They do not pay into Social Security or receive it.  They do not have commercial insurance policies.  They do pay taxes. They do not serve in the military.

Mom finds their lifestyle very interesting.  One man on the tour asked if he could become Amish.  The tour guide said he could.  He would have to give up his car, cell phone, electronics, etc.   Mom would have a hard time giving up air conditioning.

After the tour, the folks walked to the Amish restaurant, Plain and Fancy. They decided to have the "family feast".  This is a family style dinner where you sit with people you don't know and share a dinner.  Mom wasn't thrilled with that.  She was seated next to a nice man from South Africa. She found him to be very interesting and loved hearing his tales of visiting America. He said the worse place was New York.  He came across some rude people and since it was his first day in the U.S., he wondered if he made a mistake by visiting.  He thought all Americans might be that rude, but thank goodness he left New York and met some nice people.  He visited Philadelphia and loved the Philly cheese steak. He ate at a Waffle House and said it was just like on TV.  BOL!  He compared a lot of things to seeing them on TV.  He really likes the Boston accent.  He was hoping to take a ferry to New Jersey just to say he had been there.  He is spending one more week in America and is then headed back home.

The food was good. They had fried chicken, sausage, roast beef, mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, buttered noodles, veggies and pies for dessert.  Mom said she enjoyed it, but still prefers to eat with people she knows instead of strangers.

I guess the folks must have really liked their day in Lancaster because they were still talking about it on Sunday.

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