{TAKE ME TO} Lancaster County

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Take me to Lancaster County

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m really excited to be sharing our most recent weekend “honeymoon” of the summer – our visit to Amish country!

[ Pssst: If you’ve missed any of the {Take Me To} features, I’ve finally consolidated all these travel posts into one location – check out the new menu tab at the top of the page! ]

We drove up to Pennsylvania right after Bjorn got out of class on Friday. The 4 1/2 hour drive ended up taking over 6 hours because we were stuck in traffic! Despite that initial craziness, it was truly one of the best weekends of my life. And Bjorn had a ton of fun too. 🙂 I’ve been reading about the Amish for years, so actually getting to spend time with them was a dream come true.

I took an astounding number of pictures (are you surprised?) so this trip will be split into more than one post. I’ll start with where we stayed (yes, it was an Amish home!) and our first buggy ride and farm tour.


We arrived late on Friday night so these pictures are from the next morning. Our host, Lydia, knew we would be late so she left the light on [they are New Order Amish so they can have plumbing/electricity] and the door unlocked for us, with a note telling us when breakfast would be.


When we arrived and parked on the property, we were oh-so-tired and it was pitch black outside! We couldn’t quite tell where the front door was at first, so we shuffled our luggage around the exterior of the house as the family dog barked at us. The Amish often have homes or living spaces that are joined together for more than one generation of the family to live in…and we soon realized this was the case at this farm!

As we passed by one of the windows, I caught a glimpse of the most peaceful, perfect scene. A mother and daughter dressed in traditional clothing were sitting together in the dimly lit living room, rocking back and forth in rocking chairs. They were quietly sewing and talking and humming. Despite our hurry to find our room and crash, I forgot where I was right then and just stood transfixed in front of the window.

The women didn’t see me, and continued rocking, talking, sewing, and laughing quietly. It was clear they were just enjoying a typical summer evening together. This is what life was like for their family. And it was beautiful. Achingly simple, but that’s why it was so beautiful. It’s something I won’t soon forget.


^^ Our room. Rooms in Amish homes are sparsely decorated, usually with just a couple things on the walls like hooks for clothing, a calendar, a simple art print, and Bible verses. Everything in an Amish home is there for a specific purpose – no unnecessary do-dads. 🙂 This room is the perfect example of that. ^^


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^^ At night and early in the morning, we could hear the “clip clop, clip clop” of a horse and buggy passing outside our open window. That nostalgic sound really made the whole experience feel so much more real! ^^


Lydia, our host, served us a nice breakfast when we came downstairs. She sat us on a bench together at table facing their window and all the bird feeders. Lydia said she had the table moved right up against the window that way because there used to be a bench facing away from the window, but then she had trouble watching all of the birds! She is such a sweet woman! She and her husband are around 85 years old – but she doesn’t look it! 🙂 We really enjoyed talking with her for a while about her family, our plans for the day, our families, baking, and farming before heading out to the town of Bird-in-Hand.

We spent the majority of the weekend in Bird-in-Hand and the neighboring towns. Bjorn and I did try to drive into Lancaster just to say we’ve been there, but the traffic was bad and we decided to turn back and stop by local farm stands instead (we’re glad that we did!).


Although part of me balks at doing commercialized touristy things (especially when the Amish culture is about simplicity and humility), I still really wanted to fit in tours of Amish stores and the countryside. And I wanted to go on a buggy ride more than anything. 🙂 So we opted for a Farm Lands Tour with Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides in Bird-in-Hand. Bjorn strongly encouraged me to sit in the front by our Amish driver, and he took a seat in the back of the buggy with the other couple. As soon as we were settled in the buggy and started off, the commercialized feel I had been worried about just fell away. All I could think about was how real and personal the tour was, and what a beautiful “behind-the-scenes” view we had into daily Amish life! So yes, the buggy ride was a good investment. 🙂


I had a blast sitting up in front with our driver, Reuben! I had a neat view. (Okay, it was the back of a horse, but still! – the farmland, the roads, the other buggies we passed, and how he worked with the horses.) Reuben asked us questions about ourselves, but most of all, he answered our questions. He was very knowledgeable and kind.

If you wanted to hear the “clip clops” for yourself, here’s a peek into our ride!! It was a lot less bumpy than I had anticipated. Not that I have a future in videography. 🙂
Buggy Ride Video Clip


^^ The Amish in the area grew tobacco alongside other crops like corn and alfalfa. Not sure why that surprised me, but I guess I had only expected corn! Shows you where I live in MN. 🙂 ^^

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^^ Amish women don’t wear makeup, have piercings, or get “fancied up” in other ways. However, one fancy-looking thing they do, besides making beautiful quilts, is growing stunning flower gardens! This woman’s (you can see her sweeping by the door) garden here is on the small side, compared to others we saw. An Amish woman’s flower garden is the one place where they can go all out, working with bright colors and stunning displays! They are so talented. Amish yards and lawns are immaculately kept – it’s pretty inspirational for the rest of us! 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times we passed Amish who were out mowing their lawns, working in their gardens, and especially, sweeping! ^^


^^ Once we arrived on the farm, the Amish woman here stopped sweeping outside and asked us if we’d like to buy any treats or drinks. Bjorn asked for a water so she said, “I’ll be right back with a cold one!” and whizzed down the drive to the buildings on her scooter. The Amish in that area aren’t allowed to ride bikes but they often ride scooters. They are also so incredibly hospitable. I know it’s been a difficult situation for them in interacting with tourists, because they are a people who don’t necessarily want all this attention; however, they also recognize that in this day and age, tourism is one of the main ways they can earn an income. Farming doesn’t “cut it” 100% of the time (the average farm in that area was 70 acres) as far as household income goes, so tons of farms supplement farm earnings with roadside (and on-the-farm) stands with produce, baked goods, and crafts. ^^



^^ These work horses are harnessed up to pull this manure spreader. Hey, it may sound unpleasant but it works! Trust the Amish when it comes to how to grow things. 🙂 ^^


^^ Our horse and buggy waiting for us. Practically all stores in town, too, have hitching posts (bars?) identical to this one in the back of their parking lots. Most businesses cater to their Plain customers as well as the Englisch (non-Amish). This black “pad,” common next to many hitching posts, acts as a cushion for horses’ hooves as they wait. ^^

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^^ We really enjoyed our morning with Reuben. He wasn’t really in a hurry to move our tour along, so we had a lot of time just to wander the farm with him and talk. Bjorn and Reuben got along really well! First of all, Reuben was impressed with Bjorn’s height, which he especially noted when my husband climbed out the back of the buggy 🙂 and second, they had a great time talking all about farming. It hadn’t even occurred to me that Bjorn would have such a great time discussing farms with the Amish! ^^




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^^ Bjorn took control of my camera – I look pretty serious here but I still love it because it captures the essence of our talks and the ride! My husband’s a great shot 🙂 ^^

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^^ my view out the tiny buggy window ^^

Every time I learn more about the Amish, they leave even more of an impression on me: namely, it’s their unwavering faith, their serving nature, their work ethic, and the fact that it is actually possible to live a simple life and to be satisfied in it. And they don’t do it pridefully – they do it because they trust it is the way that they can mentally, physically, and spiritually be at their healthiest.

This is my favorite illustration of why the Amish live the way they do:

Some years ago a group of fifty-two people chartered a bus and came to Holmes County to see the Amish. They had arranged to have an Amishman meet them and answer some of their questions.

For their first question, they began, “We all go to church,” and named some churches. “So we know about Jesus. But what does it mean to be Amish?”

The Amishman thought a bit and then he asked a question of his own. “How many of you have TV in your homes?” Fifty-two hands went up. “Now, how many of you feel that perhaps you would be better off without TV in your homes?” Again, fifty-two hands went up. “All right. Now, how many of you are going to go home and get rid of your TV?” Not one hand went up!

Now that is what it means to be Amish. As a church, if we see or experience something that is not good for us spiritually, we will discipline ourselves to do without.

{written by Monroe L. Beachy, excerpt in “The Amish: In Their Own Words” by Brad Igou}

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Thanks for following along with this first part of our adventure! I look forward to sharing more pictures and trip stories soon. 🙂

best love hannah bee jgp


  1. So enjoyed your post this morning. Wish Grandee would get Facebook so she could enjoy it too. She is friends with several Hutterites in MT. They are similar to the Amish I believe.

    1. That is so neat! I did give Grandma instructions for how to get to my blog, so hopefully she’ll be able to view the pictures! I don’t know much about the Hutterites, but yes, from what I know I think they are similar!

  2. Well, doesn’t this just look so quaint?! I LOVE it. What a peaceful and restful place. PS, amazing photos 🙂

    1. Well, thank you so much for stopping by!! And thanks 🙂 It was such a good (and peaceful!) experience! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth!! It sure was fun going back through the pictures – it filled me with peace all over again!

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