Dining in an Amish Home, a great experience

I grew up in central Illinois just a few hours from the Arthur, Arcola area where many Amish families live, farm and work.  The countryside is beautiful and a drive in spring sometimes even offers a chance to see planting with Belgian horses and farm equipment. On the back roads you will often pass an Amish buggy and in downtown Arthur you can enjoy stopping at a few of the shops, restaurants or antique shops or even a trip to Beachy’s, the Amish bulk grocery store where we stock up on bread, jam and other delicacies homemade by the wonderful Amish cooks.

While I have done all of these things, dining in an Amish home was on my list, and yesterday with the assistance of Stella’s Amish Adventures, I did just that.  Mom and I and my friend Rose and three of her close friends, all set out to shop and dine.  We arrived at the Arthur Visitors Center and met Stella after a whirlwind shopping down Main Street.  Stella gave us directions the Elizabeth Schrock’s home where we were going for our Amish dinner.  We set out taking two cars carefully following Stella’s directions with our mouths watering already.

(Update I just learned that Stella’s Amish Adventures is no longer in business, but you can still get tours like this from ACM Tours.

Once we arrived at the Schrock home where trees were in bloom and her garden was ready to plant,  Elizabeth ushered us in to her lovely home and set us down at the long table she had set up.  We said a silent prayer, then started our meals with water and lemonade and a serving of homemade bread and butter and apple butter.  Soon we were digging our forks into the lettuce salad and homemade ranch dressing.  Elizabeth was very gracious and answered our questions about what she grew in her garden and how she prepares her food.

We had fresh corn, mashed potatoes and gravy.  Although I bypassed the gravy, I loaded up my potatoes with the amazing noodles and broth.  Elizabeth said that is how she also prefers to eat her potatoes too.  I never did figure out how she managed to get the potatoes so fluffy and smooth by just using a masher.  We had chicken and meatballs then to top it all off, a choice of strawberry or peanut butter pie.  I had no business trying the pie, but I did.  I chose the peanut butter and stuffed in every bite!  It was the lightest pie I think I have ever had.

The meal was excellent and we had fun conversing with Elizabeth who said she has served from four to sixty-five in her spacious open concept home.  This was my first time inside an Amish home and I enjoyed seeing the home is not much different from ours, just without the electronics and the floors were clear of carpet, and probably easier to clean!

After dinner, we headed to Beachy’s to load up on our own Amish goods to take back home.  I had strict instructions from the hubby to return with a loaf of whole wheat bread and smoked cheddar cheese.  I added a jar of tripleberry jam for good measure and today at home we had toast and jam for breakfast and used the bread for club sandwiches at lunch.  I don’t want a crumb to go to waste!

While part of the group did more shopping and headed to nearby Tuscola for outlet mall shopping, mom and I loaded up and headed home, full from our wonderful dinner talking about it most of the way.

If you would like to schedule a dinner or a tour of an Amish home or business, log onto Stella’s homepage at http://www.amishadventures.net/about.html.  She will also set up accommodations for you as well.  Stella had these wonderful tours that provided things to do that even those of us that travel in the area regularly were unaware of.  Take advantage of the chance to try something few are able to do.  A visit and meal at an Amish home is a cultural and educational experience with some very good food to boot!

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  1. Stella Gilmore

    So glad you had a good time at the meal yesterday! It was great meeting you and you friends!
    It is always an honor to share the Amish lifestyle and culture with visitors to our area, and hope you can come back some time to join in some of our other tours as well!
    Thank you for your kind words!
    Amish Adventures
    http://Www.Amish adventures.com

  2. Marisa Marti

    This sounds so incredible! My mom and I have been to Amish country many times and want to do something like this so badly! I have already sent her the link and information so hopefully one day we can do this!

    1. Cindy

      It was awesome. I have bee in this area a lot, but until I ran across information on these tours I didn’t know something like this was available. She also has other tours I would enjoy as well. I hope you get a chance to go, let me know afterwards what you thought!

  3. the Fashion Matters

    wow that looks like a bucket list moment!

    The Fashion Matters– Travel & Fashion Blog

  4. Debbra Dunning Brouillette

    Hi Cindy! As you know, my husband and I recently visited Amish country in northern Indiana (Shipshewana area) along with two international students. We hoped to have a meal in an Amish home but the one I found out about was full for the night we would be dining. We ate at a great Amish restaurant instead. I’m glad you were able to have this experience. I am wondering if Stella, the Amish lady who hosted you, is part of the “Beachy Amish” sub-group, instead of Old Order Amish, since she left a reply to your post. We learned about them at the Menno-Hof Mennonite and Amish Center in Shipshewana. I hadn’t heard of them before but apparently the Beachy Amish was a split off the Old Order Amish, so-called because the man who headed the split was named Beachy. Also, you mentioned Beachy’s as a store to buy Amish goods. Beachy Amish drive cars (dark-colored ones) and some congregations are allowed to have filtered Internet but not TVs and radio. Any idea if Stella is this type of Amish?

    1. Cindy

      Debbie, Stella is just the one that set up the tour. Beachy is the Amish store and I don’t know. That is a new group I have never heard of until now. Very interesting!

    2. Stella

      Hi, this is Stella! I am replying to your post to let you know that I am not Amish, however I represent the Amish with various tours of the Amish countryside. I run a tour business called Amish Adventures, which can be found at http://www.amishadventures.net. Please check out our website!
      And yes, there are Beachy Amish Mennonites here in the Arthur area and they have cars, phones in their homes and electricity. No TV or computers!

      1. Cindy

        Thanks for clarifying this, I had never heard of the Beachy Amish Mennonites before. It is always nice to learn new information!

      2. Debbra Dunning Brouillette

        Thanks so much, Stella, for your reply, and for clarifying things! I was educated on all the differences, as I mentioned, when we spent time at the Menno-Hof Amish and Mennonite Center, a wonderful interactive museum, in Shipshewana, Indiana! I’ll bet Beachy’s is so-named due to the Beachy Amish in the area. Do you know that to be true? It is interesting to learn of the differences in the various off-shoots from Anabaptists. I’ll take a look at your website!

        1. Stella Gilmore

          Beachy’s is a sir name of the person that they followed when they became this form of Mennonites. Just like Amish name came from Jacob Ammon, and the Mennonite name came from Menno Simmons.
          Menno-Hoff as you mentioned is a wonderful place to learn about the Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites. I have been there several times!