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Monday, July 25, 2011

Laughs from Amish country

We took a little family vacation to northern Indiana last weekend. Our destination? Amish Acres in Nappanee.

When I was a little girl, I read every book about the Amish I could get my hands on in the Richmond, Indiana library. I was fascinated by their different way of dressing and their mysterious-to-me ways. In more recent times (like in the last 6 months), I've harbored a secret desire to embed myself with an Amish family for a couple of weeks. Totally disconnected. Work my fingers to the bone on something other than a keyboard.

So when the marketing manager for Amish Acres invited our family to come visit, I didn't think twice. Despite the fact that we had the kids convinced that we were going to assume the Amish lifestyle and customs for the weekend, we actually stayed in a modern(ish) hotel and were limited to learning about the Amish culture from our visit to the Amish Acres farm.

You know that transplanting a family of tech-heavy, suburban folks into a slow-paced environment where technology is not embraced is going to produce some laughable moments.

We watched two pretty interesting documentaries about how the Amish came to be and how they choose to live in the world and not of it. Amish today reject the use of most technologies, though they will use gas lanterns and gas washing machines in their homes.

After learning several of the customs of the Amish, Annie said to me, "Mom, I think you could be Amish with benefits."

"Amish with benefits?" I asked.

"Yeah, you could be Amish as long as they let you have a computer."


* * *

PhotobucketOn a tour of a restored Amish home, we approached a small building with a crescent moon cut in the door. Robbie asked what it was. I told him it was an outhouse and explained what an outhouse was used for -- that people had to go outside to go potty.

Without skipping a beat, Robbie said "I wish Daddy used an outhouse."

* * *

On Saturday afternoon, Annie and I went to see "Plain & Fancy," in Amish Acres's Round Barn Theater. The Broadway musical about a New Yorker heading into Amish country to sell some inherited farm land to Amish neighbors has been performed at the Round Barn Theater for 25 years.

Before the show began, the announcer came over the loudspeaker and reminded people that videorecording and photography was strictly prohibited during the performance.

"If you use photography," said Annie in a very serious voice, "you will be shunned."


Ellen aka Ellie said...

How can they have a loudspeaker?

Seriously, Brad and I would like to take this trip one day soon.

Would you believe I've been to Richmond? I knew a family there, a doctor's family, Harold Miller...

Carolyn Bennett said...

I grew up in the Wakarusa/Nappanee area and even had an Amish babysitter (old order Mennonite actually ). Have you ever been to shipshewana or middlebury? There are good Amish cultural places to visit and they are fun for the kids.

Momza said...

The Amish certainly deserve the reputation they have--hard working and industrious, family-oriented and close-knit.
I think they're pretty neat.

Amy said...

@Momza -- I totally agree. I've got more thoughts about their way of life that I'll get back to in another post.

Stacy said...

That sounds like fun! Lancaster (here in PA) is a lot closer to me, though. I wonder if they have something similar to Amish Acres these days?

By the way...I think all households wish Daddy pooped outside. ;)

Nancy said...

We have a big Amish population down here. I have had to tell Delainey not to make a big deal when she sees an Amish family shoping at the store. She gets really excited when they speak to her at our local farmer's market.

Leilan McNally said...

We went to a waterpark just west of there a couple weeks ago. I was amazed at the culture. Our community was comprised of Amish and Mennonite people.