0003 Amish Country (USA 003—new)

Mifflinburg Travel Blog

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Day 001: 2 hours, 1.5 kms

The Plain Folk

I continue on north through quiet countryside.  It seems like I’m getting farther and farther from the bustle of urban civilization and it’s nothing but rolling farmlands and forests dotted with an occasional farmhouse for as far as the eye can see.

And once again, I get that time warp image: up ahead of me is a black buggy being drawn by a horse with a family dressed in 18thcentury attire inside! 

I check my watch again. Yep, it’s still 2007.  What is this all about?

I continue on and soon pass another, and the another… this time with a young couple, none of them seem the least bit perturbed by this Machine from the Future speeding past them.


These are the Amish—a unique American subculture that for centuries has managed  to “go against the flow” of mainstream and stick to their traditional way of life—without cars, telephones, electricity—and the “essentials” of modern civilization… and they’ve not only survived, but flourished. 

I wonder if there’s something that I might be able to learn from them for my journey… There are some interesting parallels… I also am seeking for meaning in life by resisting the mainstream methods of sharing my music, and taking my songs to the world medieval style… village to village

As I ponder this, I suddenly come across the place where they are all heading:  a community gathering under an enormous tree next to farmhouse with maybe a dozen or two buggies parked out front.  Under the tree bearded men in brimmed hats sit in a large circle.  Clearly this is a social event exclusive to this unique group of people. 

A bit further on, I stop my car and turn around, thinking there must be a way for me to take a video clip or something to immortalize this moment of discover.  But as slowly drive past the second time, I know it would be a contradiction.  These are people who believe photography is wrong. So to take their picture wouldn’t preserve the moment--  it would simply be proof that I have no understanding or respect of their culture and beliefs.

This moment I will simply have to preserve in my heart.

 Arriving in Mifflinburg

Shortly later I arrive in the smallvillageofMifflinburg, clearly a very small town.  But another old style hotel catches my fancy and I decide to make this my 3rdtown of the day.

 I park in front of the hotel with a bar at the entrance with music blaring—an abrupt contrast with the Amish gathering I saw just a few miles away.  I follow along yet another well preserved, colourful Main Street past a cheery police station which almost tempts me to take my video clip up front… Then on to a park where a church picnic is going on not far away.

Nearby is an old abandoned caboose which I choose as a rather ironic backdrop for my videoclip of Mifflinburg—is it was actually the Amish and their lack of technology and modern transportation that inspired me about this region.

Mifflinburg was actually a pretty important town back in the day, considered the “buggy building capital” of the entire area back when everybody used buggies.  Now times have changed and the town is barely clinging to its fading crown of yesteryears.  

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photo by: nathanphil