Amish Country-worth a visit?

Jun 6th, 2005, 02:15 PM
Original Poster
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Amish Country-worth a visit?

Hello! We are driving from Dallas to NYC at the end of this month. We plan to overnight one night in Richmond, VA area and then drive on in to Tarrytown, NY the next day. Up I-81, it's only a short drive over (or so I believe) from Harrisburg to Lancaster County. Would it be worth a stray off the path for a couple hours of shopping, sight seeing? Particularly interested in handcrafted items.
twobluecats is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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I am originally from Amish country in Ohio, not Pennsylvania, but it has become just as commercialized in Ohio as it is around Lancaster, I think. If you've never seen that beautiful farmland, I would think it is worth it. Hope someone will chime in with specific places for you to go around Lancaster. Be sure to eat at one of the family-style restaurants.
Vera is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 04:48 PM
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In short, my answer is yes, and for this reason. I believe that any chance we have to enrich our understanding of different cultures, either within our own country as well as outside, it is 'worth a visit'.

I'd have to dig back through my memory from recent visits to give some specific recommendations, but I know Lancaster county has a web site and the county tourist bureau as you drive into town has some very helpful staff who can direct you to dining, shopping or other interests with a good local map.
J62 is online now  
Jun 6th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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it is beautiful farmland, you would need to see how route 30 and route 23 fit into your trip, 23 would have the most to see i believe. amish country is outside of lancaster towards the east.

the two family style restaurants i recall from the area are: good and plenty, and plain and fancy don't know if either are still in business. this countryside is very close to the pa turnpike, don't know if that helps your travels..

i spent many weekends there as my folks had a weekend place in bowmansville for many years. but i haven't been there in almost 10 years.

route 30 in lancaster is the land of outlet shopping. amish country is just a bit further along the road.
justme22 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Absolutely worth it. If you have never "seen" the Amish (sheezh, that sounds like a trip to the zoo -- assuredly it is not!), it's a fascinating view of a life and time radically different from ours. I'd head for The People's Place in Intercourse, PA -- Route 340 (do a mapquest from I-81 -- but also try Richmond through DC, go 270 to 11/15 up to Gettysburg and then 30 to Lancaster). I'd say about an hour from Harrisburg, or so.

The People's Place, in addition to information about the Amish, also has a stunning quilt museum (store too maybe now?). Lots of hand crafted items there and in the shops in the general area of Intercourse. I also liked a drive around Strasburg (off Route 30 is it 898? ends up in Delaware). I believe all the Good and Plenty type of restaurants are still there -- very German and stodgy, but worth a try. I don't think there's much difference between any of them.

Oh, and don't forget that the Amish (at least my friends) do not like to be photographed, as tempting as it may seem.
birgator is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 07:36 PM
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Do allow time for the Historic Hudson Valley sites once you get to Tarrytown. Kykuit, especially.
artsfan is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 08:28 PM
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Check with the visitor's center in Lancaster to see if they still have the audio tour you take with you in your car. This puts definition to what you are seeing and points out things you might otherwise miss. "Good and Plenty" is our favorite family style restaurant.

Another stop near Harrisburg is Hershey. A tour through Chocolate World is "free", although it does end in their gift shop full of chocolates. I recommend the chocolate milkshake or hot cocoa. Also ride through town and take note of the Hershey kiss shaped street lights.
alvira is offline  
Jun 7th, 2005, 04:36 AM
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PBS had a documentary on the issue of tourism and the Amish recently. You might see if it's coming on in your area soon. It might give you an interesting perspective on it before you go.
atlswan is offline  
Jun 7th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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We live in the northern suburbs of DC and often take daytrips to Lancaster area. In addition, we frequently have houseguests who want to see that area while they are this close. This is what I always recommend:

1. Definitely eat at Good and Plenty. It is a restaurant that serves its meals family style with about a dozen people seated at each table. The hostess expedites introductions to help start conversations so you get to meet and eat with people from all over the country. The meals are cooked 'Amish' style. It is incredibly GOOD and there is PLENTY of it. Waitresses will replenish whatever dish is 'running low.'

[On a recent trip in the dead of winter Good and Plenty was closed (they are never open on Sunday) and we had to go to Plain & Fancy. There is no comparison between the 2 restaurants; Good and Plenty wins by a mile!]

2. Go to the visitor's center and rent or buy the Autotape tour of the area. (You can probably order it online and listen to it enroute so you will learn some of the culture before you get there.) The tour takes you along a route to see the beautiful countryside and some of the Amish homes. Try to see if you can order the tape from them.

3. Take a tour of an Amish farm.

4. Maybe watch the movie "Witness" before you go.
pollyvw is offline  
Jun 7th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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Unless you want to see Charlottesville or Skyline Drive reconsider your route from Richmond.Rte 95N to the Baltimore Beltway to 83N to York, PA and then east on Rte. 30 is much more direct.In Lancaster, get a map at the Visitor's Bureau, then take Rte 340E to Intercourse, then 772(?) east to Rte 23 to the PA Turnpike.The late afternoons & evenings really empty out so take your time.Us natives hate it, but the Tanger Outlets on Rte 30E of town are pretty good.I also hate to say this but a nite in Williamsburg,VA instead may actually be more enjoyable if you have never been there.
cheapbutnice is offline  
Jun 7th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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If at all possible, I would avoid driving around the Washington Beltway. You might get lucky if you approach the area during mid-day; but then again, the drawbridge over the Potomac might be open or there could be an accident that ties up traffic for hours.
pollyvw is offline  
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