Springtime in Amish Country

Gap, PA – I spent an afternoon driving around this small township in Lancaster County, PA – Dutch Country, they call it. I got the sense visitors cared less about county’s Dutch heritage and more about the high density of Amish in the area. I should know. Like everyone else, I was there for one reason only: to see the Amish in action.

Being spring, the men were busy plowing the fields while the children delivered flowers for the women to sell. Horse-drawn carts, buggies and kids on push-scooters appeared often from nowhere, necessitating a very careful five-mile per hour cruise, lest some Amish kid goes splat like horse dung beneath my wheel. Except for the click-clacking of horse hooves, it was an otherwise quiet day in Amish country.

The windy rural roads were surprisingly congested with out-of-state motorists who came to peep the Amish as would you giraffes in the Serengeti. After spending considerable time tooling around, snapping photos from a distance, I arrived at a stand where a woman and her three children hawked homemade root beer, cookies and moon pies, a regional favorite. They were a nice looking family, sporting the traditional plain-cut clothing with muted colors. The girls wore calf-length dresses with aprons and bonnets, while the son donned a gray button-up shirt and dark trousers held up by suspenders. I asked if I could take their picture.

“Of the children?” the woman asked, blushing.

“All of you,” I replied. “A family shot.”

“Oh now, we don’t really appreciate having our pictures taken, but you can take pictures of the animals all that you want. We don’t mind that,” she said.

I paid for my root beer and cookies, thanked them for their time and was on my way.

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