When Amy first reserved, we tried to get the 11am Tour, but the 25 passenger tour bus was already full. We opted to go to the earlier 8:45am tour. We were all glad we decided to go!
Chris Lapp, our tour guide was a young man who is a Mennonite. He brought along his young daughter who was an angel, and very well behaved ( a good singer too!). When not giving tours of the Lancaster area, he is a teacher at a Mennonite school. He taught us a lot about the area, and history of the Amish, along with a lot of antidotes from his own family background growing up in the area. Chris showed and explained some of the differences of the Amish lifestyle, and how to tell an Amish farm from an "English" farm. Things we learned we did not know before included that the farm wagons cannot have rubber tires (must be steel) that diesel or air driven machinery can be used, and that the Amish can have cell phones for business use. These rules are set by the particular bishops for their area. On the back roads and routes that Chris chose, we were able to see many examples of the beautiful and simple lives of these faithful people. We also stopped at a few farm and family run stores, including the Quilt shop owned by Chris' mother. He explained the intricate details of these works of art. One one or two quilts are created by a woman in a year.
Dolls on the shelves at the Quilt Shop
We also stopped at a candle shop and petting zoo, and a farm bakery, where we had fresh-made pretzels and homemade root beer! Was a great treat! We had fun talking with Chris, the other passengers, and seeing the beautiful Lancaster Countryside!
After our tour, we had lunch at Bird-in-Hand, a great buffet including some local specialties. Then we walked around the Farmers Market - which was very crowded, and checked out their wares. Then a quick trip to the Quilt Museum by the Kitchen Kettle complex. Finally around 1pm we headed back toward home base.
Right now resting up to go eat later at Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant for dinner. A busy but great day!