Back when I was tallying up the list of Amish communities I’ve already visited, I got to thinking about the ones I haven’t been to yet, but would like to visit. The list below is my current “top 7.” Maybe one of these is on your list?
1. Conewango Valley, New York
This plainer-side Amish settlement of 15 church districts has always seemed appealing to me. Maybe it’s because some years ago I stumbled upon a website marketing the community as “New York’s Amish Trail.”
That site, which has long featured a local Amish business map, now lists over 180 Amish shops, stores and other small enterprises. Some of them have peculiar names like Poor Man’s Repair Shop or Chip Off The Oak Block. There is also Mahlon Shetler’s watch and clock shop, and the Raber family’s wooden toy shop.
A look through the list reveals loads of woodworking, hickory rockers, quilts, maple syrup, baked goods and more. This seems like the perfect place to do one of my favorite things, that is, drive around and stop at random Amish businesses and see what surprises are there to be discovered.
2. Monte Vista, Colorado
I have long been curious to experience what Amish life is like in Colorado. Any time I ever see photos or footage of the Amish areas there, it seems to be all sun, big sky, and wide open spaces. Amish have settled in several places in the state. Monte Vista is the oldest of the current communities.
3. Milverton, Ontario
Canada’s oldest and largest Amish community. I’ve not yet been to a community north of the border. The Milverton Amish have some specific characteristics, such as more traditional dress.
It’s unlike the other settlements in Canada, which were all founded after World War II. Milverton is nearly 200 years old. I like Amish communities with a lot of history.
4. Cashton, Wisconsin
I’ve also never been to a Wisconsin community. I should remedy that, as it’s the state with the fourth-largest Amish population. Cashton is the largest community and reportedly a scenic, hilly area.
Longtime reader “Terry from Wisconsin” has been getting on me to come to the Dairy State Amish for a long time now, so how could I leave it off the list? 😀 Wisconsin plan B would be the Kingston/Dalton area.
5. Smicksburg, Pennsylvania
The largest community in Pennsylvania that I have yet to visit (25 churches). I don’t know a lot about this settlement. They drive Ohio-style buggies at Smicksburg, and the community lies partially in Indiana County. Indiana + Ohio + Pennsylvania, why not.
6. Heuvelton, New York
Heuvelton in St. Lawrence County is one of the largest Swartzentruber Amish communities, way up on the Canada border. I would be curious to see how this compares to two of the other big stand-alone Swartzentruber settlements – Lodi, Ohio and Ethridge, Tennessee.
7. Orleans County, Vermont
The last on the list is the smallest of the bunch. Few Amish live here, though they first planted roots here near the town of Brownington five years ago. I’ve heard the area of Vermont they chose to settle in, the Northeast Kingdom, is the most beautiful part of the state.
Update: here’s the list I made five years ago. Some differences.
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I am a van driver and have been to 6 of the 7. I have not been to Heuvelton, New York, probably because the Swarentruber in our area do not usually go by van. Also they may not have close connections with that church. I have been to the Vermont settlement in the middle of an ice and snow storm for a funeral. That was the only time I was there. I think I was told that at that time only about 40 some people lived there. I have been to all the other places many times.
Wow, Garry, that’s fantastic you’ve been to 6 of the 7. This is a pretty geographically widely-dispersed list. As a driver for the Amish you must rack up a lot of miles. Any idea how many Amish communities in total you’ve been to?
I have been driving for over 5 years and average over 100,000 per year. I keep records of the trips but I don’t have any idea about how many different places I have been.
I’ve heard cashton, WI is quite conservative! No running water, power milkers, or rubber wheels. Excited for you to make it to the Dairy State!
Yeah for Wisc!
Yes Cashton is a hilly part of Wisconsin. There are so many more settlements in our state to visit. Erik, You really need to think about making a trip out here!
Stay safe in Christ because He’s in charge †
Realistically I would visit more than just one community on the WI trip for sure:)
I live near the settlement. Very friendly but very strict when it comes to old order!Of course you would expect that of Swartentruber Amish.
studying the Amish
Greetings, I am interested in the Amish lifestyle. mostly due to the decline of America at large. my family is sailing from Alaska soon. and moving to Bethany Missouri in July. We have a 200acre farm there. and there is an Amish community there we would like to visit and study their beliefs and lifestyle.
Conewango Valley is close to where I live. Melinda’s candy shop is great as is the toy shop. There is or was a nice quilt shop but oh so very pricey. There are some wood shops and a cane chair shop. Most of these places are spread very far apart and there are no places to get meal. Cherry Creek is close by and they also have Amish places to shop.There are tack shops as well. One of my very favorite places is next door to the Cheese shop on rt 62. (Many Amish frequent the cheese shop and they have small gift shop filled with Amish goods).The shop adjacent is a canvas repair shop owned by a man (Chris) with so many children (s) he didn’t know what to do lol. Some ofl the kids are so friendly others very timid. Visions of bare footed children is what you will see with lunch on their faces and their feet covered in mud. They will run out to greet you and the Owner is so personable. Hint bring a few Amish approved trinkets, balls, jacks jumprope from the dollar store. I even brought candy!!! Be sure to buy the cheese but ask which is amish made as most are not but excellent nonetheless. Grab a guide if you can find one and follow it. Although on my last trip many of the shops closed down or roads not marked and difficult to find. Remember many shops are closed on Wed and Sunday. In the fall there is an Amish Auction a great time to kill two birds with one stone!!!!
Great picture you painted there Michelle, and nice tips for a Conewango Valley visit. I’ll file it away for a future trip. Good to know that Wednesday is not the best day for visiting shops.
My grandfather, Aaron W. Gingerich, was born in Ontario, Canada. That would be interesting to visit. They migrated down to North Dakota where my other grandparents lived. My mom and dad were neighbors who lived a mile apart. A short distance for North Dakota.