Antique grey carriages harnessed to steeds that high-stepped down a country road, bearded men in long black coats and brimmed hats, women in flowing dresses with heads covered in bonnets, rosy-cheeked kids in equally archaic apparel trudging off to school, a farmer harvesting the bounty of his fields with a horse-drawn cart, animals grazing on the lawns of farmhouses and some snuggling under towering grain silos... No, we had not entered a theme park, nor had we gate crashed a Hollywood shoot. We were in the Amish village of Intercourse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, that has chosen to remain fiercely rooted in its past. As a result, a slice of 18th-century Europe, still alive and kicking, has been superimposed on a thoroughly modern USA.
Our admiration—perhaps tinged with envy—for the community grew as their simple and seemingly uncomplicated, yet wholesome lifestyle, unravelled across the rural landscape they call home. Strict interpretation of the Bible helped them keep the onslaught of modern comforts at bay. They would rather walk or ride in a horse-drawn buggy than step into a car. And the train would be just fine if they were to set off on a long-haul journey.
Their homes are devoid of modern appliances for the simple reason that they do not have electric connections. No TVs, radios, washing machines, dryers, phones, refrigerators… And they seem to manage very well without the standard fittings typical of most US homes. A guide with The Amish Experience ushered us through a model home. It