Archive for the ‘The future of Lancaster?’ Category

                                   Could all this disappear forever?

The Amish in 2100 A.D.

Story by Brad Igou, Publisher of the Amish Country News.

One day while visiting an Amish friend, another visitor was asking various questions. At one point he said, “I wonder what the Amish will be like a hundred years from now?” My Amish friend replied, “That would be a good one for him to answer,” pointing to me with a smile. At that time, I didn’t have much to say, but simply commented, “I guess that would depend a lot on what our lifestyles are like by then.” But over the next few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about this question. So one day I decided to put my thoughts, in a humorous vein, down on paper. When I read it to my Amish friend, he thought it was amusing, and later shared it with various visitors and friends.
When April rolled around one year, we decided to print my imaginings as a two part article. Because we take our articles on the Amish seriously, we rarely print satiric or fictional stories about the Amish, but we made it clear we were having a little fun as we conjectured about our mutual lives a century from now. So, here it is at last, and I hope you will not only find something to chuckle about but perhaps a little to reflect upon as well. April Fools!

None of us can really know what the future will bring, but the Amish always seem “behind” the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the Amish of today are quite different from the Amish of 100, or even 50 years ago. Indeed, if an Amishman came back from the past, he might be shocked to see how his brethren live today. But it is their ability to adapt and change that has helped them to survive and flourish in the 21st century.

The Amish population in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has doubled in the last 20 years or so. One Amishman even projected that at this rate there would be 480,000 Amish in Lancaster County before the year 2100 A.D. and one million twenty years later! He asks, “Lancaster, are you ready for that?”
Let us suppose that the Amish have continued to live “behind the times.” Because of this, they continue to fascinate the people of the future and to attract tourists. So let’s have a little fun with all of this and imagine what our lives and those of the Amish might be like in 90 years or so….

Part 1: Amish Transportation

Now in the year 2100, cars are naturally something from a bygone era. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. opened its National Museum of the Automobile several years ago in 2078, and it continues to attract large numbers of visitors. The visions of all of those old 1990’s science fiction movies have partly come true. We are all riding around in flying cars known as “airmobiles.” Naturally, any group of people like the Amish who continue to make use of cars, those land machines on rubber tires, attracts many a curious visitor. So today we will take off in our airmobile and fly over to Lancaster’s Amish Country .

Zooming over the huge sprawling city that makes up most of the northeastern United States, we begin to see patches of (could it be?)… farmland! Beyond certain stretches of forests and mountains that have been preserved, there is little in the way of open space anymore in this region. And with food grown almost entirely indoors, farms are pretty much the stuff of history books.

The Amish had pretty much discontinued using the horse and buggy by 2060 A.D. Many experts were surprised they had held out that long. But the first booming airmobiles frightened the horses more than the cars had on the roads. In time, the car was hardly considered a worldly object, since they had pretty much begun to disappear. The Amish saw what was coming. As the “automobile” was being replaced by the “airmobile,” the Amish started buying up the last surviving car models. Needless to say, they got them dirt cheap. People were happy to find anyone who wanted to buy their cars. Indeed, the Amish have kept many of the last cars from the mid-21st century in superb condition.
Furthermore, seeing the demise of the car, the Amish started buying up the few remaining junkyards at bargain prices. (The Smithsonian people often come to them for advice and parts.) The car is as much a throwback now in the space age as the horse and buggy were in the automobile age.

While sociologists predicted that the Amish would never survive if they switched to cars, they were wrong. In fact, the change to the car probably saved them. Just as in the old days, when rowdy Amish boys had cars, some of the rebellious Amish youth had started to purchase secondhand airmobiles. There were many flying accidents. It was at this point that the church elders decided it was best to make the switch to cars and keep everyone “on the ground.” What with flying airmobiles owned by just about everyone around them, the Amish finally accepted cars much as their grandparents had viewed the horse and buggy… as a method to preserve a way of life “in the world, but not of it.”

After a visit to Lancaster County, many visitors go home saying that there are valuable lessons to be learned from these Amish, who live in the old, traditional style of people in the previous millennium. Some tourists even tell their astonished grandchildren that they remember growing up this way! Others wonder if perhaps something has been lost with all the speed, technology, and progress that are now a part of our lifestyle in the year 2100 A.D.

Part 2: Tourism and “Farming”

In the old days, tourists in cars stopped at roadside stands and Amish businesses to buy things. Since cars are a thing of the past in the year 2100 A.D., except in Amish communities, most tourists arrive in Amish Country by air, in the comfort of their airmobile. So nowadays the Amish have adapted to the space age by putting up large signs in the fields that can be read from the air. Landing pads were built so the airmobile tourists have a place to park when they visit.

When the flying “airmobiles” replaced “automobiles,” the Amish finally accepted cars as a way to keep everyone “on the ground.” Just as buggy rides were popular with tourists in the late 20th century, many visitors now go to the Amish areas to be taken on a car ride. Families are happy to pile into an old jalopy and have an Amishman take them on a brief driving tour. The tours are usually short because the pace is so slow that, after about 30 minutes, the novelty has worn off. The average space age kids are bored and unhappy on their brief fling with nostalgia.
And this all brings us to farming. It was milk and cows that largely changed things for the Amish in the 21st century. Having purchased almost all the farmland that went up for sale in Lancaster, the Amish ended up with a virtual “monopoly” on milk production. Synthetic milk just didn’t taste like the real thing. So, unlike the old days when it was difficult to make a living as a dairy farmer, Amish fortunes suddenly changed. The Amish became the world’s “experts” on cows and milk production.

The end of the horse and buggy also meant the end of horses for farmwork. When the growing of fruits and vegetables started moving into giant temperature controlled buildings, the Amish snatched up all forms of tractors. In the 1990’s, it was organic foods that were the expensive items at the supermarket. Now, it is “land-grown” or “outdoor-grown” foods that command the high prices. Buying these products “on the farm” saves the space age visitor much money, and most agree the taste is far superior to the indoor grown and synthetic foods.

Naturally, Amish restaurants are all the rage. It is quite a novelty to see foods prepared “from scratch” by human hands. The tastes are so unusual and highly prized that people come from all over the world to eat. Indeed, so much farmland was being taken up for landing pad parking areas that the Amish elders put a limit on the number of Amish restaurants that would be allowed in the community! You need to make reservations weeks, even months, in advance.

A popular attraction in Lancaster County is the Amish Country Farmhouse. Here visitors tour a typical Amish home of 2100 A.D. Electric lights and appliances arouse the most curiosity. The Amish community now generates its own electricity. The change to electricity actually came before the change to the car. Such quaint devices as electric lamps, stoves, refrigerators, irons, blenders, and old-fashioned word processors astound and fascinate tourists of all ages.

After a visit to Lancaster County, many visitors go home saying that there are valuable lessons to be learned from these Amish, who live in the old, traditional style of people in the previous millennium. Some tourists even tell their astonished grandchildren that they remember growing up this way! Others wonder if perhaps something has been lost with all the speed, technology, and progress that are now a part of our lifestyle in the year 2100 A.D.

Please pick-up a free copy of the Amish Country News when in the Lancaster county area. In it you will find stories and place of interest while visiting Lancasters Amish settlement, along with money savings coupons. available at most restaurants and shops.

Published with permission from  Amish Country News. Richard from Amish Stories.

OMG – Oh My Gourd! Attached is information about one of Amish Country’s

lesser know, but truly unique events. The PA Gourd Fest (June 23-25) will

forever change your perception of the decorative and artistic uses of the

many shapes and sizes of gourds. It is also one of the very few Lancaster

County events that is actually held on an Amish farm. And it is free, worth

the trip for the gourd-gious scenery alone.For more information on  Gourd fest  please visit this web site

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