If you’ve been to Amish country, then you’ve seen the signs—“Buggy rides.” The prices will vary according to the length of the ride, but they’re more reasonable than you might think. Usually the rides offered will be anywhere from 7-15 minutes, to 30 minutes, and some are an hour or more. A few hotels even offer a free short buggy ride to their guests, or they will arrange for a ride for a small fee.
The longer buggy rides typically take you to Amish farms tucked away off the beaten path, where you might be able to purchase home-made Amish items, such as baskets, quilts, wooden toys, jams and jellies, and more. Some buggy rides will stop at tourist locations or other points of interest along the way.
The buggies come equipped with drop-down steps or a step stool to help visitors climb up into them, and the drivers are most helpful getting everyone on board. Once you’re inside, if you’re like me, your mind will wander to days of old when buggies and wagons, horse-drawn coaches and carriages were how people got around. Let your imagination go wild, wondering what life had to have been like back in the day, or is like today for the Amish.
But a scenic ride and a step back in time isn’t all the buggy rides have to offer. Talking to the driver is my favorite part. Their fun, friendly way of pointing out the various aspects of Amish life and culture help you learn more about these interesting and admirable people. Ask the driver any question you like, and if he doesn’t know the answer (which is unusual), he’s sure to tell you a good Amish tale or fun Amish joke. They know all the best tourist spots, and many will share their own experiences growing up Amish.
Taking a buggy ride in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee was how I first became interested in the Amish. That’s why I try to take a buggy ride as often as I can. No two drivers are exactly alike, and I’ve learned something new from each one. Their stories and quick wit always give me plenty of good laughs, too.
So whenever you’re in Amish country, don’t simply drive by those buggy stands. Stop and take a ride. Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. You’ll love it, and believe me, you’ll have such a good time, it will feel like a lot longer than fifteen minutes.
Give yourself, your family, and your friends a memory they’ll never forget.
Martha Bolton is an Emmy nominated former staff writer for Bob Hope, and the author of 89 books, including two Amish novels Josiah for President and The Home Game. She is also the Playwright for Blue Gate Musicals, which currently has productions at The Star Theater in Sugar Creek, Ohio, The Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana, Indiana, and the Bird in Hand Stage in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania. Martha’s second novel, The Home Game, was just awarded the Golden Scroll Merit Award for Fiction. Her latest book, Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? released this year.