The 5 Friendliest Amish Communities

Which are the most friendly Amish communities? Yes, to answer that question we do have to generalize. But I think it’s true that Amish communities can take on a certain character.

Photo: Don Shenk

If you’ve visited more than one Amish community and met enough people, you may have noticed this. People in some places just seem more happy to see you than in others.

Below are my (non-scientific) choices for “most friendly” Amish communities. And here’s the disclaimer: Obviously, I haven’t been to every Amish settlement (there are over 600 of them).

But I’ve been to nearly all the largest ones, and quite a few of the smaller, covering many affiliations – over 70 communities in all. And in many of them, I’ve met dozens, if not hundreds of people, by virtue of a job I once had (selling Bible story books). Enough to form impressions.

At the end, I share a few that didn’t make the list (including two not-so-friendly communities) – and why.

The Five Most Friendly Amish Settlements

1. Daviess County, Indiana

Daviess County, Indiana. Photo: S.I.

Southern hospitality in southern Indiana. I may be partial since I grew up hearing southern accents. These are probably the easiest folks to speak with of any Amish settlement I’ve visited. I met the Amish of Daviess County early, shortly after I first stumbled across the Amish over ten years ago. Other Amish talk about them for their cordial nature.

2. Hicksville, Ohio

Laundry hangs outside an Amish home in the Hicksville, Ohio community.

In 2006 I spent eight weeks in the Elkhart-Lagrange, Indiana settlement. There are random scattered people living there hailing from Hicksville in northwestern Ohio, and I would meet them from time to time. Whenever I did, it was always the friendliest person I’d meet all day (and it’s not like the northern Indiana people are unfriendly themselves). But this was another level of friendliness. Later I visited the Hicksville community and confirmed my impression. Tiny settlement, must be something in the water there.

3. Holmes County, Ohio

The Holmes County, Ohio community is home to the widest variety of Amish groups. Photo: Jim Halverson

I visit Holmes County often. With Amish from around a dozen affiliations, this is the definition of a mixed bag. But there are quite a lot of friendly people here. People say New Order Amish are among the most welcoming of outsiders. I’ve found that to be generally the case. Holmes County has the largest New Order Amish population of any community. Overall it’s a pretty laid-back place and still quite rural area, at least compared to other large Amish settlements.

4. Somerset County, Pennsylvania

Amish business signs in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

When I first included this community on this list in 2015, I had technically never visited this place. So why did I include it? Based on a series of phone calls I made the previous year, these are super-friendly people. I spent a few days making random calls to the community trying to track down an Amish business. I found the people I got on the line wanted to talk and talk with this random stranger calling from North Carolina.

Somerset County is southern Pennsylvania, but they have a southern-ish drawl here too, which maybe activates my aforementioned southern drawl bias. I can say after one of the calls I hung up feeling I’d be a welcome guest at that farmer’s place anytime, and we had been total strangers 20 minutes earlier. Small sample size, but the impression was strong enough to make this list.

Later, I visited this community and had some enjoyable visits with Amish there in person. And following that I see no reason to take Somerset County off the list!

5. Pinecraft, Florida

Adult-sized tricycles are a popular form of transport in Pinecraft – perhaps the only Amish community where you won’t find any horses.

How could you not be a cheery soul if Pinecraft were your home, 365 days a year? And the Amish you meet here who are just visiting, are on vacation! So they can’t not be in a good mood. On both of my visits to Pinecraft I have found this place to be what you’d expect.

So those are my picks. Which communities would you put on this list?

Who I left out, and why

Not to disparage anyone, but you may now be wondering which communities I haven’t felt so warmly received in. Well, I didn’t put Lancaster County up there, but not because it’s not full of nice people – some of my best Amish friends (maybe I should just say “best friends” and leave out the “Amish” bit) live there.

But, I believe on account of all the tourists and being under the spotlight, the average Amish person you meet in the community is not quite as outgoing to outsiders as compared to other places. Some certainly are, especially if you meet them in a tourist context (I’m thinking buggy ride guides or waitresses).

Lancaster County is home to the world’s largest Amish community. Image: Don Burke

However, Lancaster Amish are spoken about for their hospitality by other Amish. One of my Holmes County friends says they do hospitality to a level not seen in his own community – really rolling out the red carpet for visitors. I would agree, at least on the Lancaster part.

Not-so-friendly Amish Communities

The least welcoming places I have experienced were Geauga County, Ohio, and Allen County, Indiana. This was again in the context of selling Bible story books. In Geauga County I was blasted off the front porch on a number of occasions. And you might be thinking, well – salesman – he deserved it!

But you have to understand that I was not a pushy salesperson. In fact downright the opposite. Not to brag, but Amish in other places complemented me all the time on this. It’s why I was able to do well – letting people buy rather than pushing for a sale. I think the Geauga folks must get an inordinately high number of salespeople, however, because that didn’t really happen anywhere else.

Geauga County, Ohio. Image: S.I.

The “toughest” Amish in my book, towards outsiders, are the Swiss Amish of Allen County, Indiana. You just felt a shell that was tough to crack. Something silent, in the body language or tone of voice, repelling you. Eventually I must have cracked the code, as they bought lots of books from me. I think they started to soften once they saw I had been around awhile.

Allen County, Indiana.

I’m also going to say I found some very warm people in both of these communities. And admittedly “friendliness” is in the end a rather superficial way to judge someone. I suppose I can’t really blame anyone if they want nothing to do with me. But my impression of the overall character, after a couple of weeks in each place, is what it is.

So…would you agree with these? What other Amish communities are friendly (or not so much)?

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    1. william nortum

      kind Amish

      i have never met an Amish person that was not kind

    2. Dolores

      Friendly (Amish) communities

      Well, I can’t say I’ve had the exposure to Amish communities as the author and I may also be a bit biased. But for a city girl with no previous real exposure to Amish; I found the Charlotte (pronounced Shar-LOT), Michigan to be very welcoming and friendly. That’s been my experience anyway.

    3. Violetta

      Sending a Letter

      Hey 🙂
      I’m from Germany and since today, I never knew that the Amish originally are from Germany/Switzerland that’s so interesting.
      I saw a couple documentaries about them and I find their life very interesting and somehow beautiful.
      I wanted to ask if there is a possibility to send a letter to them? Maybe something like a pen friend. This would be so nice and such a great experience! :))
      I don’t have any addresses from them.
      Maybe you can help me out?
      Lovely Greetings from Germany