why you shouldn't go

Dutch Country, How About Beer Country

There’s a lot we were told about the Pennsylvania Dutch Country but not one person told us about the beer culture! With a micro brew in every direction, and each brewery as good, or at least as interesting as the next.

The beer (especially the Tap Room) was some of the best beer we have had to date!  But now that we’ve shared a virtual cold one, let’s talk about the hype of Dutch Country.  Now….we realize that some of you are all about the kitsch and there is a strong possibility you may be offended by our next statement, so you may want to skip this one.

For the rest of you, we’re gonna hammer out our “do’s” and “don’ts” of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful area worth visiting but there is nothing worse than finding yourself at one tourist trap after another when all you want is an authentic experience.

Let’s start with some cultural don’ts:
Sure it’s beautiful farm land with far off glimpses of the Amish and Mennonite families. But it’s rude to stare and impolite to try and start a conversation with people that don’t want to talk to you (aka – the outside world). It’s a lot of look and don’t touch type of thing…. However, if you can find a true Amish or Mennonite business (good luck) its OK to ask questions regarding purchases and start general chit chat. They just don’t want to be treated like zoo animals. So try and treat them like normal (if you can) and:
• Don’t take photos of Amish or Mennonite people
• Don’t take video of Amish or Mennonite people
• Don’t pet or feed their horses (anytime, anywhere)

Now that you know all of the rules, let’s cover all the things you can skip or pass by quickly.
We were super excited about some of these so called “Amish communities” suggested by some and listed in brochures.  They were all tourist traps and I don’t think we found but maybe one truly Amish owned business. If someone suggests going to Kitchen Kettle Village or stuffing your face at a smorgasbord (think: over sized Luby’s)…politely tell them you can find all of those things at Disney Land.  Don’t waste too much time looking through the knick knack shops and buying souvenirs made in china.

why you shouldn't go

buggy rides

Hop in a car and get lost for a while.

amish farmlands

Search out one of the many covered bridges.

covered bridge
Pull over and watch a farmer work his land from a distance…meanwhile the cows will watch you. I guess the staring thing can go both directions.

amish farmer

Stop off at a dairy. The ice cream is basic but the cows are cute and we happened to catch the peacocks giving a show.

amish farm land

a junior peacock

peacock giving a show

After you have had your feel of farm lands, horses and buggies…..find yourself a micro brew (or several). Sit at the bar and yap up the locals, you never know who you will meet! Maybe, if you are lucky, they will tell you where to find the real Amish.

jason and nikki wynn

great micro brew

dutch country

I think that pretty much sums it up, we enjoyed the beer of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (14)

  • Peter

    If you want to stuff your face check out Shady Maple!

  • linda

    I visit yearly, I stay right off the main road in Bird in Hand, at a Mennonite hotel, I shop at all the local Amish run stores that are quite easy to find when driving around the area for a day or two, My suggestion, if you ever decide to go back, is to visit in the early Spring, when they have their annual “Mud” sales. It is when the Amish and the “English” that’s YOU and me, Firemen buddies hold a humongous sale benefitting the Fire Companies that they ( Amish/English) belong to. It is amazing and an up close, personal sea of Amish/English set together and hobnob for 2 days. Food ( Cider, Homemade doughnuts, pretzels, soups and all good/bad Amish food served up by the ladies themselves. The auctioneers are Amish and sell from different areas throughout the day, with multiple auctions happening all at once. That would be my suggestion of a real Amish/Mennonite experience. So, if you guys are ever on the East coast in the Spring, head back to Bird in Hand area and check out the Mud Sales. My Favorite is the Gordanville Sale, 2nd week in March. There is a sale every weekend in a nearby location, the best being in March.

  • stephion

    I would like to see more of both of you on camera

  • Tammy

    I used to take my girls to a working dairy farm near there. They gave us a delightful driving tour map to go “off the beaten path” … a real pharmacy/store run by wind power for the cash register/scales, a working farm with ice cream parlor {their adorable children scooped up our treats!}, a local phone booth out in the middle of nowhere where they had a clipboard for the person to write down their long distance calls…we loved it!

    • Tammy, love that you found a local place and had a unique experience! We tried to search that expereince out, just didn’t meet the right people. We will have to try the pharmacy next time.

  • Sandi, I am sooo glad to hear that even as someone who grew up in the area you thought the same thing! If you find any super awesome local places, let us know!

  • Maureen Kelly-Thompson

    I was raised in Lancaster, PA (now live in California). Despite being out on the West Coast for over 31 years, I will always consider myself a PA native. Fortunately, I still know all the “secret” backroads and what “tourist traps” to avoid and what to recommend. My late father worked for the Pennsylvania Dutch Visitors Center in Lancaster, PA for over 15 years and loved to share his wealth of knowledge with the visitors. He encouraged first time tourists to get to know the whole area with its rich history and not just focus on the Pennsylvania Dutch aspect. Some of my parent’s neighbors are Amish and once you get to know them on a personal basis, the whole “outsider” thing disappears. Glad you found all the micro-brews to be of interest. That area sure does love its beers!

  • Katie

    My family and I want yo visit Pennsylvania some day. A Amish/ Mennonite community was one of the places we wanted to visit there. Thanks for the tips. The new website is great. The only thing I miss is the where we are now map feature on Where the Wynn’s Blow.

  • Sandi, How funny! If you like Beer you must go to the Tap Room downtown, what a place!
    For the non-junk it’s a difficult search, but there are a few places that are still legit. Have fun, we have great memories from the area!

  • Sandi Elboeck

    Would you believe we are in Lebanon, Pa. and you are so right about the Amish/Mennonite communities becoming touristy/commercial/money making ventures now. Ten years ago it was not like this; and we all know throught the U.S. we have all seen the same type of changes, all about the MONEY!

    Do we still seek out the handmade stuff and spend money, you bet we do as we cannot get this kitchsy stuff in Fl. and I was born in a small town about 2 hours from here and my childhood memories become very strong when we visit here.


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