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Amish in the City

Regular readers know that I recently got back from New York City on an Amish Cook-related mission.  One thing I noticed quickly was that "Amish Country" has it's eye on the Big Apple.  Network TV was plastered with commercials urging New Yorkers to consider a vacation in Pennsylvania. The biggest selling point made in the advertisments:  Lancaster County is only a half a gas tank away.  The advertisements are accurate, Lancaster County is NOT far from New York City.  So it does make for a logical escape if one wanted to leave the city without paying a fortune.  Still the very proximately of eastern seaboard cities to Lancaster County, the cradle of Amish culture in America, has placed tremendous strain on the community.  In fact, the area no longer has the largest Amish population in the USA as many have left, fed up with congested roads and gawking tourists.  I was amused at some of the tourist brochures I found at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center on the New Jersey line.  One brochure touts "Abe's Buggy Rides" in Lancaster County.  Sounds authentic enough.  One that made me laugh was a brochure that said "AAA Buggy Rides", that sounds like a phone book trick the local plumber would use to get notice:  name your business AAA so you're listed first in the phone book.

Other random trip tid-bits, some Amish, some not:

1) At the convention I attended I found myself really, really thirsty so I went to a stand that was selling 20 ounce bottles of soda.  I asked for a Coke and almost had a heart attack when the guy told me it was $3.25!!! That is the most I'd ever paid for 20 ounces of Coke that wasn't even that cold.  But since most of the people attending this convention were rolling in money I didn't want to appear cheap and just bought it, but I was steamed.  I mean, I was an idiot for buying it which just perpetuates the price, but, wow! There should be a law against pricing something like that so high.

2)  I saw several barns close to the interstate in Pennsylvania that were adorned with colorful hex signs.  I found myself wondering if that was more for tourism value than any actual tie to the past.  I think the backroads would yield more authentic hex sign images, but time would not allow me to explore.

3) Kutztown has many colorful billboards up advertising their upcoming "Pennsylvania German Festival", although some signs said the "Pennsylvania Folk Festival."  Does anyone know if these are two different festivals or does the event just go by both names?

Re: Friends of Amish club

Hi Kevin,

  How is the friends of the Amish fundraiser going?  I hope it has helped the financial situation for you some.  Please let me know how successful it has been, or if we need to think of something else.  Thanks,

Marybeth Arthur

Re: Amish in the City

  Regarding the price of your soda, all I can say is Welcome to NY! After all this is the place where the average homeowner on Long Island pays almost $10,000 a year in taxes. I paid $3 for an 8oz. bottle of water at a local arena. The Kutztown Fair is the PA Dutch Folk Festival or German Festival. It is a very big deal, and is famous. I go to Lancaster several times a year and it takes me about 3 1/2 hours from Long Island. I have been doing this for nearly 15 years. During that time, so much development has occurred, that the Mennonite settlements are literally surrounded by suburban tract housing. Although it is still rural where the Amish or Mennonites live,eventually I believe it will be taken over by developments. Many of Amish and  Mennonites have moved to upstate NY or towns in the midwest because land is cheaper there. It is very expensive in Lancaster and land is becoming scarce. Of course, it is very touristy there too, but there are some very interesting places like the Ephrata Cloisters and the Hans Herr House which reflect an earlier time. I look forward to going there . Sue


Re: Amish in the City

BK, you read my mind on Kings Island, they are AWFUL.  You're stuck in a 45 minute line for the beast, nowhere to go except the vending machine right there, and they gouge you for a $2 or $3 pop...criminal, in my opinion....

Re: Amish in the City

Ahh and forget it if you have to go to the bathroom while standing in those 'cattle-corals' lines for rides at Kings IslandTongue out  Love going to Fearfeast in October but the last couple of years the lines have been extremely long, 45 minutes is quick compare to two hours for some of the other roller coasters.

My husband and son are at the Kentucky Speedway tonight for NASCAR racing, can't wait to hear how much things cost there.  Talk about being in the middle of no where with no where else to go...

Re: Amish in the City

Many places will charge that high of price for a soda especially if you're 'stuck' there, i.e. Red's baseball game, King's Island, Octoberfest, Riverbend and Tall Stacks when it was in town.  It doesn't seem right that they can charge you this high of price but they do because where else can you go to get a drink at these events? Many of them also check inside your bags/purse for 'contraband' and will make you get rid of it.  A friend of mine always 'sneeks' her drinks in inside a baby bottle.  I think it's funny they don't question her about why she has a baby bottle and no baby.....

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