What you have heard is not always what you see!
Although we don't live in Lancaster County, our local area north and slightly west of Philadelphia has a strong Mennonite influence. Although our family is not Mennonite, I spent a large portion of my elementary school years in a Christian Mennonite school, so I learned a lot about the culture.
The Mennonites have a wide range of religious persuasion - from those who live close to their Amish brothers' ways by traveling in horse and buggies, etc. to very liberal in religious and political convictions.
We were told that the Amish children have until age 21 to determine whether they will continue in the Amish faith or not. A lot of behaviour is excused until then. A friend of mine saw a young Amish boy in traditional dress pull his horse and buggy into a garage and a short time later re-appeared in jeans and a flannel shirt, driving a convertible.
At age 21, we understand that they must settle down in the Amish ways or be excommunicated from the family circle; however, if they choose to attend a Mennonite church instead, they can then run as far as liberal and chances are this will still be accepted by the family.
Perhaps what you have heard is not always what you see or what "you get" when you observe these cultures. You may see an Amish man climbing into the passenger-side of a mini-van. This is because, while they may not DRIVE a car or have electricity in their homes, they don't necessarily have a problem letting their neighbors take them to the doctor, shopping, or other places. They may store their meat in their neighbor's freezer. And, it is entirely possible that they may have and use generators or propane gas!
Candy Americana Museum at Wilburs Chocolate
Candy Americana Museum and Wilbur's Chocolate Company
A very interesting stop. Not to the degree as nearby Hershey. But this offers the tourist a tour of an authentic chocolate factory. The store is a must see for any chocolate lover.
Wilbur's Chocolate Company is located on PA Route 501 in downtown Lititz.
Entertainers - Kitchen Kettle Village
The village is a great place to visit, enjoy the shops and beautiful food but the highlight of the day was the entertainment. These guys were fabulous, they would sing a few songs, tell a few jokes and then ask for requests.
Grab a table, some nice food and a good coffee and just sit and enjoy the show. I heard one visitor say when he last visited 25 years ago these guys were the entertainment. Enjoy the show and donate a few dollars.
Wilbur Chocolate Company (Wilbur Buds!)
Candy Americana Museum, this prized collection of the museum has more than 150 hand-painted European and Oriental antique porcelain chocolate pots, some bearing the names Haviland, Limoges, and Dresden.
Open 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday
Call about special Holiday Hours
Toll free 1-888-294-5287
~ Lancaster & Amish Country, Pennsylvania ~
Lancaster is the gateway to rural Pennsylvania Dutch Country. I traveled to Lancaster with my parents and brother back in 1992 while returning home from a road trip to Canada. While we stayed at a chain hotel in the Lancaster, we actually spent most of our time in the area traveling through the Amish towns and farmlands east of the city.
Be mindful of your camera.
Pennsylvania Dutch Country is interesting for its stark contrasts. For starters there are the clashing worlds of the tourists and the locals. For instance, like typical tourists we filmed a lot of what we saw through the car windows while driving around the central highway and back roads, just like we would do in other places we traveled. Of course, the Amish, as characteristic of their strict religious views, shun photography and most technology. At one point an Amish person saw our camera as we passed and suddenly ducked out of the way so as not to be captured on film. That said, please be considerate. Don’t annoy the Amish.
Yes, that is really the town’s name.
We saw another interesting culture clash when visiting a general store/souvenir shop in the Amish village of Intercourse. While the town’s name may be an eye-opening to most visitors, the Amish came up with it simply due to the fact that the town sits at the intersection or “intercourse” of two roads. Nevertheless, even in the midst of Amish Country, enterprising hawkers can’t resist the temptation to cash in on the double entendre. As a result, when we were walking through the aforementioned store, we saw authentic country crafts, like face-less Amish dolls, but we also saw another breed of merchandise touting the words “I’ve been to Pennsylvania. Ask me about Intercourse.”
A third contrast we noticed derives from the odd juxtaposition of different transportation modes. The Amish ride around town in their traditional, slow-moving, horse-drawn buggies. These buggies not only traverse the back roads, but even the main highway. Of course, the rest of us are driving modern cars and trucks along these same streets. At one point I saw a hulking semi truck cruising down the country road between two crop fields. I imagine that it might be a bit intimidating to have a Peterbuilt breathing down the back of one’s buggy, but the Amish are not deterred from their simple ways.
Our Amish Country experience came to a close eating dinner at a country-style restaurant in the town of Bird-in-Hand while fireflies began to dance around in the dusk darkened skies. The next morning, we left Pennsylvania, heading out from Lancaster to Interstate ? Shortly after skirting past the city of York, we crossed southward into the state of Maryland.
Visit my PENNSYLVANIA page.