The Full Suburban: Staying in Haunted Amish and Airbnbs

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, so I’ve seen my fair share of Airbnbs. For those of you unfamiliar with what an Airbnb is, I’ll explain: People you hope aren’t serial killers will open up their homes or rental properties to you during your trip.

And then, for often much less than the cost of a hotel room, you can have access to things like multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, a washer/dryer, and leftover condiments in the fridge. The Airbnb concept is heaven for a large family like mine, and it’s a great alternative to expensive hotel rooms that usually don’t have enough space for us anyway.

When my family returned to the East last month for spring break, I had three main criteria for the Airbnbs we stayed in: they should be cheaper than a hotel; they must have excellent reviews; and they must be short at least one bed for our family size (saves money and builds character!).

The first Airbnb on our trip was the one that got me the most excited. It was right in the heart of Amish country – in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, to be exact – and was located on the top floor of a house occupied by a retired Amish-Mennonite couple.

From our upstairs window we could see farmland for miles and lots of horses and buggies driving by which absolutely blew my kids away. As we settled into our little apartment, I started opening doors to figure out what a closet was, what a bathroom was, etc., and was surprised when an unlocked door led directly to the house of our Airbnb hosts.

Clips of their conversation floated upstairs as I quickly closed and locked the door, wondering if they had as easy access to our apartment as we did to the rest of their house. A few minutes later, there was a brief knock on the outside door before Lena, the owner, let her say hello, which was both eerie and comforting.

One of the great things about staying at this Airbnb was that we had full access to the backyard, where the family had built a gigantic swing set that allowed my boys to swing higher than they legally should be. allowed for any human child. Lena’s grown daughter even came out to give my boys a hand.

The next morning, I walked into the modern – otherwise sparse – bathroom to take a shower. The Amish aren’t known for their commitment to great water pressure, and the first part of my shower was more like splashing in a drinking fountain than a good old 21st century rinse. Overall, though, we gave the Amish Airbnb a big thumbs up.

Another memorable Airbnb from our trip was the one we stayed in on our last night. The house itself was in a quiet neighborhood, but the interior was a bewildering cacophony of decorative inspiration.

“I can’t figure out what they’re doing with the rooms,” George remarked after looking around the place. “It’s like they try to have a theme, but then they put something in there that ruins it.”

For example: a room would be decorated with palms, Roman columns and a bust of Buddha. The next room would be adorned with elephants, a jungle scene and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. It was very strange. It didn’t help anyone that this house had a creepy basement, a feature none of the Dittos particularly like.

We all agreed that the basement was definitely the most likely place to be murdered on this trip, which was unfortunate, because I was the one who had to go there again and again. , to dry off a batch of towels we’d used at an indoor water park earlier in the day. Luckily, doing laundry in creepy basements isn’t new to me.

I did laundry in the spooky basement of the historic building where Logan and I lived when we first got married; I made it in the unfinished and most certainly haunted basement of our century-old craftsman when we lived on the South Hill; and now I was doing it in the rented house of someone I hoped wasn’t a serial killer.

You will be happy to know that we returned from this trip completely unscathed by murderers, for which I am grateful. And I continue to be a fan of Airbnbs, both for their convenience and for the quirky local flavor they add to any vacation. Leftover condiments from the fridge are just a bonus.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children, and a random menagerie of farm animals in the Spokane Valley. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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