Take a journey back in time. Hear the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves alongside the roar of cars and trucks. Notice the children working in the fields, shop in one of the large malls or in one of the small family shops. At some point during your stay you will see members of a community known for its religiously-focused culture, plain dress and lack of modern conveniences. Meet the Amish People.
Almost 300 years ago a small Amish community fled persecution in Europe and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where William Penn was promoting religious and cultural freedom. Amish life and Amish Village, though highly productive, have changed little since that time.
In general, the Lancaster Amish shy away from the use of modern technology and conveniences, including electricity, cars and computers. They want to avoid being drawn into temptations associated with technology that might threaten to weaken their values.
Located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, The Amish Village’s 12 scenic acres offer a genuine look at the community’s lifestyle and how it functions. Visitors may tour an authentic Amish property, including a one-room schoolhouse, barn with farm animals, blacksmith shop, buggies, plows and tools on display, smokehouse market and more.
Horse and buggy tours that are available throughout the area give one a genuine feel for Amish life.
Strasburg Rail Road
A thrilling way to view the scenic countryside is via the Strasburg Rail Road, which can be boarded at the EastStrasburg Station. In operation since 1832, the old fashioned railroad will take you through more than 1,000 acres of countryside during the 45-minute ride to Pleasant, PA and back.
Choo Choo Barn
In 1945, George Groff, home from serving in World War II, was looking for a holiday present for his young son Gary. He found a $12.50 Lionel train set and helped his son set it up. He kept purchasing more pieces and soon word of this train display spread throughout the neighborhood.
In the 1950′s, the family began opening up their elaborate display for townspeople and local school groups during the holiday season. As the Groff family grew, so did their basement train display.
In the early 60′s, the Groff’s needed some extra funds. George opened a display of trains, scenery, buildings, and animated figures in a barn along Route 741, just to the west of the recently reopened Strasburg Rail Road. Choo Choo Barn became a hit with locals and visitors alike. With over 600 square feet of detailed landscaping, six trains, and six animated figures, people knew they were seeing something special and unique!
Over the next few years, the display continued to grow. In time, his children began to help out, and the display grew some more.
When the elder Groffs retired in 1979, their youngest son Thomas, and his wife Linda, took over.
While a lot has changed since the early days in the Groff family basement, you don’t have to be railroad enthusiast to enjoy the scenery and animations presented in this display.
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
Looking for a unique place where fun, family, and farming come together in exceptional “agritainment?” Look no further than Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.
The farm is filled with activities to keep the entire family entertained all day. There is the Wagon Express, a short ride through the cornfield, or the Farm Wagon Tour, which gives you a 20-minute ride around the property. The Pedal Kart Tracks offer kids of all ages the opportunity to “race” around the corn track. In the Farm Experience Center visitors can feed goats, llamas, pigs and other farm animals and watch chicks hatch in the Baby Chicks Hatchery – where you can hold them as well! Enjoy the Singing Chicken Show, try your skill at the Obstacle Course and ride down the hill in a burlap sack.
About the Author: S. Y. Einhorn is a teacher and mother of four who lives in Monsey, NY. She does both writing and photography as a hobby. Her articles and photos of her extensive travels have been published in various magazines and newspapers.
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