Hello, travel bugs! You may have read my travel diary when I went to the quaint little town of Lawrence Country, called Volant, PA. Link HERE. In that trip, I detailed my desire to see the rural life, especially to see the Amish and check out their businesses and some other shops. Volant, PA is a very scenic sleepy little town that will truly put you in the mood for some fresh air and peaceful disposition. I found several Amish stores there and did see some Amish people but never really interacted with them. I would say that Volant was a place that showcases Amish shops and businesses but it wasn’t really where you could actually see their way of life. To truly get a glimpse of the real Amish culture, I knew I would have to go elsewhere. I had two places in mind – either visit Lancaster, PA or check out New Wilmington, PA. Last Spring, I decided to visit the latter.
Why did I decide to visit Wilmington, PA? And why was I so interested with the Amish people? Well, New Wilmington seemed like the most feasible place for me to visit, and also, I saw a really interesting Amish Tour from there. For the second question, I have always been fascinated with Amish people. I’m curious about their way of life and how they really live in this fast-changing modern world. Also, I wondered what it’s like to be an Amish? Would I be able to survive in a simple fuss-free lifestyle, devoid of my beloved cellphone and makeup? LOL. Oh my, probably not.
New Wilmington, PA is about an hour drive from its closest populous city, Pittsburgh, PA. I’ve seen an Amish tour there that I’ve been so curious about and have always wanted to book it. It’s called “Simple Life Tours”, and it’s rated highly in Tripadvisor.com. The Simple Life Tour is a personal private tour with a vehicle that will take you up close and personal with the Amish. The tour guide is Susan, a sweet, lively, and friendly lady who grew up in New Wilmington, PA and have been doing business with the Amish for years. She also happens to be the former owner of The Tavern on the Square Restaurant that features Amish-style country cooking. This restaurant also serves as the meeting place for the Amish tour. When I met Susan, she told me how she came into the tour business while running the most iconic restaurant in town. She said that her restaurant guests would ask her where they could see the Amish. At first, she would just tell them to drive around some roads. But Amish people can be hard to locate, and you definitely need a local as a guide. So she decided to ask permission to some Amish business owners to let people visit their shops. She also said that most Amish don’t market or advertise their businesses well and that some people may feel uncomfortable visiting Amish shops, apart from not knowing them. So her tour is meant to give the Amish the exposure needed for their businesses and to let people avail them.
Susan’s Simple Life Tour is very friendly and respectful to the Amish. She told me that Amish people are very shy and that they don’t like their photos being taken. She answered several questions of mine regarding the Amish way of life, their culture, and she took me to several Amish businesses. She said these people became her friends with time and that she almost feels like they’re part of her family. According to her, the Amish people at New Wilmington are part of the Old Order Amish, that means they’re more traditional.
The tour started with a car stop outside an Amish house. It looked very minimalist, clean, and with several clothes hanging on a clothesline. Susan said it’s a typical Amish house and that most Amish houses are like that – white-painted with a blue door. She mentioned that Amish women use wringer washer to wash their clothes, which adheres to their technologically restricted lifestyle.
Next up, we stopped at a covered bridge where some Amish Buggies would pass by. I took my selfie there, LOL. We then continued and passed by an Amish School House where Susan mentioned that Amish kids typically go to school only up to the eighth grade. Further, she pointed to a lone phone box that pretty much resembles a wooden phone booth and it was situated several yards away from most Amish houses. She said Amish people can use the phone box in times of emergency or even to call a cab, but it should always be farther away from their homes. Susan explained to me how the entire Amish community helps each other in times of need, they are very united in that sense.
I saw several Amish men at work, either plowing their fields with their horses, working in a dairy factory, or making different types of furniture. FYI, Amish people make the best quality furniture ever at a much lower price than most furniture stores, provided that you buy directly from them. Now if you’re wondering how they could build such solid high-quality chairs and tables without electricity, well, the Amish men use a diesel generator to help with their work.
My favorite part of the tour was visiting the local Amish Dry Goods Store that is exclusive to the Amish community. I had the chance to get a good glimpse of what’s inside and was able to purchase some homemade stuff, as well as some handmade items from that store. I also talked to some Amish kids who were working there, they were shy but they were very courteous as well. There were two little boys which have cute hairstyles and they were holding a map. The asked me to point on the map where I came from, and they put a mark on it. LOL! I must have been an alien to them. I did sense that they seem to have a slight accent. As you all know, Amish people speak Pennsylvania Dutch, especially among each other. They learn English in school. If you ask me how a Pennsylvania Dutch sounds like, is it more German or is it more Dutch? I’d say, it’s all German to me, LOL!
Halfway through our tour, we took a look at an Amish Souvenir Store that sells a mix of quilts, pastries, pieces of furniture, as well as some other handmade items. Here we were greeted wholeheartedly by several little Amish kids with a cute Pug running toward us. They’re so cute and so friendly, and they were waiting for Susan’s gifts. They wanted to play some games with Susan’s phone and they seem to be really fascinated by it. Oh, I bet they would love to play my favorite game- Gardenscapes. LOL.
Our final stop was at an Amish Greenhouse that was full of gardening accessories as well as several different kinds of flowers and some other plants. I talked to two Amish kids whose parents are the owners of the Greenhouse and they also have two cute and chubby dogs that greeted us as we entered. Susan told me that the dogs are fat because they like to raid and eat the eggs of the chickens, LOL, and on top of that, they also beg for some treats from Susan. Ha! What a nice life, right? I definitely won’t mind being an Amish dog. LOL.
All throughout my stroll and drive around the area, I saw a lot of Buggies on the road and they are pretty much everywhere there. It was nice to see something so different from my normal environment, and I had learned a lot and admired the Amish’s simple way of life. My trip to New Wilmington, PA was definitely one of my most unique and unforgettable tours.
Before I left New Wilmington, I made a stop at The Tavern On The Square and chatted with the new owners which are both very kind and very friendly. I had a nice meal where I ordered their Hand-Battered Cod with Fresh Brewed Iced Tea. My meal came with a crisp garden salad, a cup of soup, and of course, their very famous Tavern Sticky Buns. The food was amazing!
To visit New Wilmington, PA and get a glimpse of the Amish way of life, you can book a tour at Simple Life Tours by Susan Hougelman. Click HERE