Although thousands of visitors come to Lancaster County to experience a bit of the Amish lifestyle, the Amish are a private people and find the attention somewhat disconcerting. It is important to respect their feelings while you’re visiting. With that in mind, here are a few tips for fostering good relations between the Amish and non-Amish.
No Pictures, Please!
Don’t ask an Amish person to pose for a picture. Most will politely refuse. It is against our Amish neighbors convictions to have their pictures taken, except in very special situations. Please respect this belief and do not take photos without permission, just as you would like to have your beliefs respected.
Hold Your Horses
Driving along area roads, you will no doubt encounter numerous Amish carriages, or “buggies,” as visitors like to call them. Do not honk your horn, because the sound may frighten the horse and cause an accident. Instead, wait until it is safe to pass and then give the buggy plenty of room. Be sure not to cut back in the lane too sharply in front of the horse. The county’s roads are generally wide enough that you should be able to pass most buggies without much of a problem.
Do not trespass onto private Amish property for a closer look. Amish homes are not museums, and Amish people are not exhibits. Respect their property and privacy as you would like others to respect your own. You can get a good sense of Amish life at many area visitor attractions and on guided tours.
Do not be offended if the Amish do not wave back to your friendly gesture. With all the people who wave to them throughout a day, they would be waving back all day if they did!
A Final Word
Remember the Amish are not on vacation and are not costumed actors. They are real people going about their daily lives. They are not here to serve as tour guides or attractions for visitors. This, after all, is their home, so please respect their beliefs and lifestyle.