One tank destination: Going 'Amish'

By Anna Yee

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 24, 2013 at 9:35 AM CDT

ARTHUR, Ill. -- This may look like your typical country home but inside, it's even more simple.

Edna Mae Schrock lives with no electricity, no internet and basically no modern technology.

That's why filming her face is off limits.

It's all part of the Amish religion. Although basic, the lifestyle can be busy.

Edna Mae has 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren, a typical-size Amish family that adds up to a lot of cooking and cleaning.

All the appliances run on propane gas or batteries.

"A lot of people would think it would be really hard but see we're used to it, and with a generator, you can do almost anything," said Schrock.

She said the strict Amish culture portrayed on TV can be misleading.
Although religion is a big part of the traditionalist Christian Church, some members are laid back.

Schrock's whole family is not Amish. When asked if that bothered her she said,"Probably not that much. You'd want your children probably to be Amish, but as long as they go to church somewhere, that's a big blessing too."

Despite any stigmas, countless tourists come from around the world to get a glimpse of the old-fashioned.

"Visitors that come, they expect maybe like a Williamsburg, Virginia experience, where there's re-enactors and everything. No. This is real life here," said Kent Stock, a volunteer at the Arthur Welcome Center and President of the Arthur Historical Society.

"Grab a map at the welcome center," said Stock. "Take a drive, and when you're out there, ask questions and enjoy the day. It will be a unique experience and one well worth the drive."

One of the biggest attractions is Yoder's Kitchen.

The restaurant owner said customers drive hours out of the way, multiple times a week to get a taste of Amish food.

"People just like to travel to this area, and they love our food," said Anna Herschberger, owner of Yoder's Kitchen. "You know, mashed potatoes are made from scratch. We have roasted chicken... I mean everything is homemade here, made from scratch."

Photographer Larry Foulk and I liked it too.

I got the barbecue turkey on handmade bread, and Larry sampled the buffet, topping it off with famous Amish pie.

"It's not Thursday, but you gotta eat!" said Larry out of satisfaction.

Joe Bennett doesn't know what he's missing.

Take a walk down Vine Street and you'll get the full downtown shopping and business experience.

Arthur is truly a small town. There aren't even any stoplights and it isn't uncommon to see people riding their horse and buggies year round.

Edna Mae said if the Amish need to travel long-distance, they have to hire someone to drive a car.

The Welcome Center is a good place to start when you get to Illinois' Amish Country.

"A lot of people think we are so different," said Schrock. "I used to do home tours, and most people would leave here saying, 'Oh, you're not as different as I thought. You just live a little different. You're just people like we are.'"

Home tours are available. Buggies are optional.

For more information, see below or click on the links above.

Arthur Welcome Center
106 E Progress St.
Arthur, IL 61911-1301
Fax - 217-543-2004
Toll Free: 1-800-72-AMISH (2-6474)

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