Amish Acres

Amish Acres® Historic Farm and Heritage Resort is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is America's most complete Amish heritage experience featuring historic interpretation, culinary and performing arts, lodging, and shopping.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Elderhostel Exercises

Amish Acres hosted the first of our 2007 Bicycling Elderhostel last week. Thirty eight riders arrived in couples and individually from sixteen states, many with their bicycles, Monday afternoon and gather for Thresher's Dinner that evening where I introduce them to the week ahead, attempting to orient them to the variety in cultures they will encounter in the next four days of riding nearly 120 miles throughout the countryside.

Visits beginning with lunch at an Amish home, a stop at an Amish cider mill, country store, and one room school within the first 27 miles was like a trip to Brigadoon. Even for educated retired teachers and engineers unfamiliar with the Anabaptist way of life, it is daunting to understand the seeming inconsistencies among the Amish as they relate to the outside world.

Following a performance of Plain and Fancy in The Round Barn Theatre that gave it all a loving and humorous spin, the two-wheelers set out on day three to the Salem Mennonite Church to hear a story very different from the Old Order Amish, but still miles away from mainstream American protestant denominations. The lunch stop was at Goshen College, a small liberal arts private school, that has international influence in the Mennonite community and seems to share many values with the majority of the riders. Still the concepts of adult baptism, non-resistance, a two world view, the lack of evangelic spirit, and the refusal to swear oaths are foreign to the majority of those seeking exercise and expanded horizons that make up Elderhostels.

They returned to a production of Nunsense, the irreverent musical celebration of five nuns who put on a show to raise money to bury dead sisters killed by the poisonous soup served by head cook Sister Julia, Child of God. The week fell short of baptism by immersion, but exceeded Amish Culture 101 by a near flood of educational exposure and experiences that exercised the body and the mind.

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