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 USA, Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, Amish Farmland, taking the mules in from the fields  1-5-6-11

Bed and Breakfasts of Amish Country


Thomas R. & Deborah A. Fletcher

            The Amish are a Plain People; they prepare their food in the summer, laboring long hours in the field.  Think of the Amish and most people think of Lancaster County , Pennsylvania .  The area is well known for its Amish population.  However, the Amish are not the only "Plain People" in the Lancaster area, Old Order Mennonite and River Brethren are also to be found.  These groups have a common ancestry in the Anabaptist tradition.

Amish Farmland, cornfield, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA, working a mule team, preparing cornfield for next year 1-5-6-9            The Amish take their name from Jakob Amman, a Swiss Mennonite bishop whose teachings caused schism in the mid 1690's.  He taught that church discipline should be enforced by shunning, which meant no social contact whatsoever with the excommunicated.  He also taught that church members should dress uniformly.  European persecution lead to the Amish immigrating to the United States .  The 1720's saw the first Amish arrivals in eastern Pennsylvania .  Amish Farmland, cornfield, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA, working a mule team, preparing cornfield for next year 1-5-6-12

            The Amish have no church buildings.  Church meetings are held in individual homes.  Amish settlements are divided into church districts.  Each district encompasses about 75 baptized members; each has a bishop, two to four preachers, and an elder.  The Amish have no salaried ministers.  "Each must earn his bread by the sweat of his brow," an Amish lady informed me.  Their church services are conducted in Palatine German with a mixture of English, commonly known as "Pennsylvania Dutch."

    Amish Farmland, cornfield, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA, working a mule team, preparing cornfield for next year 1-5-5-10        The Amish are known for their distinctive dress: men in their beards, broad-brimmed hats and black clothes, the women in their bonnets, long dresses, which are often green or purple, but always covered with black aprons--if they are married.  They wear no jewelry, thinking to do so would lead to pride.  The Amish are excellent farmers.  They use horses, mules, and equipment from a bygone era to work the land.  Transportation is by horse & buggy.  Electrical power and telephones are not found in Old Order Amish homes.  The Amish draw many visitors to the Lancaster area, making it among the top ten visited areas in the United States .  There is a natural fascination with a group that can live side by side with modern society while maintaining a totally distinctive lifestyle.  Amish farm life, clothes drying on clothesline, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA 1-5-5-4

            There are other attractions to the Lancaster area, primary among them would be historical heritage of the area.  Lancaster County was formed May 10, 1729.  In the town of Lancaster one finds the Central Mark et, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is one of the nation's oldest continuously operating farmers markets.  The market has been in operation since the 1730's.  Fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat are all for sale in the market. 

USA, Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, Lancaster City, Penn Square 1-5-7-5            The Continental Congress, fleeing the British in Philadelphia held a one day session in Lancaster on September 27, 1777, giving rise to the claim that Lancaster was the U.S. capitol for a day.  Lancaster was considered for the new national capitol in 1790 and did serve as the capitol of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812.  Lancaster was home to our fifteenth president, James Buchanan.

            Lancaster County offers a variety of accommodations for visitors, but some of the most enjoyable are area Bed & Breakfast establishments.  B & B's offer more flavor to a location, one feels more a part of an area.  It is almost like being home--except for the gourmet breakfasts and someone else to make the bed, wash the dishes, and clean up.  One actually is sharing the home of another family.  The owners know their area and are able to direct guests to specific areas of interest. Some, like our hostess at Swiss Woods, will arrange for guests to dine with an Amish family--talk about getting the real flavor of a place!  The food was excellent and the conversation most intriguing.  B & B owners take a real interest in their guests because much of their business is from repeat customers or word-of-mouth advertising.   Amish Farmland, cornfield, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, working a mule team, preparing cornfield for next year 1-5-6-4

            Right on the edge of Lancaster is The King's Cottage. This Spanish Mission-style structure seems just a little out of place in Lancaster , with its distinctive architecture and red tile roof.  This 4,.400 square foot, three-story edifice was constructed in 1913 as a private residence.  The B & B inn features nine guest rooms, each with private bath, king or queen size beds.  The newly completed Carriage House, located behind the main inn, features a Jacuzzi for two, fireplace and king size canopy bed.  This is the room for honeymooners, or those who still think like honeymooners.  The rates include breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening cordials.

            Just across the street is O'Flaherty's Dingledein House.  This Dutch Colonial home features five rooms for rent, three with private bath, two with shared bath.  There are several common areas for relaxing, enjoying a book from the shelves, or simply watching the fire flicker in the gas fireplace.  This is a very homey place.  It was almost like a visit to Grandmother's home.  Guests can be provided with a map and taped audio tour of the Lancaster area. 

            Flowers & Thyme was built in 1941 by an Amish carpenter for a Mennonite family home.  This B & B features three room for rent, all with private bath, one with a Jacuzzi.  Located in a country setting only one mile from Route 30, one is just minutes from main attractions of Lancaster County .  The Jacuzzi room books about a month in advance.

            The Apple Bin Inn Bed & Breakfast has apples for its theme, right down to an apple-shaped wooden checker set crafted by owner Barry Hershey.  The inn's structure is over 120 years old, first serving the community as a general store.  There are four rooms for rent, with a fifth, the Carriage House, set to open soon.  All rooms feature a private bath, telephone, and television.  "The Cabin in the Woods," made of rough-cut lumber and with a separate entrance, has more privacy and was my favorite of those available. 

            The town of Lititz was founded by the oldest Protestant group,  the Moravians, in 1756 as a closed community.  Here one may smell the rich aroma of chocolate wafting from the Wilbur Chocolate Factory.  In the Historic District one finds The Alden House Bed & Breakfast.  This brick Victorian was built in 1850.  Three large porches provide abundant space for guests to relax and watch town activities.  There are five rooms for rent, all feature color television.  Winter rates are higher for those rooms featuring gas fireplaces.

            Overlooking Amish farms near the town of Akron , one finds the Boxwood Inn.  This stone farmhouse was built in 1768.  There are four rooms and the luscious Carriage House for rent.  All rooms feature a private bath.  The Garden Room, a glass-walled, hardwood-floored common area provides a tranquil setting to lounge and observe the Amish farmland.  While in Akron , stop by Martin's Pretzels and watch the Mennonite folks hand-making pretzels.

            Venturing out in the country, one finds Swiss Woods.  Unlike most other B & B's covered, this one was designed and built with the purpose of hosting guests.  "Friends and family were always visiting, so we decided to build with enough room to house them," says Debrah Mosimann.  They brought the design from Switzerland , her husband Werner's native land.  The wooden beams, hand-crafted furniture, the huge sandstone fireplace, the Swiss chocolates--it could be a Swiss Chalet in the Alps .  Located on 30 wooded acres overlooking Speedwell Forge Lake , this is the ideal getaway.  There are seven rooms available, each with private bath, two of which feature a Jacuzzi. 





            Lancaster County isn't far from many major cites in the Mid-Atlantic region.  It's about a two and a half hour drive from Washington , DC , three hours from New York City and just over an hour from Baltimore , MD or Philadelphia , PA.


Lancaster County Bed & Breakfast Inns Association

1105 East King Street

Lancaster , PA 17602

Phone: 1-800-848-2994




Pennsylvania Dutch Country Convention and Visitors Bureau

501 Greenfield Road

Lancaster , PA 17601

Phone: 1-800-PA-DUTCH


Fax:      1-717-299-0470



The Alden House

62 East Main Street

Lititz , PA 17543

Phone: 1-717-627-3363



The Apple Bin Inn

2835 Willow Street Pike

Willow Street, PA 17584

Phone: 1-717-464-5881




Boxwood Inn 

1320 Diamond Street

Akron , PA 17501

Phone: 1-800-238-3466




Flowers & Thyme Bed & Breakfast

238 Strasburg Pike

Lancaster , PA 17602

Phone: 1-717-393-1460



O'Flaherty's Dingeldein House

1105 East King Street

Lancaster , PA 17602

Phone: 1-717-293-1723



Swiss Woods

500 Blantz Road

Lititz , PA 17543

Werner & Debrah Mosimann

Phone: 1-717-627-3358




The King's Cottage 

1049 East King Street

Lancaster , PA 17602

Phone: 1-717-397-1017




The King's Cottage B & B 1-5-7-16

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