Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Step into a slower pace of life in Pennsylvania's idyllic Lancaster County, home to many Amish and Mennonite people. With its covered bridges, horse-and-buggy transportation, and old-fashioned values, this area is a delightful place to explore. You might even take home a handmade quilt or other Amish craft!

The Amish
Many visitors to Pennsylvania Dutch Country go home refreshed, feeling ready to find the simple joys in their own lives. Lancaster County is home to the oldest Amish settlement in the country. These self-described “plain people” believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, and they feel that worldliness (connection to modern materialism) keeps them from being closer to God. As a result, you'll find that the old-order Amish live without televisions, radios, telephones, or even electricity, preferring a simpler mode of life. Some of the orders are more flexible -- you'll find a variety of lifestyles in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, though all focus on simplicity and peace.

Things to DoVisitors to Amish country can enjoy some aspects of the Amish way of life. You can take a buggy ride through a covered bridge, visit an old order farmhouse in Lancaster, or try your hand at Pennsylvania Dutch crafts. Lancaster County is filled with charming small towns like Lititz, Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand, and Paradise. You'll find incredible shops in each one, featuring products that are made right in the county.

The Amish people are famous for their crafts, from the homemade quilts to their incredible furniture. You'll also find jams, jellies, and baked goods, household goods, toys, and other craft items. And don't miss a chance to dine at one of the incredible restaurants! Featuring German and traditional American cooking, these dining centers offer many foods that are distinctive to Lancaster County.

While you're in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, you can take a ride aboard an authentic steam train, whiz down a roller coaster, or explore a tricky corn maze. The county also has a number of outlet stores with incredible bargains. With more than 200 different shops, you can find just about any product or line you can think of.

This county has 28 covered bridges, all of which accommodate cars as well as horse-drawn buggies. Be sure to drive slowly and cautiously in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and be courteous to slower horse-powered vehicles. If you're after a covered bridge tour, you couldn't find a better spot. Start with the bridge that leads to Paradise (built in 1893) on Belmont Road over Pequea Creek.

Special EventsOne of the best events in Pennsylvania Dutch Country is the annual Mud Sale. Mud Sales are fundraising benefits put on by local fire companies, and they've been popular here since the 1960s. The sales always take place in the spring, and usually outdoors (hence the name Mud Sale). You'll find a wide variety of crafts, food, and other delights at a Mud Sale, from furniture and textiles to farming equipment, gardening tools, buggies, carriages, and more. Even horses and livestock are bought and sold here.

A Mud Sale is a terrific place to shop for quilts and lace or just to experience a fun part of Amish culture. If you can't make a Mud Sale, ask about other local events. There's almost always something fun going on in Lancaster County, from live shows and theater to the annual rhubarb festival.
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