By Fahad Amer
Time travel by taking a trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Just an hour drive west of Philadelphia and suddenly you’re 300 years in the past. Welcome to Lancaster County, home of the oldest and largest settlement of Amish people. They’re a unique group of people who kept their way of living unchanged since they came here from Germany three centuries ago.
You will be charmed by the green hills and tress. You will feel enchanted by the story-like farmhouses and barns with mysterious stars hanging above their doors. And you will be dazzled by the closeness of white-cotton clouds in the azure-blue sky.
You should start your trip by visiting The Amish Village (199 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks, PA 17572), where you’ll find an authentic Amish house and farm kept in its original condition. You can see how they live today without electricity and manage just fine.
People here still use carriages and horses for their daily transport. They grow their own food, make their own clothes and craft all their furniture with a smile. Be prepared to finally understand the true meaning of tranquility.
No travel is complete without a shopping experience. Kettle Kitchen Village (3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Gordonville, PA 17529) is the Amish definition of a mall: an open-market shopping experience that has been patronized by tourists and locals for 60 years. Check out the 40 specialty stores and look for unique locally handcrafted gifts for friends back home. Don’t forget to go on a buggy ride too!
Driving around Lancaster is one of the most nostalgic experiences you could have. It feels like you’ve entered the cartoons you were watching as a child. Girls in the green fields of rural Lancaster will feel like Heidi. Boys in the vintage metropolitan downtown will feel like Remi. (For our younger readers, those were cartoons that were popular in the Gulf during the 80s.)
Drive back on Prince Street just before sunset to reach Lancaster County Central Park. Lose yourself there in the Garden of Five Senses on top of a hill and overlooking a river. Surrounded by 10 parks and trails where you can walk for days and enjoy, this will feed and quench your desire for more nature, more beauty and more serenity. Just don’t forget your mosquito spray.
Lancaster is a rare gem of a location with lots to do all around you. It has the beauty of nature just an hour drive from the metropolitan sophistication of Philadelphia. Meanwhile trains can get you to downtown Manhattan in less than three hours. But you simply can’t pass up the world-famous Hershey chocolate factory and amusement park which is less than an hour away (100 Hersheypark Dr, Hershey, PA 17033).
Place to Stay:
A full five-bedroom farmhouse can regularly be found on Airbnb for less than SR 800.
Buy a deer from your Amish neighbors and cook it for dinner.
Best Time to Visit
April to June.