47 responses to 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit
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    Al in Ky
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 05:21)

    Here are the five I would like to visit:

    1. Sarasota, Florida — during the winter when there are lots of
    Amish there from other states.

    2. Aylmer,Ontario — would like to visit Pathway Publishers, as well as David Luthy and the Amish Historical Library.

    3. Fertile, Minnesota — would like to meet Ed and family, and see the prairie landscape. If I go there I would like to visit several other small Amish settlements in northern Minn.

    4. Ethridge, Tenn. — would like to observe differences and similarities with other Swartz. settlements I’ve visited.

    5. St. Ignatius, Montana — sounds like the area is beautiful. Also read recently in The Budget that the youth and young adults present an annual program for the non-Amish community; would like to go when they have the program.

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      Linda
      Comment on St. Ignatius Singing Program (April 2nd, 2015 at 07:18)

      St. Ignatius Singing Program

      Al, this reminds me of the article about St. Ignatius, Montana, titled “Spiritual songs attract crowds to Amish community concert” with 4 photos at

      http://www.valleyjournal.net/Article/12303/Spiritual-songs-attract-crowds-to-Amish-community-concert

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        Al in Ky
        Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 20:06)

        Thanks for the link. I enjoyed looking at the pictures. Hope I
        can attend in an upcoming year.

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      Shirley Chapel
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 19:20)

      I would like to visit the Amish in Shipshewanna Indiana. I’ve heard a lot of people say this is a nice area to go to.
      Also this summer we plan to go to an Amish community near Kitchener Ontario.My brother who lives in Ontario says this is a very nice community to visit.
      I would love to visit Pinecraft Florida . A lot of writers have made post about this community.
      I’ve never been to Lancaster PA . Would love to go to Bird In Hand plus other communities around it.

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    Gretchen Troyer Harman
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 05:24)

    Since I’m interested in family history, I’d like to visit Somerset Co, PA and also Howard Co, IN. I’ve been to Holmes Co, OH, and my dad has met “family” there.

  • *
    Comment on Interesting, as always... (April 2nd, 2015 at 05:30)

    Interesting, as always...

    I really did enjoy this post, Erik. I haven’t been to any of these…, but I may now have some new stops on my want-to-see list.

    If you’re taking seed-thoughts for spin-off future posts, I have a couple of ideas. Somewhere in the post you said something like, “way back in 1974” (which happens to be when I was a teenager, so it didn’t strike me as so “way back” ), and this got me to thinking about how much the Amish have moved/grown over a not-terribly long time. I think it would be interesting to see a decade-by-decade comparison of size/growth of the overall Amish community (or at least within the states), to see total size, plus any pattern in expansion (both in previously settled states/regions, and in new states/regions). Is there any overall pattern(s) (e.g., continually growing westward), or short-lived patterns (e.g., a failed venturing into the south). Just a thought.

    Another seed thought that I would find very helpful as I do visiting of my own: As a follow-up to this post on the 5 places you would go, what are the 5 things (since you seem to like that number lately that you would do once to got to one of these places. In other words, as an experienced visitor to new-to-you places, what is your approach when you come into a new community (or even things you do before getting there)? What interests you (e.g., the Amish businesses), and what do you do to get the most out of your visit? Maybe include some pointers to help the rest of us make a positive impression on our own visits, and get the most mileage out of the stop.

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      Linda
      Comment on Amish Population Map 1964-2014 (April 2nd, 2015 at 08:43)

      Amish Population Map 1964-2014

      Don, you can view a map with changing dots that represent Amish community population, Amish Settlements in North America, 1964-2014, with the article, “Would You Guess There Are Fewer Amish Today? You’d Be So Wrong”.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/21/amish-population_n_6145336.html

      • *
        Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 11:38)

        Thanks Linda. This is somewhat what I had in mind, although I would like to see it go back for a full 100 yrs or so if possible. Also, I would like to have someone authenticate the data — some of the things I’ve seen on Huffington makes me leery of a wholesale acceptance of what they put out.

    • What I do when I visit a new Amish community

      Good thought Don. Hmm, I don’t know if I have 5 things…but usually I just go to the businesses and speak with people and ask about other businesses I’m interested in. I sometimes play the “Amish name game” if I know someone connected with that community. I often pick up a church directory. Sometimes they don’t have maps, so those are a little less interesting. Some communities might have a business map like the one I mentioned in my Somerset County post. The settlement at Ethridge has a nice Amish business map, produced by one of the tourist places I believe.

      I guess it depends on what you are there for, I am usually interested in buying baked goods and visiting different shops, and I enjoy learning a little more about the community, maybe what other communities they are associated with, what people do, those kinds of things. Some people in stores are more talkative than others, just have to get a sense if a person likes to talk to visitors :)

      • *
        Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 14:42)

        “…what other communities they are associated with” — great idea. One I’ve seen as important, but was a little slow on catching on. While in I believe it was the Berne, IN area, if we mentioned being from MO the immediate question was if we had been to Seymour MO — what proved to be their ‘daughter’ settlement. I know the Amish keep track of not just the history, but the current news of other Amish as well. But that then begs the question of how do we know that kind of information in order to know what to discuss with a new-to-us place?

        “…depends on what you are there for” — good point. I too like the bakeries and some of the shops. But obviously taking pictures is also on my agenda, and that might not be so acceptable. There have been a couple of times that I thought after leaving that sometime later in the conversation I could say something like, “I like to take pictures to share with some friends that aren’t able to visit, and especially the things that are a bit unique about each community. Of course I don’t want to do anything that would offend anyone. But do you have suggestions about what is a little different in your community that it would be okay to take pictures of?” In your experience, how do you think that would go over?

        Oh, and thanks for the rest of the response as well.

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      Debbie H
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 13:37)

      I agree with Don Burke’s last paragraph too Erik. I have been to only one Amish community, Berlin, Ohio and it was basically a tourist trap. Would love to visit some not so touristy settlements and know how to approach them and get the most out of my visit.

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        Elsie
        Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (May 11th, 2015 at 08:00)

        Berlin is a ‘tourist trap’, but we don’t shop in Berlin. We travel all back roads. That’s where you find the businesses (in their home)of true Amish made products, foods, baskets, quilts, etc. If there’s a sign by the road, we stop.

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    Barb
    Comment on Yes, Please! (April 2nd, 2015 at 06:52)

    Yes, Please!

    Erik, I totally agree with Don Burke’s last paragraph. Pointers, please? I am in the process of creating an online course where students will have the opportunity to study Amish life and their values. My hope is that in this fast paced, technology laden society, students may find some strength and guidance from contemplating how they might apply certain Amish values into their own lives, for the better of family, community, and society as a whole. Anyway, I have been doing most of this through my book learning and following your blog. It would help me so much if I could learn more about the Amish way first hand, through conversations with Amish folks. I don’t have Amish living in my area (south Jersey) but am planning on visiting Lancaster and vacinity a few times this spring and summer. Any way you could explain an appropriate way to make a “pen pal” in the area?

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      Dorothy Kapnic
      Comment on Barb - Info on Amish (April 2nd, 2015 at 09:58)

      Barb - Info on Amish

      Barb: I live in Harrisburg, PA, after 15 years in Lancaster County, PA, and would be happy to discuss the Amish with you. Let me know when you will be in my area.

    • *
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 13:22)

      Sounds like a great course Barb. Hope what I wrote to Don is also useful for what you’re interested in. One pointer I might add in Lancaster, you might enjoy visiting part of the community that is not in the Bird-in-Hand–Intercourse–Strasburg trifecta area where a lot of the tourist activity happens. I like going into the southern end of the county. As far as a pen pal, I don’t have great advice other than make friends as you would with any other person, maybe you get to talking to someone who is particularly interested in what you do and if you connect with someone then could ask if you could drop a line maybe following up on something they were interested in. Just an idea!

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        Gretchen Troyer H
        Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 12th, 2015 at 21:47)

        I think that starting out in Lancaster might be easier,as that is where the Amish are more likely to expect and be familiar with strangers coming and asking questions. There are actually Amish all over Pennsylvania, but most are just going about their lives and not looking for people poking around. Genuine curiosity I think is handled politely, though. I have lived in Centre County, York County, and Adams County, and driven through many others in central PA, and have seen Amish farms and stores here and there. I have also been to Berlin, OH and thought it was fun. Yes, it is set up to come and look and learn, but really it’s still a good start. If you drive a way out of town you will find areas that are still Amish but less “touristy.”

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      Don Curtis
      Comment on Amish course (April 4th, 2015 at 13:08)

      Amish course

      I know that Mark has given talks at Amish courses at The Ohio State University, Capital University, and Mount Carmel School of Nursing. But, New Jersey is a bit out of his territory.

      • *
        Don Curtis
        Comment on Amish course (April 4th, 2015 at 13:11)

        Amish course

        Mark is my son, by-the-way. He joined the Amish about 12 1/2 years ago. He retired from teaching public school. He’s 62, now. That is so hard for me to believe. But, then again, I’m 92 and that’s even harder for me to believe.

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      Elsie
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (May 11th, 2015 at 08:04)

      Almost all Amish are very social. Just stop and ask.

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    Tom the back roads traveller
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 07:08)

    Erik, get in touch with me and I’ll take you around Conewango and some of its sister communities. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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    Margaret
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 07:52)

    We visited several different settlements in Montana last fall, including the Rexford one. We absolutely fell in love with the state in general, as well as the communities we visited. We would love to visit the others on your list, too. Wish we could retire now…lol!

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    Naomi Wilson
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 08:23)

    Gortner, Md

    This article piqued my interest.

    http://www.mountaindiscoveries.com/images/ss2013/amish.pdf

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    Derek J.
    Comment on One that never makes anyone list... (April 2nd, 2015 at 08:30)

    One that never makes anyone list...

    Are the settlements in Michigan. I wonder why that is?

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    Judie Pieper
    Comment on WI. Amish (April 2nd, 2015 at 10:47)

    WI. Amish

    Have you ever been to the Amish area in the Dalton Kingston area of WI. I never see you write anything about this group??? I go there at least once a month , (more in summer). I have a number of wonderful Amish friends there, I am even invited. to share a meal with them. If you would like to know more please contact me. This is a very good sized group of Amish and growing each year.

    • *
      Terry from Wisc
      Comment on Hi Judie (April 2nd, 2015 at 14:14)

      Hi Judie

      We love going to Kingston and Dalton and usually spend the whole day bumming in that area and visiting Amish friends.

      Hey Erik…you need to come to Wisc asap and we’ll go Amishing as we call it! There are many settlements in Wisc with different ways of life and conveniences. We have several Amish friends, with our newest ones having electricity. I spent last Sat aft with that family. It truly seems so NOT Amish have “electric” as they call it.

      Judie, where do you live? We’re in Neenah so about 1.15 hrs from Kingston area. The Yellow Door will be open now, so we’re hoping to make the trip next week.

      • *
        Judie Pieper
        Comment on Kington/Dalton WI. Amish (April 3rd, 2015 at 11:01)

        Kington/Dalton WI. Amish

        I live in Brookfield, about the same distance as you ! about 80 miles. What is the yellow door?

        • *
          Terry from Wisc
          Comment on Hi Judie (April 3rd, 2015 at 12:35)

          Hi Judie

          The Yellow Door is an on-going rummage sale in several buildings! It’s hard to explain it to someone. We call it a junkers’ paradise!
          It’s off of Hwy 44 on Co Rd X which is not to far after you leave Kingston. If you need directions anyone in the area will help you. Another reason to stop at an Amish place and chit chat!

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            Judie Pieper
            Comment on Thanks for the info (April 3rd, 2015 at 13:05)

            Thanks for the info

            I think I know where that is. We buy flowers from Eli and Annie Schrock at W3986 Country Road X . They have really nice plants and good prices. Let me know when you go and perhaps we could meet up with each other sometime???

      • *
        Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 3rd, 2015 at 18:48)

        I hope I’ll be able to take you up on the offer sometime Terry. Is the family with electricity a New Order electric group? I think you may have mentioned them here recently if I’m remembering right.

        • *
          Terry from Wisc
          Comment on New order Amish (April 3rd, 2015 at 22:44)

          New order Amish

          The friends who I visited have always had electricity. The bulk food store owner said he was from PA originally, by the Allegheny Mountains, and he was raised with electricity as well. I’ve had Amish friends for 52 years now, and it just seems odd to not have their way of life that I have known all these years. I have to say though that it is a might safer without all that gas and kerosene present.

          Erik, the name New order didn’t come up, but I’d assume that they’d have to be.

  • *
    Comment on Amish communities I'd like to visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 12:51)

    Amish communities I'd like to visit

    I have never been to the NE portion of our nation so yes to visiting some of the communities up there or event he one in FL. There is a ‘newish’ Amish community here in S. Colorado I’d like to go visit. Practically in my own backyard. Maybe this summer?

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    Christine McMahon-Chase
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 13:19)

    I live in Spokane, WA and have to say that I have not been over to Rexford, MT yet (I don’t have a vehicle). I have been to Montana before (2 1/2 or so to Missoula) and it lives up to it’s name “God’s Country.”

    • *
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 3rd, 2015 at 18:20)

      It seems like a beautiful place, but I think it would be too big, empty and remote for me. I’d probably do better as a visitor than a resident here. If I were more outdoorsy I might feel differently. There are a lot of hunters among the Amish.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 2nd, 2015 at 14:05)

    I’d like to contrast a couple of visits in a short time period, one to Lancaster County, PA, and the other to Anne’s son’s area of Fertile, Minnesota. I’m sure it would be a shock to my system (the difference between the 2 communities) ;), so I’d finish up with another trip closer to home, in Arthur, IL.

    Love this one, Erik! So many interesting ideas,, links, etc.

    Alice Mary

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    Nancy
    Comment on Ontario Amish (April 3rd, 2015 at 08:44)

    Ontario Amish

    I live in the heart of Amish country in Ontario. My small town is surrounded by Amish communities. I have been to Milverton many times. Millbank is the bigger community though. It is very close to Milverton. If you go you much visit Anna Mae`s restaurant and bakery. It is a Mennonite run place where many Amish work. There is also a huge school sale near Milverton in the third Saturday July. We go every year. Aylmer is a lovely town with a wonderful farmers market. St Jacob`s is also a large Amish community. The farmers market there is world famous. Many Amish work there. My town of St Marys also has many Amish around it. We also have a large old order Mennonite community and Beechy Amish. If you are ever coming out this way email me and I will send you some great info. angelfancy(at symbol here sorry for some reason my keyboard is not working right)rogers.com

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      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 3rd, 2015 at 18:30)

      Thanks Nancy! Great info. I’ll remember your contact if I do get that way. It’s described here as Milverton/Millbank community, but sounds like from what you are saying Millbank is the larger municipality:

      http://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/57700/JAPAS_Donnermeyer_Luthy_vol1-issue2_pp107-129.pdf?sequence=1

      I believe the Amish settlement itself is more often referred to as Milverton. Settlements get the shorthand names they do for different reasons, might be that more of the Amish have that mailing address or more live around that area or it’s where they first settled historically. Anyway it sounds like you are the person I want to talk to before any Ontario Amish trip!

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        Nancy
        Comment on Anytime (April 4th, 2015 at 09:06)

        Anytime

        Anytime Erik. I would be happy to help.

  • *
    Alice Mary
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 3rd, 2015 at 11:54)

    This is an oddball post (but I’d like to visit this shop in Lancaster PA). Libraries in our system often sell items or give them away. Here’s a link to a give-away (puppet stage) which was made by Bird-in-Hand Woodworks. I don’t know if it’s an Amish business or not. Has anyone heard of it?

    https://www.railslibraries.info/members/announce/20150403/90563

    Alice Mary

    • *
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 3rd, 2015 at 18:40)

      I’m not familiar with them, but it doesn’t sound like it’s Amish going by this article: http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/articles/bird-in-hand_woodworks_inc_division_of_childcraft_education_corp_a_school_specialty_co_-_bird-in-hand_woodworks_127689808.html#sthash.kVPgC8vm.dpbs

      The two higher-ups mentioned in the article both have non-Amish names, and it’s described as a division of Childcraft, which is owned by School Specialty Co. which was a publicly listed company with 2800 employees as of 2005. Maybe some of their employees are Amish though. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/school-specialty-inc-history/

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    Mary
    Comment on Visiting Rexford Amish? (April 3rd, 2015 at 23:33)

    Visiting Rexford Amish?

    If you ever come to NW MT. to visit the Amish in Rexford you might want to stop at our place and get directions! Your GPS just might take you to a remote mountain road (far from where they wanted to go), like it did my sister when she first visited us while we still lived in the same area the Amish in The West Kootenai are. We are now living in Eureka which is 28 miles from where we used to live. And, by the way, you would have to pass by our place anyways to get to where you want to go! So stop in so we might prepare you to the fact that the Rexford community is different from the eastern communities that you are used to visiting!

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    Don Curtis
    Comment on Nobody wants to visit, Belle Center, Ohio? (April 4th, 2015 at 13:06)

    Nobody wants to visit, Belle Center, Ohio?

    What, nobody wants to visit Belle Center, Ohio. Hmmmph!

    • *
      Naomi WIlson
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 7th, 2015 at 14:01)

      Don, we do! And pass along to Mark that his letter was a blessing to the whole family, and to expect a response, even if it takes a while longer yet.

      • *
        Don Curtis
        Comment on Letter (April 8th, 2015 at 13:48)

        Letter

        Did Mark write a letter to you? I guess I didn’t know. But, then again, Mark doesn’t tell me everything that he does. I’m glad you received a letter from him.

    • *
      Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 8th, 2015 at 17:54)

      Don, I’m a little late replying, but I can attest it is a fine place to visit, especially if you have someone to visit there :) Besides Mark’s I’ve had dinner at a friend of his and made one or two other visits besides, nice folks in the community. Of course, I’ve been in the fine town of Belle Center as well, as you know.

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    Jerry
    Comment on 5 Amish Communities I Want to Visit (April 6th, 2015 at 18:55)

    My five favorite places to visit the Amish/Old Order Mennoite is the Big Valley, Winfield, Pa, Beaver Springs, Pa, Loylesville, Perry County, PA and Mt Pleasant Mills, Pa. I like these areas because I already have connections in each. I visit the many Lancaster sites often and hope to someday soon to hit Pearisburg, Va and Pinecrest in Fla. I don’t have much desire to go West because I have all I need right here close to home. These areas provide me with enough insight into the Amish lifestyle that I sorta feel that I don’t need any others. Sure there are differences among the many orders but the connection and solitice I find right here is enough to provide my spirit with the feeling of being one and understanding the life that my friends wish to practice/live. I just don’t need any more.

  • *
    Comment on Visit SE Minnesota Amish (April 9th, 2015 at 10:37)

    Visit SE Minnesota Amish

    On your way to northwestern Minnesota to visit the Fertile, MN Amish, stop in the Southeastern corner of the state in Lanesboro. You will find the largest Old Order Amish settlement in Minnesota near here. I offer respectful guided Amish tours to many Amish farms and craft shops.

    Also, I grew just outside of Fertile, MN and the Amish settlement is fairly new in that area. If you go there, you must stop at Bergeson Gardens–a must see in the area and close to the Amish farms.

    Thanks for your interesting and educational blog!

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