Etiquette In Amish Country

Visiting Amish Country can be one of the most relaxing, and rewarding travel excursions you plan. Delight in the scenery of the countryside, dine at an Amish-themed restaurant and enjoy fresh produce from a road-side stand, then stay overnight at a quaint bed and breakfast tucked under an authentic Amish quilt.

But please remember … the Amish are private people. They are not costumed interpreters. They are real people living in our community going about their lives, and it is very important to be considerate of them and their lifestyle. So when visiting, please keep the following basic courtesy rules in mind:

DO NOT stare or point or otherwise be disrespectful of the Amish. If you see an Amish family in town, they are likely there to do some shopping, stop by the bank or do some other errand just like you do with your family.

DO keep an eye out for slow-moving Amish-driven buggies, (especially at night) while driving, and give them plenty of room when following or passing. Keep headlights on low beam.

DO NOT honk your horn. Honking can “spook” or frighten horses and cause a wreck. Give them the benefit of the doubt and be ready for anything.

DO feel free to stop at an Amish home if you see a sign in the yard inviting you to stop. Many Amish homes will offer crafts, baked goods, groceries and other items for sale to the passerby.

DO NOT enter private property without permission. The lack of a No Trespassing sign does not give visitors the right to enter the property.

Amish DO NOT pose for photographs or videos. However, many Amish will not resent visitors taking photos of their buggy, or general ‘landscape shots’ from a distance (work being done on the farm, etc) Just be careful and respectful. If you feel uncomfortable taking the photo, ask permission. The answer may be no, but your polite request will be appreciated and may open the door to a conversation.

DO NOT feed or pet horses that are tied to a hitching rail or harnessed to a buggy. It’s always best to ask permission to touch the animal or buggy.

DO respect their privacy. It is best to avoid approaching the Amish unless they appear open to company. When you do have a need to approach a group of Amish, it is polite to speak to a male, if possible. If you are sincerely interested in talking to the Amish to learn more about their culture, your best bet is to patronize an Amish-owned business and talk with the shopkeepers. In our Amish community all Amish-owned and many of our non-Amish shops are closed on Sundays. It’s always best to call ahead to check before making your travel plans.

We would love to see you visiting Geauga County Soon.- Kim Breyley - Editor



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    • Recently the Geauga County library system installed “induction loops” in the libraries, at the reception and information desks, meeting rooms, and other places. If a person has a hearing aid with a tele-coil, he or she can turn the tele-coil to a manual setting and what is being said will be transmitted directly to his or her hearing aid, without background noise but with the use of the “corrections” that are part of the hearing aid. I am writing an article about this installation because I am part of a group that is encouraging public places to install induction loops.
      I would like to know whether hard-of-hearing Amish persons in Geauga County are allowed to use hearing aids. I have read that batteries are allowed for certain battery-powered items, but I didn’t want to presume anything. I am also curious about whether any Amish people have made use of the loop with their hearing aids if they have them. If this second question is too personal, do let me know, and then, of course, ignore it.
      Thank you very much.
      Dorothy Miller

      • We consulted local Amish women for info …

        On Amish hearing aids …
        All church districts in Geauga allow hard-of-hearing members to use battery operated hearing aids.

        On induction loops …
        NO church district in Geauga permits use of induction loops. (Nor do any out-of- Geauga districts known to them.)

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