Tour Amish county for 20th anniversary of movie 'Witness'

When the movie Witness - the tale of a young Amish woman (Kelly McGillis) and her son who get caught up in the murder of an undercover narcotics agent - was released, there was some controversy over the portrayal of the Amish community.

Now, 20 years later, much of the contention seems to have passed, and for the first time, visitors can tour the privately owned Lancaster County, Pa., farm where much of the movie was filmed.

Now through Nov. 21, visitors can go on "The Official Witness Movie Experience Tour," which includes a private guide, a three-hour tour of the farm and admission to the new exhibit Witness to Witness at the Lancaster Cultural History Museum in historic downtown Lancaster, where other scenes were filmed.

The museum exhibit offers three floors of displays - the first focuses on the history of the Amish people, the second is dedicated to the film and includes props, call sheets, costumes, pictures and autographed posters, and the third is devoted to the intricate barn-raising scene from the movie.

The bus tour portion of "The Witness Experience" takes visitors through the countryside of Lancaster and to the farm used in the film. An Amish family with seven children lives in the main home and is allowing visitors to tour their property for the 20th anniversary of the film. The bus tour passes the building that served as police headquarters in the movie and the building in which a bathroom was created for the murder scene that is the centerpiece for the movie. The tour also includes Zimmerman's Store, where Harrison Ford's detective character stopped in town to place phone calls.

Tour tickets

Tours take place Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. To purchase tour tickets, visit the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau, 501 Greenfield Road in Lancaster, just off Route 30. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets can also be bought in advance by calling 800-PA-DUTCH or online at www.padutchcoun Tickets are $29.95 for adults and $19.95 for children. Guided tours are three hours long and buses depart from the visitors center.

Other places to visit

Central Market (23 N. Market St.): Visit this farmers' market, continuously operated since the 1730s. The market, housed in a beautiful 1889 Victorian building, has a mix of traditional local farm produce, meat stands and wonderful selections of Amish, German, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Slavic backgrounds.

Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum (37 Market St., 717-299-6440): This museum is home to the famous Esprit quilt collection, consisting of 82 Lancaster Amish quilts. There is also an exhibition, Gentle Companions, a tribute to Amish and Mennonite-made stuffed animals. The museum focuses on the diverse history and traditions of quilting, needlework, clothing and textile arts.

Intercourse Canning Co. (3612 E. Newport Road, 717-768-0156): Visit one of Lancaster County's working canneries. Sample pickles, jams, jellies, Amish peanut butter and more than 20 other items. Choose from one of 40 varieties of coffee to take home.

Where to eat

The General Sutter Inn - 1764 Restaurant (14 E. Main St., 717-626-2115): This historic country inn features cuisine such as oversized chops, Black Angus beef, seafood and poultry entrees, as well as a large selection of wines.

Carr's Restaurant (50 W. Grant St., 717-299-7090): A downtown favorite, Carr's offers fine dining in a casual atmosphere. Enjoy sandwiches, salads, pastas and assorted entrees with an Asian-fusion influence.

The Catacombs (102 N. Market St., 717-653-2056): The Catacombs Restaurant is several stories below the surface of the street in the aging cellars of Bube's Brewery. A guide in costume leads you on a tour of the brewery before dinner.

Kling House at Kitchen Kettle Village (Route 340, 717-768-2746): This is the childhood home of Kitchen Kettle founder Pat Burnley. Enjoy sandwiches and entrees with a taste of the famous jams and relishes of Kitchen Kettle Village. After lunch, explore the 39 shops of the village, featuring locally made quilts, ironwork, designer goods and foods. Visit the Jam 'n Relish Kitchen where Amish and Mennonite cooks prepare and can Kitchen Kettle's treats.

Getting there

It takes approximately 1 3/4 hours to get to Lancaster. Take Interstate 83 North to York, Pa. Interstate 83 Exit 9 to US-30 East. Take US-30 East to Greenfield Road Exit. Take a right on Greenfield Road at light. The visitors bureau is on the right (501 Greenfield Road).

More information

Visit www.padutchcountry .com and request your free visitor's guide or phone 800-PADUTCH.