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Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

Melbourne, Australia
8 posts
Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

Hi I'm going to Philly for a conference mid-June and afterwards would like to do a tour of some towns with amish communities closeby if possible. I'm from Australia, travelling on my own, and don't want to hire a car. I'm not comfortable about driving on the other side of the road.

I was in Washington DC a couple of years ago and couldn't find a tour. If there isn't one from Philly if I took a bus/train to Lancaster would there be much for me to see walking around?

appreciate any advice.

Bucks County...
Destination Expert
for Philadelphia, Train Travel, Bucks County
Level Contributor
9,868 posts
97 reviews
1. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

You can't see anything walking around in Lancaster, and IMO, the trip is not worth the effort. You would mainly see rolling farmland. There is so much to see in Philadelphia. For a taste of Amish culture, you can visit The Reading Terminal market, which has many Amish food vendors, and is immediately next door to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Bangor, Pennsylvania
Destination Expert
for Lancaster
Level Contributor
3,148 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

Let me expand a little bit on the previous post.

You certainly could take Amtrak to Lancaster and walk around. Lancaster is an attractive small historic city with excellant restaurants, the nations oldest Farmers Market(although not as big as Phillys Reading Terminal Market) and some interesting small Museums. All are some distance from the train station, which is on the North end of the city.

You will not however, see any Amish as they all live in the country.(Unless you see some on the train- the Amish travel by train ,since they do not fly)

if you don't have a car then your second best option is to book a tour with one of the Tour companys (a number are listed on the Pa Dutch Visitors Bureau website). I believe however , that you would have to take a taxi from the train staion to the Tour Company, and then, when you are done, call for a taxi to pick you up. This will probably consume more time and expense than you want to take.

If you really want to do this it would be best to rent a car.

If you rent a car, the tours I would reccomend would be from the Mennonite Information Center, where a guide (Of Mennonite or other Anabaptist Heritage- but not Amish- will ride in the car with you).

Finally do not come on Sundays as the Mennonite and Amish run establishments will all be closed (although you will see a lot of buggys on the road going to and coming from church)..

Edited: 05 April 2011, 11:52
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
955 posts
15 reviews
3. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

There is one group tour from Philadelphia that I am aware of:http://www.phillytours.us/?event=offer.detail&offerId=396

Awfully Nice Tours also does personal driving tours, but for a single person it would be very expensive. awfullynicetours.com/DrivingTours/LancasterA…

Rehoboth Beach...
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach
Level Contributor
3,399 posts
29 reviews
4. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

"You can't see anything walking around in Lancaster, and IMO, the trip is not worth the effort."

Opinions may vary. I know you would not have gotten that response from the Lancaster forum.

While certainly not as historically significant as Philadelphia, Lancaster does have a rich heritage and plenty of character. Plotted in 1734, it was incorporated as a borough just 8 years later, and as a city in 1818, about the time many of the surrounding boroughs in the county were born or enjoying their first decades of growth.

If inclined to visit, hiring a car would not be necessary:

If you were to take the train from 30th St. Station ($15.), the Red Rose Transit Trolley transports travelers from the Lancaster station into downtown Lancaster and back again about every half hour. Hopefully you can go on a Saturday morning to enjoy historic Central Market. You will see Amish standholders and shopper, and plenty of friendly locals. A guided walking tour of the city is available from the Heritage Museum adjacent to the Market just off Penn Square.


Or you might prefer a guided Segway tour:


You could also arrange a bus tour of the county:


If you decide to stay over to enjoy the city's varied restaurants and nightlife, there is a new Marriott on Penn Square, or I'd suggest the Lancaster Arts Hotel. For more info or suggestions, please put up a thread on the Lancaster forum.

Level Contributor
367 posts
39 reviews
5. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

Stay in Philadelphia, enjoy all the history. If you need Amish, rent the movie "Witness" with Harrison Ford and watch it some evening as you relax in your Philly hotel room.

Level Contributor
986 posts
37 reviews
6. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster


When people post on the Lancaster board regarding a visit to Philadelphia during their trip, never is such negativity displayed. This is horribly disappointing and just supports all the negative stereotypes of Philadelphia residents.

Melbourne, Australia
8 posts
7. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

Well thank you all for your advice and information but I think I will decide when I get to Philly.

Anyhow I will definitely enjoy visiting the Reading Terminal Market as my hotel doesn't provide breakfast and the conference doesn't provide lunch.

Level Contributor
367 posts
39 reviews
8. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

I apologize to our neighbors to the west. I realize there is lots to do in the Lancaster area. I just interpreted this poster's interest to be in closely seeing the Amish. Given the physical lay out, the Amish sense of privacy and similar factors, I think someone seeking a close view of the Amish may be disappointed.

Penfield New York
Level Contributor
2 posts
31 reviews
9. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

Visited Lancaster a few years back to attend a musical presentation of Daniel at the Millennium Theater. This was worth the entire trip.

There is an Amish tour which includes a film explaining the culture as well as a visit to an Amish farm. One can see buggies frequently while shopping or dining in Lancaster. We observed Amish children walking to school. I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures of Amish families as I was aware of their desire for privacy. My Lancaster experience was positive.

10. Re: Tour of amish towns from Philly eg Lancaster

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