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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