6/13/09

Eco-friendly Intercourse

HORSEPOWER

Don't let the name fool you. Intercourse is a village in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania. Before we got here, I wasn't even aware there's a place with such an interesting name. But this, along with other villages like Bird-In-Hand, Paradise and Strasburg, is home to the Amish people in what's collectively known as the Amish Country - the very reason of our visit.

Also called "plain people", the Amish way of living is based on their Anabaptist religion whose origins trace back during the Protestant Reformation in Europe in early 16th century. Like the Huguenots in New Paltz (New York), they came to America to seek freedom from religious persecution. The practices of the Amish is what makes them unique: They don't use electricity, they don't drive cars, and they dress conservatively. With such a very eco-friendly lifestyle, the Amish might as well be the role model of the green revolution.

For an urbanite, this unique 19th century lifestyle may seem out of place in high-tech United States. I doubt if Paris Hilton and Britney Spears can survive living austerely even for a day here. We took a buggy ride - a large horse-drawn carriage which is a common form of transport - and drove into the backroads that lead to Amish farms set amidst rolling hills. The view is quite expansive and very serene.

Farming is the way of life for these people. They plant corn, alfalfa and tobacco and raise livestock. In one farm we passed by, I see young members of the family helping out their parents with the chores, a common practice among them. Amish families are usually large, with 7-9 children. The kids finish their education at 8th grade, learning English and the basics in what is called one-room schools. Men grow beard when they get married and women neatly tuck their long hair into a bun. Their dresses are very plain, again reflecting their simplicity.

We passed by more Amish homes and knew by now the tell-tale signs that make them unique: the clothesline, the propane gas tanks and the absence of satellite dishes, airconditioners and cars in the driveway. This introduction into a unique rural lifestyle is for me another way of appreciating what simple life means, no matter if the name of this Amish village sounds interesting to the netherworld part of our brains.

15 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos, such beautiful scenery. That simple kind of life sounds more and more attractive.

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  2. It's interesting to see the cloth line in this country. :) You would think that everyone has washer and dryer already. What a great set of pictures.

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  3. Great shots. Those kids look really cute in their outfits. The simplicity of their lives makes the place more appealing.

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  4. Eventhough, I am typically a lurker at your blog. I just want to let you know that I really love your travel stories.

    I just give you the One Lovely Blog Award.

    http://www.theqfamilyadventures.com/2009/06/in-which-im-honored/

    Thanks for sharing all the stories and inspire us all to travel.

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  5. Hi Tara,
    Simple living looks attractive but apparently not for everyone.

    Hi Pasyalera,
    The Amish kids are really cool in their 'period' clothing. Thanks!

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks very much for the appreciation - I'm surprised!
    Yes, the clothesline is something we rarely see, especially in big cities.

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  6. the amish community actually reminds me so much of the movie the village.

    one of the places id love to see when i go to the US.

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  7. I missed the buggy ride when I visited - sayang!

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  8. love these portraits. like photojournalist.. have you ever seen the documentary Devil's Playground? It's pretty interesting.

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  9. One of the places I wanted to visit in these united states.

    It's really amazing how they continue to live austerely. I may not be able to survive for long. I love the internet too much :)

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  10. Hi Dong,
    The 1985 movie "Witness" that starred Harrison Ford was also shot in this area.

    Hi BertN,
    The buggy ride was actually the best part - we reached remote areas that are off-limits to tour buses.

    Hi Floreta,
    Good that you asked it, I'm actually putting it on my Netflix queue. Thanks.

    Hi PhotoCache,
    LOL! We're on the same boat here. We couldn't stay away from our computers for so long.

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  11. Looks like a fun trip. The Amish people are such a unique entity and a source national pride!

    By the way, on June 21, the Tel Aviv Beach comes to Manhattan Central Park. See details here. I think it's going to be fun. I wish I was in NYC!

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  12. Hi Jen,
    Thanks for the tip! I'll try to see it but I wish for a gorgeous weekend weather - it's been mostly rainy these past days in NY.

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  13. Hey Nomad! I find it ironic that the Amish would live in a place called Intercourse hehe. It looks like a beautiful and serene place. I love your shots. I'm surprised that the Amish are actually smiling while you take their pictures though. I always thought they believed it vain to pose for a picture.... I guess even the Amish are getting with the times so to speak.

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  14. Hi Angelo,
    You're right, the Amish don't pose for photos as a rule but I managed to take snapshots of them while on a buggy ride.

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  15. I have always wondered about Amish folks and I find them interesting. Your lovely photos translated the serenity of the place. :-)

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