0081 Worst Tourist Trap in the World (USA 046—new)

Bird in Hand Travel Blog

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Next day I’m off again, early in the morning, desperate trying to keep this Adventure Life alive.

 Today I’m heading east.  I’ve got a couple extra hours this time, so I’m going to venture all the way to Amish country in Lancaster County.  Ever since the first day of this Journey back in July, 2007 I’ve been intrigued with the Amish culture and hoping to get a closer look at their world. 

 Last September I took my sister and brother-in-law who were visiting on a little tour of this area.  It was fun to drive past one room schoolhouses with all the children playing outside, past a farmer tending to his crops using horse drawn equipment, a teenage girl in her Little House on the Prairie attire, travelling by foot-scooter alongside the road... a housewife hanging up the sheets to dry… a stern looking gentleman driving his horse and buggy to the hardware store for supplies…

 There’s something beautifully poetic about that lifestyle… it gives you this feeling that they’ve held on to something beautiful that main stream society has lost.  And because of their staunch opposition to any kind of violence, and the fact that they don’t feel the need to impose their lifestyle on anyone else, there’s nothing threatening about them, unlike there super-traditionalist around the world.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure if I had been born an Amish, I would have been one of the ones who rebel and never come back.

Enjoying from a distance

My only interaction with the Amish so far was a couple of years ago when I challenged a bunch of Amish boys to a bicycle race. I was doing pretty good until we reached a steep hill and there our difference in stamina became quite obvious. Despite the strict rules against “pride” in their community, they clearly seemed to be enjoying leaving me in the dust!

It would be nice to have some more interaction with them, although obviously it would have to be without photographs or video clips, and my guess is that they wouldn’t be particularly appreciative of my songs…

Actually, back it September I found it a bit disturbing to see busloads and busloads of tourists converging on this rural region just to gawk at people who clearly are not benefitting or want to benefit from this sort of “shock tourism”.  I’m sure they don’t enjoy in the least being stared at as some sort of circus sideshow—all they want is to live out their lives undisturbed by the outside world.  And in the peak season, the ratio of tourists per Amish in this area has to be about 2000 to 1.  That’s got to qualify this area as the Worst Tourist Trap in the World.

But today is a Sunday, and the market is closed.  There’s not a buggy in sight that I can sneak up to for a quick video clip, so I have to settle for a wagon that looks more suitable for the Oregon Trail than Amish Pennsylvania.  A couple antique stores are open where I can browse about along with some very un-Amish looking customers.

And that is my Bird in Hand adventure—maybe some other time I’ll have better luck discovering this unique culture and getting my buggy video clip… someday…

Dr_Seuss says:
Next time you need to make sure you race them downhill Nathan :-D
Posted on: Nov 15, 2009
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Bird in Hand
photo by: nathanphil