Visited the towns of Intercourse, PA (the town commonly used in movies
about the Amish, such as "For Richer or Poorer" starring Tim Allen and
Kirstey Alley) and Bird-in-Hand, PA, a few years ago.
We did the tourist thing and visited the quilt shops and antique
stores. Quite a few seemed to exist for the purpose of shaking down
us English. High prices. Some were not even run by Amish... they
just looked Amish on the surface, so tourists spent money there!
Sick. If you see a horse and buggy and a woman dressed funny, she may
only be there to shake you down. Buyer beware. The Amish masquerade
We got tired of that and visited a few true Amish shops off the beaten
path (from a block behind the main drag, to many miles away). My wife
wanted some cloth swatches for her own quilts, so we visited a few
fabric stores. They ranged from having electric lights, calculators,
credit card machines, and even electronic cash registers, to very
non-technological... gas lights, simple kind people, and very
reasonable prices, depending on where you went. Some even use
plastic grocery bags (presumably recycled). I think, given the credit
card machines and grocery bags, when it comes to doing business, they
do have a lot of leeway.
Bought some homemade root beer from one elderly gentleman with a
hand-lettered sign in front of his barn. It was meant to be read by a
customer in a very slow-moving vehicle, I think, as it was only 8x10
inches. We had to back up and read it again... it was worth the stop.
Farms around the area sometimes put out fruit and vegetables on tables
and stands in the front. Never any people around, you just take what
you need and leave money in a jar, on the honor system. Sometimes
they don't even put prices on things... you just pay what your
conscience tells you to and make your own change (which means they
probably get about 10x what they would have asked if they had posted
A word to anyone visiting the area... get out and drive around the
whole area. Get lost, then get found again. If you are out driving
around Lancaster County and you don't see any other cars, but you see
horses and carriages, you are in Amish Country. If you see more cars
than horses, you are in Tourist Trap.
It's worth a trip. I hope to go again someday.