The Amish Farm and House of Lancaster offers beautiful sights. EDEN SWARTZENTRUBER / THE SNAPPER
Lancaster is known for its beautiful architecture, some of the best soil for agriculture in the world, and its historic downtown. Its most notable feature by far, however, is the large population of Amish that reside there. Lancaster County is home to over 30,000 Amish people and is the largest Amish community in the United States.
One of Lancaster’s most intriguing tourist attractions is the Amish Farm and House, located about 13 miles east of Millersville University. The Amish Farm and House is known as “America’s First Amish Attraction,” established in 1955 as a tourist spot. The farm was built in 1803 and the house itself was built in 1805.
Millersville student Julia Schroeder has been an employee at the Amish Farm and House for two years. She is an education major with aspirations to teach 2nd and 3rd graders. Schroeder is a vegetarian and has a love of animals, which drew her to the job. A former student at Temple University in Philadelphia, Schroeder transferred to Millersville to get away from city life. Her role at the farm is a Farm Ambassador, which includes taking care of the animals on the farm and attending to the grounds.
“Saturdays are our big days,” says Schroeder about the farm’s main attractions. “There are hayrides, buggy rides, and the barbeque barn is open.”
There are a variety of animals on the farm, including pigs, goats, horses, turkeys, chickens, and a peacock named Kevin. The farm offers a house tour, a self-guided farm tour and bus tours around the area that often stop at local Amish-owned businesses. During the summer,
they also offer goat yoga, where goats will stand on people’s backs while guided by an instructor. Tours are offered in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, and German.
Schroeder notes that visitors come from all over the world, not just from Pennsylvania and the United States. She says she is surprised at how many people do not know anything about the Amish, and the Amish Farm and House is a great resource to educate the local community about the culture.
When it comes to Millersville University offering courses about the Amish, Schroeder believes there should be more classes focused on the local culture.
“Learning about the Amish should be integrated into our curriculum because it’s our community,” she explains. “Why should every student not be learning about this when every student is in the same community as the Amish?”
The tour guides at the Amish Farm and House help to educate visitors on the Amish way of life, most widely known for their lack of electricity, penchant for farming, and Anabaptist beliefs.
Tour guide Devon Fite has been at the Amish Farm and House for six years. She does tours in English, French, and Spanish and helps at the gift shop. Fite learned to speak Spanish from her uncle and later studied French and Spanish in college.
“We act as ambassadors between the Amish and English,” says Fite about the goals of the Amish Farm and House.
Non-Amish people, referred to by members of the religious community as the “English”, often come to the Amish Farm and House to learn more about their culture and lifestyle.
Fite emphasizes the importance of learning about different cultures, especially for Lancaster County residents who may not know about the Amish. As for her role as a tour guide, she plays a pivotal role in educating people.
“The most valuable thing for the local community is learning about the culture and it’s so nice to have the personal touch of a tour guide,” says Fite.
The Amish Farm and House is a fascinating and important cultural education site on the Lancaster Amish and the way they have maintained their way of life for centuries. Complete with fall foliage, animals, homemade goods from the Amish, house and bus tours, and a corn maze, this spot is a must-see for any resident of Lancaster County, and it has things to offer for people of any age or origin. To learn more about the Amish Farm and House and what they have to offer, visit their website at amishfarmandhouse.com.