One activity you can do while visiting Amish country is to share a meal with an Amish family in their own home. There are several ways to arrange this. You can do it through a buggy ride service (brochures for a dinner with the Amish are readily available with booking information), or you might be able to arrange it through other means. A friend of mine arranged ours with a wonderful Amish grandmother and her family, and it was an amazing “Beyond the Bonnets” experience.
When we pulled into the driveway of this pristine Amish home and farm nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Ohio, it was like taking a step back in time. There wasn’t any 24-hour news program blaring from a flat screen TV or kids fighting over a video game. It was quiet and peaceful.
The aroma of the food greeted us as we knocked on the door and were soon met with a warm welcome. After a friendly introduction to her family, we were invited us take a seat at the table. Dinner was hot and ready to be served.
The food couldn’t have been better — fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables, salad, and our choice of several desserts. By the last course, we were too full to breathe, but we still went back for more.
What was most enjoyable, though, was the conversation and laughter. We discovered we had a lot in common, especially sharing a love of laughter. We each offered funny stories about marriage, children, church life, and they even shared photographs of the beautiful wedding cake that was served at a recent family wedding.
Before we left, they gave us a tour of their thriving garden (that’s where we differed – theirs actually had vegetables growing in it).
I’m sure you know by now that there are plenty of things to do while visiting Amish country—shopping, restaurants, buggy rides, entertainment—it’s all fun. But if you ever get the chance to share a meal with an Amish family in their home, I would highly recommend it. You’ll see how they live their daily lives, hear them share their personal stories and memories, and you’ll be able to ask them any questions you might have about the Amish life. And they are more than happy to answer them.
So the next time you’re in Amish country, go Beyond the Bonnets. Have a great meal and take home an experience you won’t soon forget. Dinner is served!
Martha Bolton is the author of 87 books, including her newest, Josiah for President, which has now been adapted into a play. She was a staff writer for Bob Hope for fifteen years, and received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics. She has also written for dozens of comedians and entertainers, including Phyllis Diller, Wayne Newton, and Mark Lowry. Her popular series of books for middle-agers (Didn’t My Skin Used to Fit?, Cooking With Hot Flashes, and others) have addressed the subject of growing older in a fun and fresh way.