harmony, minnesota

For our babymoon we spent the day and night in Lanesboro, ate another awesome caramel roll in the morning, and then drove twenty minutes to Harmony, Minnesota. There are tours you can take of Amish farms, as well as tours of Niagara Cave. We just had half a day and chose the self-guided Amish tour, a CD you play in your car that tells you how to get to various Amish farms where they sell their goods to you, the tourist.

In the end, the CD wouldn't have been necessary. It was more like a talking GPS than a super informative self-guided tour. But I don't know how you get a map without having the CD... Also the CD tour brought us to many smaller farms, where we got to talk to one of the parents, whereas the tour buses that go tend to visit the larger scale farms with larger storefronts. I can see pros and cons to each...

I would recommend bringing cash. We didn't have much on us, but purchased something little at each place (jams, cookies, granola bars...) They sell much larger items too: aprons, baskets, bird houses, wooden furniture and my treasure from the day: a basket that holds all the plates, napkins, utensils and condiments for toting out to the picnic table. I love it so, so much.

On the whole it felt like these Amish families were living well below the poverty line. I could be wrong, but based on the appearance of buildings, peeling paint and weathered shingles, it did look a bit exhausting. You don't take any pictures on these tours either. They believe that photos are a graven image. (Unfortunately, the day before while at the cattle auction there were two Amish men sitting across from us. I was taking pictures of the cows and trying to get a shot of the whole arena when one of them caught my eye and shot me a fierce look. The other had his hat tilted down. The bummer was that I hadn't even seen they were there...we had just arrived. But the rest of the time I shot my pictures towards the other end of the arena and also deleted all of those first pictures.)

It was a drizzly morning, and visiting these farms was fascinating. I did get the sense that part of their actual income comes from people like us stopping by, purchasing in their shops. And the landscape along the drive was lovely. It's just such a pretty part of our state. 

In the end, I'm glad we went. And I'm excited to go back and visit the cave.

No comments: