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.
Image credits: Conewango Valley – Linda DiDomizio; Monte Vista – Bontrager Entertainment; Milverton – Se Yim; Cashton – Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Smicksburg – KitAy; Heuvelton – Watertown Daily Times; Orleans County – Mike Dougherty/VTDigger