Where can you stay on an Amish farm? We often get this question, and happily around this time last year were able to point to amishfarmstay.com. The site lists Lancaster County Amish-owned properties where you can pay to stay overnight.
As of last summer the site featured 6 Amish hosts; this year the listings have doubled to 12. So there are quite a few options now in the Lancaster area, as it looks like the area’s Amish have really begun filling demand for this experience.
Can you stay with Amish in their homes?
You might be wondering if you actually stay with Amish in their homes. In most (but not all cases) the answer is no – these are generally B-and-B/guesthouse-style arrangements, where guest stay on the same property as the Amish farm or home, but in a separate building/structure. However you typically do have some interaction with the hosts.
From the site description:
Each of the farms and other Amish properties represented on this website offer a rare opportunity to observe life being carried out in much the same way as it has been for many years past by the Amish community of Lancaster County. For some, an Amish Bed and Breakfast farm stay is a simple way to step away from many of the technological distractions that seem to dominate our lives. For others, it can be both a pleasant surprise and an educational experience to witness an Amish family living life in such a different way from the rest of modern society.
So you might gather that “Amish farms” is used loosely here – it doesn’t necessarily mean a full 80-acre dairy, but might be a farmette-style arrangement. Whatever it is, it promises to be quite a different experience than a standard hotel room.
Even Amish who are not full-fledged dairy farmers are going to have horses and probably other animals like chickens, etc. on the property, so you’ll at least have a “farm-ish” experience. As the site notes, “Each farm and guesthouse has its own individual character.”
What’s the experience like? Do the accommodations have public electricity?
The site points to a “What to Expect” section on its sister site lancasterfarmbnb.com for a description of the experience:
You will be staying in a guesthouse or in the home of an Old Order Amish family. At our Amish guesthouses you will have the entire lodging to yourselves. The Amish are known for using horse & buggy for transportation, being off the public (electrical) power grid, they have no TV, computers, Wifi, and the phone is usually outside in a “shanty” or barn. These lodgings tend to be more “authentic”, but they are quite simple and without many frills.
They do have refrigerators, lamps (battery operated) and some have solar or generator powered electrical outlets. A couple of the guesthouses do not have electrical outlets for you to plug anything into. One of the Amish guesthouses is quite modern and even has air conditioning. Most of the other guesthouses have fans. There is heat in the Amish homes but it may not be as warm as you’re used to. There are lamps but in some guesthouses the lighting is limited.
Be prepared not to be pampered as you might be in a non-Amish bed & breakfast. Be prepared for farm living and farm smells – as on any farm, it may not be as sterile an environment as most urbanites are used to.
In true Amish fashion, the places typically do not have public power, though it sounds like a good number are equipped with outlets driven by other sources of power.
As you might expect you shouldn’t go there expecting TV and internet connections and all the amenities of a modern hotel, but if you’re interested in this type of accommodation, I think you realize that already.
It’s all part of the experience (and for that matter can be quite refreshing to “get away from technology” for a little while…but unless you switch off your phone that experience will probably only be a partial one 😉 ).
What about food?
From the same section:
In the Amish lodgings the breakfast varies from place to place. There are a couple where no breakfast is served but you may be able to get fresh eggs on the property and you have your own kitchen. There are a couple where food for a continental breakfast is provided in the guesthouse. There’s one lodging where you may eat breakfast with the hosts in their kitchen.
There are also some families who offer additional paid dinner options.
How much interaction do you have with the Amish hosts?
Will you be able to hang out with your Amish hosts? Can you talk with them about their lives, etc? Those questions are also addressed in the “What to Expect” section:
Most of the farms offer a tour of the property along with an explanation of their farming techniques. The opportunities for conversation with your Amish hosts also varies from one place to another depending on which guesthouse you stay in and how long your visit is. Some of the Amish hosts are more talkative than others. If you’re staying for only one night you shouldn’t expect too much interaction. The Amish tend to be private and very busy people so you won’t necessarily have loads of time to “hang out” with your Amish hosts. It’s also very important that you respect their privacy (for example, do not enter their home unless invited and never point a camera at them).
That’s about what I’d expect. These families have regular everyday jobs and tasks to handle. However, I’d be surprised if a family who decides to run a business like this are complete introverts who hate having English guests around. Having this type of lodging on your property must mean that you know what to expect from having visitors and I’d expect you’ll get an appropriate level of hospitality.
As always the Amish are going to appreciate modesty in dress, language, etc, though I doubt they’d be rejecting someone as a paying guest for showing more skin than they would in the hot summer (they know English dress less modestly than they do, see it all the time in public, and are to some degree used to it).
How much does it cost?
Prices range from $95 to $125 per night as of June 2019 (with some additional fees and tax depending on the situation; also a single non-Lancaster County Amish property – in Franklin County, PA – is listed at $75).
I’d expect the prices reflect things like location and amenities available in the accommodation. I haven’t had to rent a room in the Lancaster area in many years, but those figures sound like they’d be pretty reasonable for the area, especially in-season.
What are the properties like?
Below I’ve listed all the current properties (as of June 2019). Each one can be found on the site with a more detailed description, explaining more about the hosts, their families, and the experience (do they give a farm tour, how much interaction you can expect, etc).
Here I’ve included 1) a link direct to the listing where you’ll also find more detailed information on the accommodation (# of beds, how many can fit in the guesthouse, what amenities are available, etc), 2) the couple’s name and a bit on their family (if that info is given), and 3) the nightly price (note this doesn’t include any taxes or additional fees, for example for additional guests):
- Dreamy Acres Farm Guesthouse – The Fisher Family; 10-acre Amish farm, includes a 20-minute farm tour – from $95/night base price
- Sunrise Farm Guesthouse – Levi & Family; Amish farm with walking trail into fields – from $95/night base price
- Paradise Amish Bed and Breakfast – John & Sarah and 5 children; not a farm but opportunities for interaction include a half-hour property tour with a family member – from $100/night base price
- Garden Thyme Amish Farm Suite – 2nd floor suite; part of the family lives on 1st floor – from $119/night base price
- Country Lane Amish Farm Stay – a working Amish farm in Leola area; help collect eggs if you like – from $100 night base price
- Sunset View Guesthouse – John & Catherine; one of the more fully-equipped properties with A/C and wifi – from $125/night base price
- Otterbein Acres Amish Bed & Breakfast – John & Lena; stay in the actual home of the hosts (note: this is the only property not located in Lancaster County, but in the Lancaster sister settlement in Franklin County, PA) – from $75/night base price
- Pleasant View Farm Guesthouse – David & Lena, retired farming couple; depending on length of stay, “you should have various opportunities to chat with” the hosts – from $95/night base price
- Dutch Homestead Amish Guesthouse – the Fisher Family; not a farm property but has animals including goats, ponies, chickens – from $105/night base price
- Killdeer Farm Guesthouse – Sylvan & Family; dairy farm less than a mile from the town of Intercourse; farm tour if you stay 2 nights or more – from $95/night base price
- Amishtown Farm Guesthouse – Daniel & Family; offers “interactive opportunities for children with the farm animals” – from $95/night base price
- Beacon Hollow Farm Amish Bed and Breakfast – Ben & Anna Riehl and Family; working dairy farm in the family for 6 generations – from $95 night/base price
How can you book a stay on an Amish farm?
That can be done online at amishfarmstay.com via the reservations page. The site has two sister sites, amishbnb.com and lancasterfarmbnb.com, with additional Amish properties and Mennonite-owned farm BnBs (this reservations page has an expanded offering including Mennonite farms and additional Amish properties).
To me this seems like a neat way to experience something of Amish culture (to varying degrees depending on the property or hosts). If you don’t have friends or connections within the Amish, or are coming to visit for just a short time so don’t have an opportunity to make them, this could be a very attractive way to spend your stay in a more “fully-Amish” setting.