In my life, I can say I’ve definitely done a lot of things I never thought I’d do. Including things I never thought about doing in the first place.
This last weekend definitely landed in the, “never thought about doing” category.
I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Amish Country in Tennessee. Perhaps that was just me being oblivious, but I just didn’t even have any concept of it. So when a friend said she wanted to stop in Amish Country on our way back from a girls night out in Birmingham, AL, I was very, “Uhm. Okay.” I wasn’t against it. I just had no idea what to expect!
So upon re-entering Tennessee after an amazing Friday night, we exited I-65 and headed to Ethridge, TN. We were off on an adventure. Especially considering how we realized NONE of us had ever done this before.
We stopped first at the Amish Welcome Center.
There, we picked up a few things, including a map of where to go buy things we wanted. Now this is when everything got… different.
Basically, you get this map and follow it to houses that are selling wares. Outside of the houses are signs that show what they sell, and you just drive up and buy direct from the families.
Our goal was to find butter, and that mission sent us to probably six houses. All of them said the next house would have butter. We started to feel like we were playing some sort of scavenger hunt.
But we were struck by so many observations of the Amish. They definitely live a simpler life. Homes built simply. In some cases, the houses would probably be considered shacks. No air conditioning. And just like you see in the movies (and I can’t believe I said that) kids running around barefooted. Women in long dresses. It just felt like we went back around 200 years to the early 1800s.
And yet within it, we marveled at the efficiency of their simple machinery. We actually sat and watched a group of Amish men running a sawmill made of a series of pulleys. Large tree trunks turning into perfect planks of wood. Another had a bull in a “trailer” being pulled by horse.
I’ll be honest. I sometimes long for simpler days. Some times I think our technology has lead to a lot of unhappiness. There is seriously something to be said for having to work a little harder for things, and maybe NOT knowing the instant something happens in other parts of the world.
It felt very strange to just drive up to a persons house, get out, and buy something. Its a totally different world. We were stepping into someones personal space, and we admittedly felt very uncomfortable.
But sometimes its good to get outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes its good to open your eyes to another way of life. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we’ve come from the days when we were ALL traveling by horse and cart, relying on the sun for light and the wind for our air conditioning.
For anyone curious, we did finally find our butter. I actually made my breakfast today using it, and it was delicious.
Will I be going back? Maybe if we happen to find ourselves in that area again. But I don’t think I’ll go back specifically just to go. It was a strange experience at the time, but looking back, its one I am glad I had.