For the 50+ Traveler

When you think of rural Pennsylvania, you probably think of horse-drawn buggies with orange triangles on the backs. Indeed, the beautiful farmlands of Lancaster County are a jewel in the United States’s crown, but the Amish markets where you can buy handicrafts, quilts, fresh produce, and lovingly made furniture are just as fabulous.

Here are some of the best Amish markets to visit during your time in peaceful Lancaster County.

1. Bird-In-Hand Bake Shop

If you’re taking little ones along for the ride on your Amish markets shopping spree, you’ll want to stop at the Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop about halfway through the day, when boredom starts to set in.

While you’re shopping for baked goods and handicrafts, the outdoor play area and petting zoo will keep the younger members of your party entertained. Of course, the mouthwatering pastries and bread will appeal to them, too.

The famous shoofly pies of Amish country are only some of the award-winning delicacies you’ll find at this charming bakery in the middle of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. You’ll also find whoopie pies, cinnamon buns, bread, potato rolls, cookies, and much more at the delicious-smelling shop.

2. Misty Creek Goat Dairy

For the cheese lovers in the crowd, the Misty Creek Goat Dairy in Leola, Pennsylvania, is an absolute must. The company has a solid reputation as an Amish farmstead, but it’s most appreciated for its incredible artisanal cheeses. Each of them is crafted on the property, made from raw milk, and aged for a minimum of 60 days up to a full year.

You’ll find plain, smoked, and garlic goat Cheddar varieties as well as specialties like Wine-n-Goat, and you’ll delight in the Habanero Hot Monterey Jack, Tomme De Conestoga, Midnight Dream, Mist O’ Bleu, Misty Lovely, and Kidchego cheeses. The company also offers blended cheeses (with goat’s milk and cow’s milk) and cow’s-milk-only cheeses. And if you love drinking goat’s milk, you won’t be disappointed: You can grab a bottle of the company’s certified raw goat’s milk in the shop.

You’ll also find a selection of handcrafted goat’s milk soaps in bar and liquid form to bring home to loved ones. Be sure to pick up a few bars, since -- let’s be honest -- that cheese isn’t going to make it past the Leola border.

3. Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction

Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction is one of the absolute best places to visit in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, thanks to the wide variety of produce, handicrafts, quilts, antiques, and other goods available there. The prices differ from vendor to vendor, of course, but most folks say that they find great deals on every kind of merchandise the large market has to offer. And since this is where the locals shop, you can actually believe that.

The market is a flea market, farmers market, and Amish market all in one. You’ll find fresh produce right off the local farms, handicrafts made from multigenerational patterns, quilts handmade on Amish farms, and delectable baked goods only a country cook could have prepared.

Shoppers recommend getting there early to beat the crowds, especially if you’re planning to bring home some of the delicious baked goods or crisp produce.

4. Peaceful Valley Furniture

If you’re looking for something more than a small souvenir to bring home from your visit to Amish country, you’ll love the Peaceful Valley Furniture stores. The company offers quality wooden furniture handmade locally by Amish craftsmen.

Each piece in the inventory is a little different from the others, since everything is always handmade and never machine-tooled. You’ll notice differences in grain and stain on the nightstands, desks, benches, bed frames, tables, and bookcases. But you’ll also see distinct features and signatures that only handmade furniture can offer.

The store loves working with Amish carpenters, so you’ll notice that the atmosphere here is different from that of other furniture stores. In fact, visiting one of these stores is almost more like visiting an artisan’s studio -- there’s just a whole lot more inventory.

You’ll find Peaceful Valley Furniture in three locations in Lancaster County for your shopping convenience.

5. Family Farm Quilts & Handcrafts

Whether you’re crawling into bed for slumber or curling up on the couch for movie night, there’s nothing quite like snuggling up under a handmade quilt. And the Family Farm Quilts & Handcrafts store offers a wide selection of locally made Amish quilts, some of the most beautiful in the area.

You can sift through the many quilt patterns that the store carries, or you can shop for other gifts and home goods. You’ll find potholders, holiday decor, baskets, doll clothes, cookbooks, handmade brooms, soaps, candleholders, placemats, and more. Practically everything here is authentic, homemade, and beautiful.

You’ll want to pay special attention to the shop’s line of handmade soaps, Garden Path Soap, considered by many to be the best Amish-made soap in the area. Some of the enticing scents include black raspberry and vanilla, aloe comfrey, patchouli, lavender shea, and sweet orange. The homemade lye soaps are good for everything from relaxing to keeping insects away to shaving.

This Amish market is located in the heart of Lancaster County in East Earl, Pennsylvania. The shop itself is in the lower level of the Shady Maple Smorgasbord.

6. The Quilt Shop At Miller’s

If you love quilts, you will absolutely adore The Quilt Shop at Miller’s. This Amish market focuses on providing customers with the finest quilts that Lancaster County and the Amish and Mennonite communities of the area have to offer.

You can choose from literally thousands of quilts here -- all handmade -- as well as quilted pillows, wall hangings, and other gifts made locally by artisans. The store features 3,500 square feet of meticulously kept well-lit showroom to help you find the quilt of your dreams.

The staff members at this Ronks, Pennsylvania, shop are super helpful and incredibly friendly, as well as knowledgeable about the craft of quilting.

If you’re short on time and need to find your quilt pattern ahead of time, the company’s website is extremely detailed and shows the various patterns and colors available at the moment.

7. The Old Candle Barn

If you’re looking for handicrafts -- specifically hand-dipped candles and home decor items -- you won’t want to leave The Old Candle Barn in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, off your Lancaster County itinerary.

Visit the candle factory on the premises for live candle-dipping demonstrations, and be sure to stop by the gift shop. You’ll find an assortment of candles made on-site, as well as potpourri, home decor items, braided rugs, window lights, homespun dry goods, linens, tinware, pottery, and more.

During the Christmas season, you’ll find holiday decor and other seasonal items that would make fantastic Christmas gifts or decorations for your own home. The prices are reasonable, and all the goods live up to the Amish reputation for quality and longevity.

8. The Li’l Country Store And Miniature Horse Farm

If you love the horses you see around Lancaster, be sure to visit The Li’l Country Store and Miniature Horse Farm in Ronks, where the whole family will enjoy the company of the 10 little horses that live in stalls on the property.

The miniature horses can be taken out for saddle rides or cart rides, and there are horse workshops that visitors can participate in. You might even meet the driving horses that pull the family buggy. All of the horses are friendly and love attention.

After spending some time with the horses, shop for dry goods, baked goods, homemade root beer, canned goods, birdhouses, aprons, potholders, quilted pillows, baskets, and toys at the country store.

Tips For Shopping At Amish Markets

There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you shop at Amish markets and roadside stands in Lancaster County.

Because of the strong religious faith of the community, you’ll find that the shops are closed on Sundays and Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter. You’ll probably see No Sunday Sales signs in the windows of stores run by Amish staff.

You’ll probably want to plan on shopping with cash. Some of the larger stores -- or non-Amish-owned markets -- may accept credit cards or checks, but most will not.

You’ll also find that many of the businesses do not have telephone numbers, since telephones are not used by most -- if not all -- of the Amish people in Lancaster. Expect little contact information apart from a physical mailing address for most of these businesses, since the Amish also don’t use the Internet and electricity.