Evening Views From Burke’s Garden, Virginia (14 Photos)

I’m traveling on the way to Ohio now and haven’t had a chance to put together a post on Saturday’s visit to NC’s Swartzentruber Amish community and their first annual auction.

It was a great visit and you can expect to see more on that soon. Here’s a preview shot, of an Amish auction patron hauling home a wringer washer:

Yesterday I stopped at Burke’s Garden, Virginia, a secluded bowl-like valley which is home to a small Amish settlement of about 14 families.

I had heard of this place following a visit by reader Jerry and his 2015 guest post on the community.

It is an intriguing pocket of land tucked away in a part of Virginia that you have to be intending to visit – you won’t drive through this place by accident, due to its geography.

Burke’s Garden has few human residents and many cattle, at least seasonally.

Beef cattle are raised here and can pack on the pounds quickly owing to the local soil’s fertility.

I had a nice visit with Mattie Schlabach, proprietor of Mattie’s Place, a general store, bakery, and small restaurant selling sandwiches and some warm foods.

I’ll have more on this community as well as Mattie’s store (I hope to make a second stop on my way back to NC in a couple days).

In the meantime, enjoy these photos which I took in the late afternoon and at dusk yesterday.

I meant to take more,but my conversation with Mattie went longer than planned. She is a pleasure to visit with and I learned a lot.

Burke’s Garden really is a beautiful place as I’d heard. I’d just missed the latest snowfall, the third of the season, but there were patches of snow remaining along the mountain pass into the valley as I came in.


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    1. Alice Mary


      Thanks for posting those photos of your ride to/from Burke’s Garden, Virginia. It appears to have been a peaceful, pleasant drive. It’s so nice to see “autumn” photos, after the leaves have fallen and after some early snow has melted, when Mother Nature has whispered “go to sleep,now, children, and rest until Spring.” So nice to enjoy them just before Thanksgiving and Black Friday. As I’ve been saying for years,”say ‘thank you’ in November before you say ‘gimme-gimme’ in December.” Enjoy the Peace before the holiday madness begins!

      Where (and with whom) will you be spending Thanksgiving, Erik?

      To you and all Amish America readers I wish a Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving, and wish you always have MUCH to be thankful for!

      Alice Mary

      1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Alice Mary! The drive in was super, some of the windiest roads I’ve driven on. I am on the way back from Holmes County now, stopped in W. VA, and will make it to Raleigh, NC tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with mother, brother and some friends. How about you? Good thoughts about being thankful, a friend in Holmes County today shared a poem with me about that which I’m planning to post tomorrow, I felt it really hit home.

    2. Pat Thompson

      small Amish groups

      We love our Amish. My daughter assists with travel for these people. They are an asset to Farmer’s Market. Their pastries can be found in some of the cafes in this area. Thank you for honoring our people. I hope that is not prideful.

      1. Neat to hear that Pat, do you mean the Amish in Burke’s Garden or another community?

    3. Jerry

      So pleased you made it to BG

      Isn’t that an amazing place? I grew up near there and relatives still have their name on one of those homestead signs. Mattie is the anchor of the area but she probably got more from you than you got from her. She’s just as curious as we are. Also she sold her first store so now two Amish businesses are the only retail in the valley. The people love the Amish and what they do for the community. 13 families were living there last July. I think Mattie said they have about 20 students in the school with a male teacher.
      And yes there is so much more to the story, can’t wait to read your details and delighted we both experienced this historical settlement.

      1. I thought it was great Jerry! You are the one that got my attention about this community. I hope the weather is good tomorrow, I plan to make another visit, though I know Mattie’s Place will be closed 🙂

        1. Jerry Lamie

          So happy you took the effort.

          Hi Eric, You made my year by visiting BG. Truly a unique place. Many of those cabins on the way into the valley are owned by people from NC. Some from Charlotte who drive up for the weekend. Next time chat with the locals and you will make some lifetime friends. Many are from NY. Good people. You must visit the old school building. The Amish rent one room for their school. BG has the potential of becoming a collection of a huge community of our wonderful friends and you could watch it all happen. The place is the for just what the Amish seek. Many of those huge farms could be divided into several homesteads. Don’t give up and watch the birth of something amazing.

          1. Seems like a great community. Neat to know more about them from you. I’ve enjoyed going through the “Images of America” book on the community I picked up. I noticed certain family names repeating in the valley, such as “Rhudy”.

        2. Jerry Lamie

          I could easily see myself buying one of those small houses with a few acres and retiring there and be close to my family. Right now I’m more attracted to the Old Order Mennonite community of Synder County, Pa. I’ve got to get you there. The “Synders” will change your life. I encourage you to visit that area. You will be amazed. They have established “church” buildings scattered in the area. Truly unique. Consider a visit for a couple of days next summer. It’s also close to the Big Valley. Perhaps next summer and attend one of those Amish Auctions to have an amazing Amish experience.

          1. I will keep that visit in mind with your recommendation, Jerry. I know you’ve seen a lot of communities so I take note of what you have to say 🙂 Sounds like a really interesting place.

    4. Al in Ky

      Have you been to the Pearisburg, Va., settlement? It’s not too far from Burke’s Garden.

      1. Not yet – I’m going to have to go there another time. My friend Rich Stevick keeps encouraging me to visit. Have you been there Al?

    5. Al in Ky

      Yes, I visited the community six years ago when the bulk food/deli store was called Nature Way Country Store. Through a previous post here on Amish America I learned that Nature Way is no longer open, but Walker Valley Market has taken its place. From the pictures posted, it looks like a very nice store. When I was at Nature Way, I enjoyed my stop there — the store owner was very friendly, telling me about the community.
      The main thing to remember about the community is that it’s not in Pearisburg, but about 20 miles to the southwest. I entered the community o from the east off State Hwy 100, but on the map it looks like it would be easy to get to from the west off Interstate 77.
      When you go there, I would suggest asking at the Walker Valley Mkt. the location of other Amish businesses to visit in the area. Unlike areas like the Elkhart/Lagrange settlement where the Amish businesses are easy to find, it seems like most businesses there are off on hilly roads.

      1. Thanks, Al. I’ll refer back to your comment when I do go there. I hope to do so in the coming year (probably with another Burke’s Garden visit). Good tip on the businesses not being as visible in that community.