Sunrise in Monument Valley

Sunrise in Monument Valley

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dinner with Ben and Emma

When we went on the buggy ride we met Ben Kinsinger. He and his wife Emma live nearby  and run a small bed & breakfast. He was kind enough to invite us to his home to share a meal and give us a tour of his property and talk more to us about the Amish lifestyle. As Ben told us, he is a people persona and he loves meeting new people and talking to them. He told us to arrive at 5 and we would eat at 6. That gave him an hour to give us a nice tour of his home and property.

Since he is Amish we did not take any pictures, but spent a long time talking with him and Emma. When we arrived, Ben came out to meet us followed by Emma who was in the middle of preparing the meal. Ben's property was very nice. It was very neat and clean and it reflected his interest in animals and trains. His big red barn had a train whistle that he liked to blow to tell Misty, his horse in the lower pasture, that it was time for dinner. The little gray barn cat followed us all around wanting lots of attention. In the barn Ben had 2 buggies. One was more of a working buggy with 2 seats and a flat bed  area on the back for carrying things. Our version of a pickup truck. The other buggy was more of a Sunday buggy with room for 2 up front and the kids in the back. Buggies cost $8,000 to $10,000. Ben had set to a solar panel to charge the battery in his buggy that operates the turn signals. He said when young people are courting they use a open 2 seat buggy. We saw several couples in these buggies on the way home to the CG.

Around back Ben had his cages with the Bob-white birds that he kept. He said he loved the sounds they made and he had several of them to call back and forth. He also had Rhode Island Red roosters and chickens with fresh eggs. Everything was neat and clean which was unexpected of a farm environment. In the back of the barn was a garden with apple, pear, & peach trees and a small section of  a grape vineyard. On the other side of the house was his vegetable garden. The little gray kitty was still following us all around. At 6 he brought us into his home where Emma was finishing up dinner.

We were surprised to see very large open rooms. There was a living room area with large windows. This is where Emma did her sewing with her treadle machine near the window. Emma made all of their clothes including his.She does not quilt. There were lots of big windows, but also lanterns around for lighting. One lantern was on a pole mounted to a rolling table. In the bottom of the table was the propane tank for lighting the lantern. The inside was simple and plain with vinyl flooring. On the wall was a framed calligraphy of his family history with Ben and Emma's birthdates along the all of their children's.The only picture was of their horses Diamond and Misty.

The kitchen was large and Ben explained that the rooms had partitions between them that could be taken down when they had church service at their house (usually once a year) or for their daughters wedding in the house. The kitchen table was large and set for dinner. The meal was simple, but good. We had ham, mashed potatoes, pickled beets, corn, salad and homemade bread. For desert there  was rhubarb cobbler and peach cobbler.The meal started with a silent prayer. After dinner Kathy and I helped clear the table and rinsed and dried the dishes. while men talked

After dinner Ben showed us the map on the wall. One side was the USA and the other the world. There was a pin showing where people from all over world who had visited him were from. It was incredible how many pins were there. There were visitors from Australia, Europe, South Africa and other countries. Most from the USA were from the northeast. No one had visited him from Chattanooga, so we put in our pin for Chattanooga. Ben also told us he and Emma love to travel and usually travel by train for a month each year. They have been all over the US, where ever Amtrak goes. They buy a 30 day ticket for $800 and travel from east to west coast. They have also done the Canadian Railway from Vancouver to Nova Scotia 8 times. They do not drive or fly, but it is OK to ride in a taxi or stay in a hotel. Emma said she liked to stay in the hotels.  Ben showed us an article in the NY Times that interviewed him about his train travels. Ben said the didn't want his picture taken, but the reporter did it anyway. I was able to find the article.
If you click on the multimedia on Ben's picture, you can hear him talk about his travels.

Ben was never a framer and he made his living as a butcher at various groceries including Shady Maple. He also started saving money when he was young and was able to purchase 10 older properties which he fixed up, and rented out for income. He has sold all but the one next door which  is still rented out. He still makes extra money driving buddy rides and with his bed and breakfast.

We had a wonderful time and an experience we could never forget. How many people get to have dinner with an Amish family and talk to them about their lifestyle.


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  2. Thank you for all the details. My family and I will be staying with them this weekend.