visit-wish-list

For various reasons, I haven’t visited many Amish settlements lately. I managed just one trip in 2014 (though to a nice place).

But my recent visit to a new–for me–community (Somerset County, PA) reminded me how much I enjoy visiting new Amish places.

A little while ago I even put together a short list of settlements I’d like to visit. When I recently asked for your ideas, Al in KY suggested the same idea for a post.

So far I’ve been to 50+ Amish communities in 13 states. Below, you’ll find five more Amish places I’d like to visit, and why.

Maybe you’ve already been to one on this list. I’d also love to hear which communities you’d like to visit.

Five Amish Settlements I’d Like to Visit

1. Conewango Valley, New York

The largest and oldest New York settlement. This is a Troyer Amish community, one of the plainer groups. I’ve read there are many small businesses here, which would keep me busy.

conewango-valley-toy-shop

Also, I’ve never visited any Amish in New York State (the closest I’ve come was a trip with a PA Amish friend to Manhattan. I don’t think that counts).

We’ve seen photos from this settlement before, courtesy of Tom the Backroads Traveller, of a toy shop and local benefit auction.

2. Any settlement in Ontario

Why not more specific? I guess this is just to say I’ve visited Amish in two countries 🙂

Well, there’s more to it than that. Actually, I’d be most interested in the largest Canadian community (Milverton), which is also the country’s oldest, dating to 1824 (for that matter, one of the oldest of all Amish communities).

I don’t know a lot about this settlement, though one (admittedly dated) source describes it as holding to older dress and buggy traditions.

Amish at Milverton have different last names (Kuepfer, Streicher) than most others. There is also a large annual school auction.

algoma-ontario

I’d also like to visit Aylmer, home of Pathway Publishers.

There are over a dozen Amish settlements scattered throughout Ontario, along with a significant Old Order Mennonite population. The photo above was taken in Algoma District, home to a small community (Iron Bridge).

3. Fertile, Minnesota

Why the little community at Fertile in northwest Minnesota? There’s really just one reason–I’d like to meet the son of one of our contributors, who lives there.

If you’re not familiar, Ed joined the Amish some years ago. Anne, his mom, has written a number of posts on what that has been like.

fertile-minnesota

I recently had a chance to visit Anne and her husband Malcolm while passing through Virginia.

I enjoyed learning more about their highly unusual situation–with all its ups and downs–of being English parents to an Amish convert. I’m sure Ed would offer some interesting insights.

I’ve also never visited any Amish in Minnesota. Fertile is about as out-of-the-way as Amish get, about two hours south of the Canadian border. And of course, it has a great name.

4. Randolph, Mississippi

The people here–some at least–come from Ethridge, Tennessee, a Swartzentruber Amish community I really liked visiting. I’ve only ever really driven through Mississippi, so it would be nice to go there as a destination.

randolph-county-mississippi

Depending on who you ask, Randolph is the only Amish settlement in the Deep South. The community is a small one though, at just one church district in size. Read more.

5. Rexford, Montana

People who’ve been there say Rexford is one of the most beautiful Amish settlements. I’d like to see how Amish here live. I’m sure you’d notice differences, though you might not know them until you see them.

When the community’s founders moved West, so far from traditional Amish areas, there must have been skeptics (interestingly, some apparently first lived in British Columbia, at a short-lived settlement, before coming to Rexford).

But that was way back in 1974, and the Rexford community is still going, despite apparently experiencing significant turnover.

Due to its remoteness, it sounds like it might actually be easier to visit, than to live here full-time. They do get quite a few visitors here from back East. Some residents have even built cabins to accommodate them.

lake-koocanusa-montana

Photos you see of the area suggest great natural beauty. The one above is of Lake Koocanusa, formed when the Kootenai River was dammed (the town of Rexford, originally on the river, had to be moved 10 miles away).

The community is one of a handful of Amish settlements in the Treasure State. For obvious reasons (I am in NC) this will probably be the hardest one for me to visit.

Others that could have made my list: Pearisburg, VA; Enon Valley, PA; Heuvelton, NY; Buchanan County, IA.

What about you? Which Amish communities would you like to visit? 

Image credits: Conewango Valley- Tom the Backroads Traveller; Algoma, Ontario- per_verdonk/flickr; Fertile, MN- Anne; Lake Koocanusa- spendadaytouring/flickr