Strangers in an Amish Land

By August 4, 2010 culture, faith No Comments

sun-dappled rock window

Number 10 on my Things to Do Before Summer Ends list was to visit Rockome Gardens, in the midst of Illinois Amish country. I’ve wanted to visit here for many years, but I tend to be a tad bit forgetful about such excursions unless I have them on a list.

Yesterday was the big day—my sister and I took her munchkins to Rockome for a day trip. This not only crossed one of my hoped-for activities off the list, but it also fed my ongoing fascination with the Amish life. (See here. Or here. Or here.)

So first, you may be wondering: What is Rockome Gardens?

antique desks

Well, it’s a century-old Amish farm turned park, which includes a one-room schoolhouse, the Amish Interpretive Center, and a few shops. All around the grounds are stone fences and archways that lead you through lush gardenscapes.

The highlight for me was the educational museum, called the Amish Interpretive Center. Rich with history and full of antiques, the center provided insight into the hows and whys of the Amish life—my brain was in overdrive, making mental notes in comparing Amish life to modern life. Those I’ll save for another post, so come on back later this week for a second installment.

The kids seemed to enjoy the variety of things to climb on, look in, and run around. They made us heart-happy. When we take trips like this, I like to ask each of them what was something new that they learned. The Jedi learned that Amish men grow beards (when they get married); he thought that was a strange identifier of marital status. Mr. Happy Feet learned that they wear different clothing (so true). Miss HM learned about horses and buggies (we got to take a ride around the grounds).

the curious Jedi

Mr. Happy Feet: still happy

a giggly Miss HM

The final stop on our visit was to the food shop, a store filled with all sorts of Amish baked goods, cheese (made on site), and candy. I walked out with some roll butter and a box of cinnamon rolls (a favorite of my hubby’s). I haven’t a clue what I’ll do with the butter—some baking project, I’m sure. The cinnamon rolls, however, aren’t likely to last beyond this evening—they rival the gooey ones we loved at Ann Sather.

Despite the heat, we traipsed about for more than four hours—it truly was a great day!

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