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Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

Rehoboth Beach...
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Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

Our Plain community is not on display for you to gawk at like animals at the zoo...they are human beings! Please have the common courtesy to respect their privacy!

If they do not have a sign posted at their driveway that they are offering items for sale, you are trespassing to enter upon their property. How would you feel if strangers drove up to your house and began "snooping around," even peeking into your windows?

This is exactly what happened last week, not at a home but (worse yet) at an Amish schoolhouse. Two men in a mini-van with NJ plates drove onto the property while school was in session & began peering in the windows. The alarmed teacher feared the worst & quickly herded the students outside.

The men were believed to be "clueless tourists," but pretty inexcusable behavior when you recall the Nickel Mines schoolhouse tragedy of a few years back.

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1. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

Maybe they didnt realize that school was in session and didnt mean to bother anyone. You just dont know.

Elizabethtown...
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2. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

Which is exactly why Daddio posted this. Most Amish schools that I know of are located down farm lanes, you have to make a little bit of effort to get to them. Not to mentions, that unlike public schools, they often don't have signs that advertise them as such, they are plain buildings. If they did know it was a school, that is actually worse, since I can't imagine that anyone in this country didn't hear about the Nickel Mines shooting. Regardless, peering into the windows of any building that is not designated as a tourist site is inappropriate and trespassing. Thanks Daddio for bringing this incident to the board. It never occurred to me to post it here.

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3. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

Proving once again that some people's ignorance and lack of consideration know no bounds!

No wonder the Amish want so little to do with the rest of us!

Appreciate their lifestyle from a distance; admire their convictoin to ther principles, be jealous of their farming ability, celebrate their creativity, and leave them alone!

They're not trying to intrude into our world....we should be at least as respectful of theirs!

And people post questions about why the Amish don't want to associate with tourists????? Duh!

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

A few thoughts here. First, why is this personal rant in the Forums?

Second, I happened to notice the poster of this (a.k.a., "daddio361") has posted dozens of forum postings offering insights and instructions on exactly how to gawk at the Amish, where to stay when gawking at the Amish, where to eat when gawking at the Amish, etc. Kind of ironic...

Third, according to reports (the incident happened on Nov. 27, but only became public yesterday), the men were looking for an Amish business and believed the building was it (not being from the area, the directions were confusing to them).

The culture clash of English culture (as the Amish call it) and Amish culture (as Americans call it) has existed for generations. It even exists within the Amish culture (rumspringa anyone?). Personal rants aren't going to bridge the cultural divide.

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5. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

jatb, what is your connection with this board? are you planning a trip here, or did you scan TA boards looking for a bone to pick?

daddio posted information (albeit impassioned) for visitors. amish and tourists have a symbiotic relationship. there is nothing wrong with tourists coming to meet and experience amish folk and their wares. but it needs to be respectful. those of us who live here or visit frequently have seen amish treated poorly on far too many occasions. many tourists do indeed seem to lose perspective and treat amish as if they are zoo animals.

i hadn't heard the explanation that the men in the van were looking for a business. even if that is the case, they used very poor judgement. i've never seen an amish school in session that wasn't very clearly a schoolyard on private property. and in fact, since the nickel mines incident, most schoolyards are either fenced or roped off to limit access.

the message is a simple one, but bears repeating. come enjoy the area - but use common sense.

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6. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

I live in Philadelphia and work on the West Chester/Lancaster border. My intent on the boards was looking for information on PA wineries in that area when I happened on this rant.

I'll say it again, I find it ironic that an individual who spends so much time helping people gawk at the Amish (this person has dozens of posts in this forum instructing people on exactly how to gawk at the Amish) would issue such a rant. All the more concerning that this rant was started out of total ignorance and a complete lack of understanding of the situation.

I don't disagree with you on how some tourists treat the Amish. There are ways to help educate that are based on fact and common understanding, vs. personal rantings. Sadly, this thread was started with a lack of respect for this community and was based solely on ignorance.

A more respectful and educated approach would have been a posting along the lines "Top 10 Things to Remember in Amish Country." A pity that that approach wasn't taken here...

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Rehoboth Beach...
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7. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

JATB is entitled to his opinion. I suppose I should aplogize to any readers who felt I was "ranting." I agree the wording could have been better chosen, but it was meant constructively, and since addressed to Lancaster visitors, a Lancaster travel board would seem to be an appropriate forum.

Yes, I have posted to this forum often, and hope my comments have been helpful. As do most locals, I welcome tourists to our area and strive to be a good host. Most visitors are well intentioned, educated, and enjoy their visit without offending Amish or "English." If offering them advice on where to stay, dine, and what to see/do can somehow be construed as "helping them gawk at the Amish," then perhaps I have. Yet many of my posts politely suggested just the opposite, such as on threads discussing photographing & approaching them.

I do, however, wonder what qualifies this posting as being based not in fact, but "solely on ignorance." The incident happened as related. The teacher was, understandably, very frightened. But as later reported, any "ill intent" by the two men was not in question or implied; the point JATB missed is that they used extremely poor judgement (and reasoning skills). Initially, perhaps they could have asked themselves why an Amish business (with no sign) would have small bicycles, scooters and a playground surrounding it, but perhaps a better question is why they would bypass the front door and head for the windows? I'll stand by "clueless tourists" as pretty "spot-on."

Again, forgive me for venting, but my heartfelt frustration is based not on this single incident, but on dozens of incidents I have both witnessed and read about in the Lancaster newspapers or seen reported on WGAL over the years. These were all similar incidents (some of which I have already related here) in which visitors showed an almost incomprehensible level of inappropriate behavior. My dad was a local bus tour guide for many years and you would be shocked by some of stories he related.

In the future, I promise to be more tactful in pointing out how visitors can interact with the "plain sect" without acting "inappropriately," but the bottom line is, in most cases, it just boils down to using common courtesy and common sense.

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8. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

"All the more concerning that this rant was started out of total ignorance and a complete lack of understanding of the situation"

jatb i am genuinely interested in your source of information. i am in the area, and have not heard the reports that you seem to have (the men were looking for a business, and that daddio's account, which matches my own understanding, is incorrect). thanks.

Chattanooga...
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9. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

I can see how easy it could be to get confused like this. I am from the south and there are many old homesteads that are abandoned and noone cares for you to check em out. Now if I didnt know better (i do ) I would think that maybe an amish house was abandonded because of the old look of some of them and it would be easy to think you are being inccoent in checking out an old house when in fact you are invading somones privacy.

Who knows the truith about this incedent though. Maybe the guys were truly not to be trusted and then again maybe they wanted to see how an amish school functions. The amish would probaly not show anyone and this was their only option, NOT that it was the right thing to do though.

Elizabethtown...
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10. Re: Visitors: please respect our Amish residents!

chasm4u - since you just posted in another thread that you have never been here, I have no idea how you could make a comment regarding "the look of them". Amish farms are often older, but are kept up in good repair - often better than non-Amish neighbors, not to mention the livestock, buggies, and growing crops. They hardly look abandoned!

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