Fly Over Amish Country in this 2-Minute Aerial Video

I share this video today not for its educational content but for its remarkable footage.

If you’re like me and craving some green in the waning weeks of winter, you’ll probably like this Smithsonian Channel clip shot in Lancaster County.

It’s basically a 2-minute cut-up of shots of Amish farmers and homes taken from above while floating over the scene.

You’ll see pumpkins being harvested, farmers working the fields, and Amish farmhouses. I could do without some of the narration (e.g., “200 years of inbreeding”) but the footage is spectacular.

I assume this was taken from one of the hot air balloons commonly seen hanging in the Lancaster skies during warmer months. I guess the other option would be by helicopter, but it seems that would disrupt the scenes being filmed (update: or, as a friend pointed out, maybe using a drone, though this video was released in 2012 when they weren’t as prevalent as today).

By the way, here’s one of those balloons at rest:

hot air balloon amish farm

And a view of one from below:


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    1. Alex Knisely

      Laundry by hand?

      Seems to me I see a lot of washing machines at mud sales. But this is the Smithsonian doing the narration, maybe I’ve mis-understood.

      1. Yes, wringer washers are the common way Amish people do their laundry. Even some of the plainest groups use some kind of machine.

        Like I mentioned above, the main attraction of this video is visual, rather than the educational content. I guess the “by hand” part could refer to hanging laundry by hand rather than using a dryer. But good catch on that.

        Here is one such, rather old, washer in Tennessee:

        And a newer and spiffier-looking one in Ohio:

        And also:

        1. Laundry day

          Ever heard of the laundry day blues? An Amish friend of ours who at one time had all 11 of their kids at home, commented of the chore of laundry day. It’s something that has to be done and that’s that. Same for us. But, for us we just throw a load of wash in and go run the streets! lol
          My parents were born in 1907 and 1918 and I heard plenty of stories about the good old days that weren’t always so good! My mom used to say, We lived like the Amish without electricity and running water, and made the best of it. You don’t miss something you don’t have.

          Most of our Amish friends have a wash house that they use instead of washing in the basement. Pump water and heat it somehow and fill the Maytag washer, fill the rinse tubs with cold water, pull the rope on the Honda lawn mower engine that has an exhaust hose on it that is vented outside, and wash away! More kids means more clothes lines! We don’t have any Amish friends here in Wisc that use that pulley system. It must be a PA thing.

          1. If I’m not mistaken I believe the pulley line originates in Lancaster. You certainly see it everywhere there.

            “You don’t miss something you don’t have.” True indeed.

    2. Walter Boomsma

      Lots of generalities... but definitely eye candy!

      I would definitely agree that the visuals are fantastic… but as is so often the case, too many generalities in the narration–a bit disappointing for a Smithsonian production. I see this more as an advertisement than an educational piece. It definitely succeeds in making me yearn for a visit!

      1. Well put, Walter! I am still trying to decide if it was shot from a hot air balloon as sometimes the movement seems rather fast…though that could have to do with camera work and I’ve never ridden a hot air balloon so don’t have a feel for it.

    3. Flyover

      I think you are right about the balloon. A drone would have been more erratic. What makes me still question the balloon is how close it was to power lines. Sent shivers up my spine.

      Great views, too. I wonder when it was made. Not having been to Lancaster, I didn’t realize just how large some of the homesteads are.

    4. Dan Hancock

      I presume a drone with an HD camera was used for the filming.

      1. jerry


        It looks like a drone to me as well.

        1. I’m no expert but I would lean that way too now looking at the movement and the apparent height.

    5. I agree about the dialogue:”inbreeding” and “austere way of life” come across as condescending. We can all learn from their sense of community and love of family. All ages and levels of ability are embraced. That is powerful in our world that glorifies autonomy.

      1. Yes the inbreeding comment struck me, to pop up in the middle of 2-minute general video on the Amish, it’s a loaded term that makes people think of pretty yucky things. I think endogamy is the more scientific and more appropriate term. Amish do have genetic issues due to factors like the relatively closed population though.

    6. JoAnn Stefurak

      Fly Over Amish Country in this 2-Minute Aerial Video

      I’ve been up in a hot air balloon, here in Northern Ohio. And the pictures & videos that I took came out amazing. (used a camera phone for most of my pictures and videos) Had a wonderful afternoon in flight (gliding across the lake and landscapes).

    7. Jack Mitchell

      Great views

      It’s interesting to see the amazing landscape around the Amish farmlands from above. I wonder what the Amish make of hot-air balloons – I would thing that a drone would be more invasive and annoying.

    8. Dan Hancock

      It has to be a drone. If it was a hot air balloon someone would be waving and they would wave back. Plus it appears to be specifically flown in certain directions, something not possible with a balloon.

    9. Walter Boomsma

      I vote balloon!

      For those speculating regarding the media… this was first produced in 2012, before drones were popularized.

    10. Robin Miller

      Beautiful Lancaster County

      A beautiful video by Smithsonian. Lancaster County, PA is our favorite places to visit. I’ve been going since I was a child. We have 3 trips planned so far this year including spending our 40th wedding anniversary at our favorite B&B, a camping trip with our RV and a girls trip with my daughter and granddaughter. However, one “pet peeve” … just wishing these narrators would pronounce it correctly … it’s “Lang-kiss-tur” 🙂

    11. Janis


      It doesn’t matter how it was shot.Thank you for posting it.

    12. MA in MO

      Baling via horses.

      I love the Vemeer Round Baler being pulled by the team of horses. Awesome. The hay rake was good, but the baler just takes the cake.

    13. Jeff Johnson

      I love the video. I vote drone. Even though we have just heard of them recently, the film industry has had them for a while. Also on the clothes line pulley system, me an my wife just yesterday visited the Amish community in Southern Indiana, Loogootee, Washington and that area. I noticed the pulley system . On some farms they were rigged high to the tops of barns. I wondered if it was to keep animals away or just to catch more wind. Drove by a school house and noticed 2 small children with there face to the wall…lol. Wondered if they were being disciplined. Something else I noticed was lots of solar panels.????