This fascinating area of southeast Pennsylvania is where the persecuted Amish, Mennonite and Brethren religious believers settled after leaving Switzerland, and Germany in the 1700s. The phrase “Dutch Country” actually refers to them speaking Deutsche, or German. Their strict bible-centred lifestyle means they live without modern trappings such as electricity and motor cars. Their clothing, farms, hand-carved furniture and horse-drawn buggies are a big attraction to this rural area.
Amish craft shops are a big draw to the area and are well worth browsing. The Amish are known for their high quality handmade furniture, heirloom quilts and wooden toys. To fully understand their unique lifestyle in Lancaster County, take a guided tour from the Mennonite Information Centre. Route 30 is lined with businesses offering an Amish experience and the Amish buffets are an excellent way to enjoy traditional homecooked European food. Their cheese, bakeries and dairy products are quite delicious to sample or take back to your Pennsylvania Dutch Country holiday rental. Explore the lanes on either side of Route 30 to discover horse-drawn buggies, small communities and fields being worked by hand, from haymaking to horse-drawn ploughing. You may even see strange anomalies such as somberly dressed Amish boys in dark suits rollerblading along the highway!
Visitors staying in holiday homes in Pennsylvania Dutch Country will almost believe they are in Europe, due to the familiarity of the town names. Germanstown, Strasburg, Stroudsburg and Soudersburg are some of the charming names, along with the more surprising towns of Intercourse, Paradise and Bird in the Hand. If you see signs for a Mud Sale, you should attend to see Amish buggies and horses being auctioned and delicious food stalls of pastries and snacks. Another excellent place to visit is the Amish Experience in Intercourse. This Show Farm gives a guided tour of a typical farm, buggy rides and a lavish family-style meal. The market in downtown Lancaster is well worth a visit on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. History of a different kind can be found nearby at Gettysburg.
Holiday homes in Pennsylvania Dutch Country experience hot summers reaching 82°F (28°C) in July and cold snowy winters. The area has rainfall throughout the year which falls as snow in December and January.
The main local airport serving Pennsylvania Dutch Country holiday rentals is Lancaster (LNS) airport, six miles from the town of Lancaster, PA. It is served by Cape Air with flights mainly from Chicago. For international visitors, Philadelphia International (PHL) Airport is 66 miles from Lancaster away and offers an easy drive in a hire car along the US-30. Harrisburg International (MDT) Airport is even closer, 32 miles from the area, but has fewer flights.