INSIDE THE AMISH COMMUNITY: A road trip through Lancaster/Pennsylvania
(upbeat ambient music) In the state, Pennsylvania, in the United States of America, there exists a very special community. A community barely touched or influenced by technology or the pace of our modern digital world. I set out on a road trip through Lancaster County in Pennsylvania to find out more about these people. Join a trip to the land of the Amish, get to know their way of living and visit the most interesting places of the area with me. (upbeat ambient music) - Good morning everyone. I'm currently driving along this river here from Harper's Ferry and I will do more or less a transportation ride today from here in West Virginia to Pennsylvania.
(upbeat ambient music) Within only a few kilometers, I crossed from the state West Virginia into the state Virginia. And when crossing the Potomac River, I crossed the border to the state Maryland, where I continued my ride on more or less small roads until I reached the state Pennsylvania. (upbeat ambient music) - I actually did a lot of small roads today so far which in the morning I didn't expect. But there were always some nice roads off the main highways that I could choose, so the ride was much nicer than I thought. But now the next destination is the city, Lancaster, which is in Pennsylvania, and one of the places people stay if they want to visit Amish country. (tranquil ambient music) Lancaster County is a county in the state, Pennsylvania with the city Lancaster as its county seat.
The Pennsylvanian Amish of Lancaster County are America's oldest Amish settlement where tenthousands still live a centuries old plain lifestyle on the lush green farmland of Pennsylvania. In the middle of the farmland sits Lancaster City, which probably can be described as up and coming for its lively arts and theater scene, restaurants and markets. Forbes named Lancaster as one of the 10 coolest US cities to visit in 2018. - I drove today from West Virginia to Maryland and now to Pennsylvania and I will be going from here to where the Amish people live, to Amish country, stay in a hotel and explore the area a little bit. (upbeat ambient music) - So this was nice, was nice to see Lancaster City, but now we are heading deeper into Lancaster County because we are not here for the exciting city life, but to learn more about the land and the life of the Amish people.
And there is a town that is popular for staying there if you want to get to know more about the Amish people, it's called Bird-in-Hand. That's where we are going now. (upbeat ambient music) - Look, this is the first Amish horse carrier that I have encountered so far. Pretty different than riding a motorcycle if you ask me.
And how cool is that, that there are these side lanes here next to the road for the horse carriages. So they can drive there and the cars drive on a normal lane. (upbeat ambient music) - This is Bird-in-Hand, and what a funny name actually.
Let's check into the hotel and explore the town a little bit. I will actually stay here for two nights. (upbeat ambient music) The quaint little village Bird-in-Hand is located between rolling farmlands in the heart of the Amish settlements.
It is one of the best places to stay if you want to explore Lancaster County. And indeed you can already get a glimpse into the life of the Amish here. There are several shops run by the Amish where you can buy the famous Amish quilts, handmade goods, food or sweets, or the popular toy dolls without faces that emphasize the Amish people's belief that all humans are alike in the eyes of God and that only God can make people.
The old order Amish have many rules about how they live their lives to prevent worldliness. The most obvious trait of the Amish community is that they choose a life of simplicity. The reason the Amish lived this life is because they believe simplicity is a symbol of humility. They take the biblical command serious and try to separate themselves from worldly things.
That's why the Amish only use plain fabrics for their clothes and no patterns and why the Amish drive horse-drawn buggies or use scooters. It is believed that cars and bicycles move too quickly over long distances and therefore could connect the Amish to the outside world too much. (horse neighs) (tranquil ambient music) The Amish rules governing the use of power sources and electricity are complex.
If a power source is not artificial, but from God, the Amish can use it. So the Amish can use power sources such as solar, propane, and diesel. These rules actually allow many modern things to be used, for example, lights or lamps. In addition, generators or batteries are allowed by the Amish.
Phones are not permitted in the home, but are commonly used for business purposes outside. Many of the Lancaster Amish by the way speak Pennsylvanian Dutch, which is a variety of Palatine German spoken by many descendants of German immigrants in the United States and Canada. There are possibly more than 300,000 native speakers of Pennsylvania, Dutch in the United States and Canada. (upbeat ambient music) - Good morning everyone. I decided already yesterday to stay in Bird-in-Hand for two nights. So I have the whole day today to explore Amish country and see the best places to visit and as well visit some historical places.
And first things first, I will visit one of the biggest farmer markets here in the area where many, many Amish sell their goods. And that's where we are heading now because it's always good to be at markets as early as possible. (upbeat ambient music) - So the market I want to visit is in a town called Ephrata and about 25 minutes from Bird-in-Hand.
And there are, well, plenty of other things to do here in the area and I will do that of course, but first take you to the market. - Because weather is so bad, I decided to go to one of the markets here and I will take you with me now. It's supposed to be the biggest one here in the area. (upbeat ambient music) The Green Dragon Farmers Market is open on Fridays from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and millions of shoppers have visited this treasured Lancaster County Amish market since its opening in 1932. With seven large market buildings, an outside area, and over a 100 local vendors, the Green Dragon has grown to become one of the largest flea markets on the east coast. And little did I know that the Amish choose a life of simplicity, but that baking a lot of sweets and delicious food according to the Amish is definitely part of a simple life.
And I of course couldn't resist and tried all the typical Amish sweets, of course, just for you and just for the channel. - So I couldn't really film because the Amish don't like their picture being taken. But I shopped some sweets and I bought from a little Amish boy...
... his family had a stand... this thing here which is called whoopie pie. And I asked him which is his favorite because they had so many different ones and he said, this pumpkin whoopie pie is the best, and I'm gonna try it now. - Let's try this. It is good.
My favorite sweets were not the famous whoopie pies though, but a donut filled with apple and cinnamon and a very delicious apple cinnamon bread. Indeed, these two things were so delicious that if I would have to choose one thing to do in Lancaster County, it would be trying those. (motor rumbles) (upbeat ambient music) - Wow, I think I have a sugar high now, but I'm gonna use that to go to a destination close by that is a historical site. - It's not directly connected to the Amish, but to another group of people who found Lancaster County to be a place where they could settle down and live the kind of life and especially religion they imagined for themselves. So let's check this out.
(upbeat ambient music) Ephrata Cloister was founded by the German immigrant, Conrad Beissel who came to the site in 1732 seeking to live as a hermit following his own religious ideas. He believed that earthly life should be spent preparing to achieve a spiritual union with God. Soon he gathered a group of people around him who agreed to live on his interpretation of religion and the Ephrata Cloister was born. The members of the order were celibate. They were required to sleep on wooden benches, 15 inches or 380 millimeters wide with wooden blocks for pillows. They slept six hours per night from 9:00 PM to midnight, and from 2:00 AM until 5:00 AM, with a two hour break to watch for the coming of Christ.
Each member only was served one small vegetarian meal a day. The only time the followers of Beissel were permitted to eat meat was during the celebration of communion when lamb was served. (upbeat ambient music) Besides of the Cloister's sisterhood and brotherhood, believing family settled near the community and accepted Beissel as their spiritual leader and worshiped with them.
Beissel died in 1768 and with him, his idea of his cloister and religion slowly faded. (upbeat ambient music) - I have to admit that I didn't expect this, but if you make a visit to the farmland of the Amish and do a road trip here in Lancaster County, food is definitely an integral part of it. So the next destination I'm heading to is actually food again, because I have heard that it's a must and that there are these famous pretzels of the Amish and there's one kiosk that is a must visit for that because it's supposed to have the best ones. (upbeat ambient music) First I visited Riehl's Quilts & Crafts store and then just headed over the road to the farm next door to indulge myself in the famous Pennsylvania Amish pretzels. - So, and what you really have to try is these pretzels, they are famous here and I'm very curious because me as a German Bavarian child, of course have very high standards for pretzels.
(upbeat ambient music) Being home to America's first commercial pretzel bakery, pretzels are pretty much their own food group here in Lancaster. This Amish owned and operated roadside stand is the place to visit if you want to try the best Lancaster pretzel. While here, try as well some soft ice cream and enjoy the homemade birch and root beer. Next to the kiosk, there is a shop where you find a large array of homemade crafts, including quilts, baked goods, canned items, homemade noodles, apple butter, and much more. - So the pretzel experience was very interesting. They are much more sweet than our German Bavarian pretzels are.
I think there is no place in the world that has better soft pretzels than Bavaria. Sorry to tell you guys. (upbeat ambient music) I have to admit that I had first to accept that the American pretzels are a completely different dish than a Bavarian pretzel in Germany, even though they look very similar.
But once I overcame my initial disappointment, I pretty quick started to love this sort of pretzel. So if you visit Lancaster County, this is definitely a must try. - So I chose wisely now. And surprise, surprise,
my next destination has nothing to do with food anymore because I really can't eat anything no more for the rest of the day. But instead, I will go to a place where you can really learn about the Amish lifestyle and history. And no, it's not just an Amish farm because most Amish are actually pretty reserved towards tourists, even though people here in the area accept that they come to learn more about the special way of life. But anyways, the next place is more kind of a museum. (tranquil ambient music) Located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, the Amish village offers a pretty authentic look at today's Amish lifestyle.
On 12 scenic acres of land, the Amish village lets visitors enjoy a genuine Amish property and experience Amish culture up close. Between the 1720s and 1730s, a small Amish community arrived from Europe and settled in Pennsylvania to pursue religious freedom. The Amish church began in the late 1600s as a branch of the Anabaptist movement.
Due to heavy religious persecution, many Amish fled to Pennsylvania for religious freedom. The Amish believed the Bible is the sovereign word of God and is literal in meaning. (birds chirping) - Hey.
Hello. (tranquil ambient music) The Amish of Lancaster County focused their life on service first to God and to their families and the Amish community. In the Amish village I learned that even though the Amish shy away from using modern technology and conveniences like electricity, cars and computers, their kitchens are actually not so different from what everybody else uses. The Amish have light, fridges or kitchen machines and mixers that are powered by propane or natural gas. The Amish will only wear solid color clothing because patterns are too decorative and worldly, while other rules ban buttons. The shoes of the Amish might be modern such as Crocs or sneakers, but they must be practical.
While wrist watches are banned, pocket watches are allowed for practical purposes. (birds chirping) (tranquil ambient music) There is only one period in an Amish person's life where Amish usually try out all the worldly activities like buying a car, going to the movies, or wearing non Amish clothes. During the period known as Rumspringa, beginning at about an age of 16 when the Amish youth are no longer under the total control of their parents on weekends, but at the same time not baptized yet, and therefore not under the authority of the church.
Before getting baptized, each Amish decides themselves if they want to join the community and dedicate their lives to the Amish lifestyle and to God. - This is the end of a day exploring the Amish culture. I couldn't film as much as I would've liked to due to the Amish usually not wanting their picture to be taken.
But if you go to the Amish market and shops, of course you can have an exchange with the Amish and they are definitely not locking themselves away. And as far as my experience goes, they are very polite and respectful people. And it was pretty cool because some of them immediately realized that I'm German and started to speak German to me because they speak a kind of variety of German language here.
So that was awesome. (upbeat ambient music) - And now with the rain, I'm back in Bird-in-Hand, and tomorrow I have a very difficult decision to take. So guys, stay tuned for our next destination.
(upbeat ambient music) Guys, I hope you could get an insight on the special life of the Amish and enjoyed the ride through Pennsylvania and Lancaster County as much as I did. Give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment if you are a part of the Got2Go travel crew. In the next episode, I will have to take a very difficult decision and I will ride to the state New York, to the Adirondacks and go on a special excursion that will require to come over a lot of obstacles, like swarms of biting flies. Tune in next Thursday to enjoy one of the highlights of this whole trip. (motor rumbles)