pennsylvanias-original-amishPA’s Original Amish Country

As you travel on old US Route 22 through Berks/Reading, you’ll come upon a roadside marker with a unique story. The Northkill Amish community was the first Amish settlement in America. Few know that in 1740 the first Amish settled, not in Lancaster, but in Berks County. The Northkill settlement was short-lived however, as the violence of the French and Indian War initiated the group’s relocation to Lancaster and other parts of Pennsylvania. The original formation of the Amish community began in Europe as a schism among the Swiss Mennonites, under the leadership of Jacob Ammonn, who stressed the importance of wearing plain clothes, and opposed the trimming of beards. The Amish spread out across North America, including New York, the Midwest, as well as Ontario, Canada.

Today, there is no established Amish community in Berks County. You will see Old Order Mennonites traveling our roads in horse drawn buggies. However, their buggies are black, while Amish buggies traditionally have gray tops. The Mennonites also wear patterned clothes, and the men do not wear beards.

Trip Summary - 5 Days/4 Nights

Day One

  • Amish County Driving Tour
  • Reading Public Museum*

Day Two

  • Berks County Heritage Center*
  • Nicholas Stoltzfus House*

Day Three

  • Berks Amish Heritage Tours*
    • The Conestoga Valley Settlement
    • The Morgantown Settlement
    • The Masthof Book Store
    • The Reading Amish-Mennonite Settlement
    • The Maiden Creek Settlement
    • The Tulpehocken Settlement
    • The Irish Creek Settlement
    • Conrad Weiser Homestead*

Day Four

  • Landis Valley Museum*
  • Central Market in Lancaster
  • Strasburg Scooters Guided Covered Bridge Tour*

Day Five

  • Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center*
  • Wooden Bridge Drygoods
  • Kutztown Area Historical Society

OPTIONAL INCLUSION:

  • Renninger’s Antique Center and Farmer’s Flea Market
<iframe width="1100" height="800" src="http://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=734a1377013b46e6b211ba79b14f2d0b&embed" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>