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Tips from the Publisher: Quiet Weekends in Lancaster, PA

A short trip for East-coasters to Amish Country can make for an affordable, educational and eye-opening experience for the whole family.

There are windmills in Paradise--Paradise, Pennsylvania, of course, in the heart of the Amish Country, some 70 miles west of Philadelphia. I can't think of a more fun fall escape than a weekend here, where the Old Order Amish live with their Old World ways.

There are no wires leading to their farms because they shun electricity and have no TVs or indoor phones. Leave Route 30 with its blinking neon sights and you'll see Amish men in horse-drawn buggies, wearing homemade trousers that fasten with hooks and eyes, and women in ankle-length dresses that are fastened with pins. You can't see these people without being overwhelmed by the wholesome simplicity of their lives. Some five million of us come to gaze at them each year, and the contrast between old and new, plain and fancy, is shocking, funny, wonderful and obscene. Go and observe these contradictions, and bring your children while they are still young enough to ask, "What is happiness?" and "What does progress mean?"

Have you been to Amish country and have a story to share? Please tell us about it in our Pennsylvania Message Boards by clicking here.