and Breakfasts of Amish Country
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
. The area is well known for its
Amish population. However, the Amish
are not the only "Plain People" in the
area, Old Order Mennonite and River Brethren are also to be found.
These groups have a common ancestry in the Anabaptist tradition.
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
. The 1720's saw the first Amish
arrivals in eastern
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."
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
area, making it among the top ten visited areas in the
. There is a natural fascination
with a group that can live side by side with modern society while maintaining a
totally distinctive lifestyle.
There are other attractions to the
area, primary among them would be historical heritage of the area.
was formed May 10, 1729. In the
one finds the Central
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.
The Continental Congress, fleeing the British in
held a one day session in
on September 27, 1777, giving rise to the claim that
capitol for a day.
was considered for the new national capitol in 1790 and did serve as the
from 1799 to 1812.
was home to our fifteenth president, James Buchanan.
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.
Right on the edge of
is The King's Cottage. This Spanish Mission-style structure seems just a
little out of place in
, 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
Flowers & Thyme was built in 1941 by an Amish carpenter for a
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
. 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
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
, 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.
, stop by Martin's Pretzels and watch the Mennonite folks hand-making
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
, 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
. Located on 30 wooded acres
, this is the ideal getaway. There
are seven rooms available, each with private bath, two of which feature a
IF YOU GO:
isn't far from many major cites in the Mid-Atlantic region.
It's about a two and a half hour drive from
, three hours from
New York City
and just over an hour from