One thing that makes the Amish such a rich and vibrant group is that there are various ways of “being Amish”.
Something about each of the 10 settlements below makes them unusual – meaning something seen in few, or no other Amish communities.
This might have to do with their transportation, way of worship, or other cultural aspect. You could probably add quite a few more to this list, but I thought this was a good start.
Ten Unusual Amish Communities
1. Dover, DE – The Amish in the First State’s only community have an unusual buggy design, with rounded sides. Dover affiliation Amish can be found in other states including Kentucky, Virginia, and New York.
2. Pearisburg, VA – This small settlement is tucked away in Giles County in the mountains of western Virginia. In this seeker-friendly community, live interpretation may be provided for guests to worship services.
3. Colonia Naranjita, Bolivia – Amish live mainly in the US and Canada. The only exception is this community in Bolivia, and another in Argentina. These are former Mennonite communities which affiliated with Amish in 2015.
4. Somerset County, PA – The Amish here worship in meetinghouses. Only a few other communities have them, including nearby Oakland, Maryland.
5. Milverton, ON – By far the oldest Canadian community, founded in the 1820s. Ontario saw an influx of Amish after World War II, with the country seen as a refuge for people of nonresistant belief. The Milverton people long predate the next oldest existing Canada settlement, which came about in the 1950s.
With their venerable pedigree, the people in this community have several things that make them stand out among Amish in Canada. These include an “older” style of dress, buggies without tops, and last names (such as Jantzi and Kuepfer) rarely seen elsewhere.
6. Garnett, KS – The Amish in this community may drive cars for work purposes. They do not own the cars, and do not allow car usage for personal reasons.
This “exception” has occurred, rarely, elsewhere, notably Arthur, IL, where the practice eventually declined.
7. Enon Valley, PA – Amish here drive buggies with a distinct hue. It’s been described as a “pale yellow“, or “cream.”
To be honest, I’ve never visited, and don’t know that I’ve ever found a good photo of this – the photo linked here is tagged “Enon Valley” though seems to have had some effects added to it…that noted you can see how it might be similar to that of the New Wilmington Amish, but not so yellow as that of the Byler Amish.
This old but small settlement (just one church district) has had “very limited fellowship” with other Amish groups (see “Clusters of Amish Subgroups and Networks, 2009”, unpublished paper by Stephen Scott).
9. Pinecraft, FL – This is probably the only Amish settlement where the Amish don’t use the horse and buggy. In some communities the horse and buggy has become less common (“tractor Amish” settlements), but still used at least on Sunday. In this Sarasota-area neighborhood, Amish walk, bike, or go by large adult tricycles.
Aylmer can be considered a part of the “Reformist Amish”, who emphasize high moral standards while maintaining low levels of technology. Related communities are found in locations in the US and Canada including Unity, ME and Fertile, MN.
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