Commuting to work the Amish way on Old Philadelphia Pike. (Hanbit Kwon)

Nestled in the heart of Lancaster County is the region colloquially known as Amish country, where residents’ lives and work are steeped in deep-rooted traditions and a simple lifestyle that feels both timeless and welcoming.

Appropriately, it’s all possible to visit without using a car. 

These photos document a 48-hour journey from Philadelphia to Amish Country, capturing the adventure of enjoying a local inn, trips on a buggy ride through farms, a corn maze shaped like a hot air balloon, local markets, and lots of handmade goodies.  

A quick note: Although the Amish culture preaches against posing for photographs, most do not mind if visitors to capture them candidly or anonymously, especially in tourist areas as seen here. 

The Amtrak train to Lancaster takes just 55 minutes from Philly’s 30th Street Station, landing you in Lancaster city. There’s plenty of opportunity to shop and dine before a quick 20-minute rideshare to Amish country. 

Centrally-located Bird-in-Hand, Pa., is home to around 400 residents, and has almost no stop lights (also, no pedestrian crosswalks). The quaint village is situated on Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340). It’s just west of Intercourse, Pa., with Paradise, Pa., accessible to the south. 

Accommodations at the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn and Suites speak to the rich history of this locale. Legend has it that the village and the inn got their name in 1734 after two men surveying the local highway found a crude log inn near a Conestoga wagon stop and decided “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” since they needed a place to stay for the night. 

Built by William McNabb, the inn became known as “The Bird-in-Hand,” and the village had a name. Destroyed by a fire in 1852, the inn was promptly rebuilt and still exudes its original charm with unique details in each of its rooms. Owned by the Smucker family since 1911, Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites stands on the site of the original tavern.

When you visit, this tiny destination has plenty of dining, outdoor activities, rustic shopping, and lots to explore.

Step inside the unique world of “triple houses,” where generations live together, fostering close-knit family bonds. Meet Jake, a former Amish guide, and his trusty steed, Duke, as they effortlessly navigate the haptic Old Philadelphia Pike. Don’t miss indulging in the delectable offerings of the Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Cafe, from “kiddie” sized peach ice cream scoops to hefty, shareable “Long John” donuts, and gluten-free options, too. And discover the dedication of Amish farmers as they cultivate soy and corn on their land, sustaining their self-sufficient lifestyle.

Scroll to view photos that showcase this unique section of Pennsylvania.

The Bird-in-Hand Village Inn and Suites stands on the site of the original 1734 Inn. Though the original structure was destroyed by a fire in 1852, the structure was rebuilt that same year — and still boasts the original charm. (Hanbit Kwon)
Guests at the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn and Suites may be greeted by a friendly stray. (Hanbit Kwon)
Horses stand ready in a shaded canopy at Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides. (Hanbit Kwon)
A carriage passes by during a 2-mile “Cookie Tour” from Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides. The tour stops at an Amish farm where visitors can purchase homemade pretzels, whoopie pies, lemonade, and glass-bottled root beer. (Hanbit Kwon)
Jake, who’s been handling horses since he was 6 years old, is a former member of the Amish with personal insight into the communities. Swiftly navigating the surprisingly-busy Old Philadelphia Pike, his command of the horse (Duke) is marvelous. (Hanbit Kwon)
Soy and corn are often grown by Amish farmers. While a 2-acre plot of land can easily accommodate a house and several horses, around 100 acres are needed for a viable commercial farm. (Hanbit Kwon)
Goats are ready for their 25 cents of feed from a nearby vending machine. (Hanbit Kwon)
One llama at the Bird-in-Hand Petting Zoo (located behind the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn) prefers full sun, while the other llama stays in the shade. (Hanbit Kwon)
It’s not uncommon for families from both sides of Amish married couples to live together under the same roof in a large structure called a “triple house.” Grandchildren are able to experience both sets of grandparents. (Hanbit Kwon)
Amish push scooters parked outside a stable. (Hanbit Kwon)
A well-loved and still operational stable on Old Philadelphia Pike. (Hanbit Kwon)
A corn maze invites newcomers to get lost. (Hanbit Kwon)
A walk inside the thick walls of corn. (Hanbit Kwon)
A young Amish couple enjoy the sun in an open-top carriage. (Hanbit Kwon)
An Amish family walks and wheels eastward on Old Philadelphia Pike. (Hanbit Kwon)
An Amish shopkeeper hauls seasonal goods up a hill just in time to open the store. (Hanbit Kwon)
In the former Old Village Hardware Store, Creative Rustic Furniture on Old Philadelphia Pike maintains the location’s original fixtures, suggesting that past visitors filled up their tanks while shopping for home goods. (Hanbit Kwon)
Creative Rustic Furniture offers one-of-a-kind chairs and dining sets as well as other handmade wooden goods. (Hanbit Kwon)
A generous “kiddie”-sized peach ice cream, enjoyed atop the second floor balcony seating, at the Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Cafe. (Hanbit Kwon)
A hefty and easily shareable $2 vanilla “Long John” donut at the Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Cafe. (Hanbit Kwon)
Amish push scooters parked outside the Farmer’s Market. These are a commonly used mode of transportation, considered simpler and more practical for travel on unpaved country roads. (Hanbit Kwon)
With no grocery store in town, the Bird-in-Hand Farmer’s Market plays an important role for locals. (Hanbit Kwon)
The Bird-in-Hand Farmer’s Market houses an eclectic array of 27 stalls of local vendors. (Hanbit Kwon)
Some Amish toys are made in the traditional “faceless” fashion. (Hanbit Kwon)
Candyland at the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market has traditional hard candy alongside more contemporary sweets. (Hanbit Kwon)
Modish, on Old Philadelphia Pike, hosts multi-level stalls of vintage, upcycled, and antique goods inside a deceptively small storefront that extends far back. (Hanbit Kwon)
The Artisan Village in Bird-in-Hand hosts 31 local artisans offering woodcraft, jewelry, leather goods, bath products, and more. (Hanbit Kwon)
Amish made woodworks and furniture in the Bird-in-Hand Artisan Village. (Hanbit Kwon)
A horse speeding by on the shoulder of Old Philadelphia Pike. (Hanbit Kwon)
Amish horse carriages have batteries onboard to power the headlights. The sound of horses’ hooves striking the pavement can be heard well into the dark night. (Hanbit Kwon)
The Log Cabin Quilt Shop features a maze of fabric, quilts, and sewing supplies to accommodate new quilters and experienced makers. (Hanbit Kwon)
A king-size quilt, stitched by hand, graces the exterior wall at the Log Cabin Quilt Shop in Bird-in-Hand.(Hanbit Kwon)
The Log Cabin Quilt Shop features a maze of fabric, quilts, and sewing supplies to accommodate new quilters and experienced makers. (Hanbit Kwon)
Fat Quarter quilting bundles ready for use at the Log Cabin Quilt Shop. (Hanbit Kwon)
A model Amish home was built in 1959 to depict and preserve the traditional life of the Amish to present day visitors. (Hanbit Kwon)
Waters Edge Mini Golf features two courses, lined with koi ponds and waterfalls, for $10 per adult. (Hanbit Kwon)
Water’s Edge Mini Golf stands alongside a human-made lake with a jogging path used by locals, and it features multiple water features of its own. (Hanbit Kwon)
Lancaster Central Market is on the walk to the Amtrak train station. Built in 1889, it’s a 20,000 square foot structure that houses over 60 local vendors. (Hanbit Kwon)
Lunch in downtown Lancaster in the bright and airy Farmer’s Southern Market food court is a good option before boarding the train home. (Hanbit Kwon)
The Lancaster, PA Amtrak station is housed in a gorgeous 1859 marble structure with cast iron columns that was renovated and updated in 2009. (Hanbit Kwon)