Amish Vacations...Real Amish Vacations
Many people come to Amish country to experience the culture, craftsmanship and food of the region. Visitors come to shop for sturdy furniture or hand-made crafts, sample delicious family-style dinners, immerse themselves into farm living or just to unwind. But, where do the Amish go on vacation? Mary Beachy, an Amish woman who happens to own her own receptive tour business as well as an outbound tour company based in Sugarcreek Ohio, takes her Amish neighbors on vacations all over North America and the experiences are more varied than most folks would have imagined.
In a recent interview, Mary shared some of her customers' favorite vacation spots. "Ohio Amish people actually like to visit Lancaster, Pennsylvania." she answered when asked what might surprise readers. "Each Amish community is unique and there are definitely subtle differences." said Mary. She went on to explain that some of these differences include cuisine, dessert favorites and even dialect. Mary's community (Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties) speaks the Schwabisch dialect from the Black Forest region of Germany and the Lancaster area speak what is known as Pennsylvania Dutch. "I have to listen carefully to be sure I understand conversations in different dialects."
Another community Ohio Amish folk enjoy visiting is the Pinecraft community just outside of Sarasota, Florida. Pinecraft is an Amish vacation destination with a few year-round residents. Dutchman Hospitality, known for Ohio restaurants, lodging, shopping and entertainment such as the Ohio Star Theater at Sugarcreek, even owns Der Dutchman restaurant in the area and a new hotel property is being built as well. When asked what the biggest differences are between Sugarcreek and Pinecraft Mary said "Instead of horses, there are bicycles...everywhere!" Mary's trips to the settlement average 46-50 people a trip with all ages including couples, families, single girls, grandparents and Mary's youngest passengers just last year- a 10 month-old baby boy and his 3 and 5 year-old brothers.
Mary’s trips have also included Niagara Falls, the Canadian Rockies and points west. Trips with a nature theme such as visits to the Redwoods or other natural features are very popular. A favorite destination is Key West Florida. Amish travelers enjoy 1-day trips originating in Florida that include the Key West trolley historic tour featuring the history of the cigar industry, architecture and famous residents of the past including Ernest Hemmingway, President Truman and other notables. “You cross 47 bridges from Florida City at the mouth of the keys to Key West!” said Mary.
A final thought from Mary: “The Amish aren’t so different. We are born and die like everyone else. We have chosen a different lifestyle without fear of life which is easier without modern conveniences. We live a Bible life that includes family time.” Mary’s dream vacation? A cabin by a lake.
Mary’s Tips for Ohio Amish Country
- The Warther Museum in Dover is a must see!
- To learn about Amish culture visit the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center
- Everyone should read Lester Beachy’s book series The ABC’s of the Amish
- Pick up more information about the Amish at the Alpine Hills Museum in Sugarcreek
- The local favorite pie is Peanut Butter Cream while Lancaster’s is Shoo Fly
- The mashed potatoes are made from scratch