Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Day in Amish Country

The most interesting part of the Escapade for me was our extra HOP event through Amish Country. We got up early and bundled up as it was only in the 30's(burrr) and headed over to the two buses waiting for us. We were each given a bag and told to put our names on it. Hmm, wonder what that is about. So we climbed aboard.
The Amish are very devout in their faith. They believe in the literal interpretation and application of Scripture as the Word of God. They take seriously the Biblical commands to separate themselves from the things of the world. They believe worldliness can keep them from being close to God, and can introduce influences that could be destructive to their communities and to their way of life.

I think when most think of the Amish, they picture them driving their horse and buggies along the streets.

Our guide described how the most important thing in their lives is God and second is family. They are a very close knit society and everyone helps everyone else in the community. Not long after she said this we passed an example of this as people gathered to fix a roof.

We stopped at a buggy shop where the owner not only repairs but builts buggies for the community.

We also stopped at an one room school house. One thing I was surprised about was that the Amish only attend school until 8th grade. In fact, even the people who are chosen to be teachers only have an eighth grade education as well. They don;t forbid children to go on to higher education but they strongly discourage it. Again, they are about keeping it simple and not becoming worldly. Once the teenagers finish their schooling, they are encouraged to explore and act like normal teenagers for a few years when they need to decide whether to join the church or not. If they decide to leave the community at that time, they are not shunned but they can't change their minds and decide to come back later.

We also stopped at a camel farm. They sell the milk in companies in the US where it is often used for medicinal purposes. They also make soap which is suppose to be good for your skin. I bought a bar of mint soap to try.

We stopped at a store that sold products, such as jams, pastas, bread made by the Amish people. We found out what the bags were for. We had bought a loaf of bread and some ham spread. When we went to get back on the bus, we were each given a loaf of bread. Later, we got bags of pasta, jars of jelly, carmel donut holes, and popcorn. 
We made another stop to a house that was built in 1860 which has been lovely restored by the current owners. It was just beautiful down to the smallest details.

They had miniature donkeys which were very cute.

 We had also made a stop in the town of Shipshewana for lunch. Another stop was to see the RV Hall of Elkhart. It is an 100,000 square foot museum and library that features a variety of historical recreational vehicles. Near the entrance they had many pictures of these, including a volkswagen bus, which was our first traveling vehicle back when our boys were just babies. We walked through the large rooms exploring rv's that went back to the earliest days of automobiles.

1913 Earl Travel Trailer with Model T Ford

1958 Airstream

1935 Covered Wagon Travel Trailer

Tear Drop Trailer

1966 Mustang Trailer

We finished up the day with an Amish supper. We all sat at large tables where the food was passed along in large bowls of pot roast, chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing. Then pies for desert. Everything was delicious and we had a really great day.

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