Four-state Amish tour

Tomorrow (Monday) I ship off on a weeklong trip to East Coast Amish communities.  I’ll be visiting these settlements:

  • Halifax County, VA
  • Charlotte County, VA
  • Lancaster County, PA
  • Big Valley, PA
  • Cecil County, MD
  • Dover, DE

And maybe one or two others.

Big Valley I have visited, and Lancaster I know well.  The others are all new.

Curious if anyone is familiar with these communities.  The Dover Amish settlement is an old one–the only community in Delaware, and one I’ve meant to visit for a long while.  The two Virginia communities and the Maryland community I know little about, other than they are quite small and relatively new.

Will try to post while I’m on the road, but may be a bit more difficult than normal.  I’m looking forward to seeing friends in PA, and in general, the chance to travel.

I always enjoy taking trips, and visiting new places, especially Amish settlements I’ve never been to before.

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    32 Comments

    1. Alice Aber

      Have a safe trip and have fun Erik!!! I don’t know anything about those communities so will be waiting for a full report from you.

      Blessings, Alice

    2. Gordon Bjorkman

      Erik,

      Have a safe and enjoyable tour of the Counties and families!

      Looking forward to your return, as well!

      Gordon

    3. Daniel Endy

      We’re doing a sweethearts banquet at Yoder’s in New Holland on Tuesday.

    4. Erik, good week to visit Big Valley. Weather is to be warm in the 40-50’s here. Would be nice to meet you if you stop around. Don’t forget Wednesday is the weekly livestock and flea market!
      Claudia

    5. Nelson

      Are you going to visit Pearisburg VA?
      I would strongly encourage you to do so, if at all possible,,,
      If you do go to Old Churh lane and visit with my good buddy there who came in from non-plain background,
      He was a 5 point calvinist and goes by the initials C,P, If you have any questions there ask around.
      he is a very interesting chap.

    6. Naomi

      I am really looking forward to a Virginia entry in the Amish State Guide. I knew that there was an Amish settlement in Charlotte County, because there is a lady who sells some of their products at our local farmer’s market (in Fredericksburg, a 3 hr drive!). She doesn’t advertise the products as being Amish. I think a lot of her customers are under the impression that she produces everything she sells! She has talked about going mushroom hunting with the local Amish boys. Is the Halifax settlement the one mentioned on Ira Wagler’s blog? A former work colleague of my dad’s moved his family to NC and joined an OO church, but more recently they moved to Stuart’s Draft, VA and started attending a conservative Mennonite congregation. I have never visited an Amish settlement in my state, but I have spent some time exploring the OO Mennonite community in Dayton. Safe travels!

    7. Nelson, is that you, ol buddy, the ameritraveler? It’s me, with the last name of Atnip. 🙂

    8. Mike

      Have a nice trip. Have you ever been to the Amish community in Somerset, PA?

    9. Jory

      Have a great trip Eric. I’m not familiar with the Dover, Delaware group. Spent a Christmas vacation in Dover with relatives many years back. I wish I would have known about the Amish group there back then, so as to have had a chance to drive around and search for home-made Amish products. Take care & travel safe!

    10. Appreciate the wishes everyone. Mike I have not visited Somerset Co yet. And Nelson, someone else told me the same about Pearisburg. Unfortunately it is going to be a little too far off my path this time.

    11. Michele

      Have a wonderful trip Erik!!! You are coming our way just in time for a warm spell we will be having this week. Have a safe trip and keep in touch when you can.

    12. Forest

      Hi Erik,
      If you go to http://www.southsidecentral.com and search for “Amish”, you should come up with a list of Amish businesses in the Nathalie area. Hope you have a good trip.

      If you are in South Boston any day but a Sunday or Monday, stop in at the Windmill Bakery on 501 (2221 Wilborn Ave). It’s run by Nathan Good and his son Josh, Mennonites from South Boston. Nice folks and good food. In Hupps Mill Plaza Shopping Ctr. Most of the workers are Mennonite or Amish. (apologies for the little plug there…..)

    13. Richard

      Good morning everyone…. What a life you are living Erik, and im alittle jealous to be honest of seeing all those Amish communities. But you seem like a good guy so that makes it alittle easier to accept,lol. I’m hoping to see some image’s of those states and ill look forward to reading your impressions while on your travels. I’m sure some of this trip will be for research for a possible book down the road, or just to re-charge your Amish information batteries. And don’t forget to let your pals know in the Lancaster area if you get into a jam, ill send a certain fury little fellow whose only job seems to be popping out of a hole once a year driving a ford mustang to the rescue, safe trip Erik and enjoy. Richard. from the Amish community of Lebanon, Pa

    14. John D

      Hello Erik,

      I live outside of Dover, DE. The Amish community here has dimished a bit in the last few years. In fact, many of the farms have “for sale” signs on them even today. If you make it to Delaware, check out Yoder Rd. It has some of the oldest amish settlers. When you come to a new community,how do you make contact with the Amish?

    15. Lance

      Primitive,

      Yes Nelson is that Nelson.

      I took the liberty of answering for him since he has only very intermittent internet access.

    16. linda saul

      Erik, I would love to be going to Lancaster with you. Hopefully you can send us back some pictures. Have a safe trip.

    17. Jessica Sumner

      Erik,
      I spent my high school years just outside Dover & my parents still live in the area. As John stated, the community is becoming smaller. In addition to Yoder Road, check out Rose Valley Road – if you take Rt 8 and turn left onto Rose Valley Road (Byler’s Country Store is a great place for lunch). Anyway Rose Valley will lead to Rt 10 – turn right and follow that out – several farms out that way – and more off the side roads. The farms & businesses are scattered between Pearson’s Corner, Hartly, and Marydel. Have a wonderful time on your trip!
      Jess

    18. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Erik!
      I don’t want to hype anything, but I bet the tour will inspire a lot of fascinating information, particularly the wedding aspects of the trip. I hope you take with you wishes of all the best and decades of love for the young couple from the people who read and post replies here at Amish America.

    19. Amish Observer

      Enjoy you trip. Going to different Amish settlements is my favorite pass times. I’ve been fortunate to have been to several communities in PA, KY, IN, MN, WI IL, & MI. I think I found the communities in KY the most interesting. Again…enjoy! Looking forward to reading your observations after your trip.

    20. Richard

      Just about to run out of the house, thought id see what was going on in Amish America.I wonder where Erik is right about now?, and maybe he will check-in with us at some point.I have a question for you folks, do any of you buy organic products?. ive just posted a video along with a story on a organic farm thats Amish owned in http://www.amishstorys.com. just thought some of you might be interested. ill check back later folks, and everyone enjoy their day. Richard, lenanon,pa.

    21. Lance, tell Nelson to call me at 740 630 4501. I havent heard from him for a long time. We live in Lancaster Co. now. Mike

    22. Mark Biernat

      We are looking forward to your return, whenever you go on one of these Amish excursions you come back with great great new ideas.

      Do you have demographic patterns of the Amish? You may have written about this, but is there a trend towards the east, or north or south or west? Where is the demographic spherical center of the Amish if you were to have a map and where is it going?

    23. Michelle V

      SOooo is it wrong to speculate that the wedding SHOM is refering to might be Erik’s ??? If it is here’s wishing you and yours the very best and if its not we still wish you the very BEST !
      Stay Safe and plezzz Lots of Pics!
      Michelle V from FL

    24. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Uh oh. I think I misread. I am sorry. I don’t see anything about a wedding. I truly thought I read something about Erik attending one, but reviewing his entries of late, I see there is none. I think and believe I misread. I am embarrassed and I am sorry I did so.
      It would be cool if Erik were going to an Amish wedding though and provided a first hand account of the ceremony. Maybe I was thinking about Erik’s report on personalized pens as gifts for guests at Amish weddings.
      My fault! I hope he his having a wonderful trip.

    25. Kate

      Amish Observer,

      Can I ask what Amish communities you visited in MI? I am planning to join a MI Amish church (LW) so I am just curious. Do you know people there or did you just visit the area?

      God bless,
      Kate
      http://www.journeytoamish.blogspot.com

    26. Amish Observer

      Hi Kate,

      In MI, we’ve been to Clare, Centreville, Colon & Nottawa. We don’t know anyone that lives in these areas….we just go thru & visit the various Amish businesses or attend any auctions that may be going on.

    27. Michelle V

      SHOM – I was going by your first comment. LOL Maybe I read to much into it. Afterall, its that time of year when “Love is in the air…”
      Have an awesome day everyone the weekend is almost here! Yea!
      Michelle V from FL

    28. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      In my area it was such a lovely day, since I live in Canada, we register lower temperature numbers, for instance, for much of the day, around these parts it sat at + 9, at least according to the “Weather Network”, but it was windy, walking up one of the oldest roads in my community was something of a task when your walking south and the wind is heading north. It would make a horse and buggy shake mightily. I hope Erik’s weather is just as lovely, but not as, dare I say, brisk – but tis winter…

    29. Amish homes for sale--Dover, Delaware

      Just getting to some comments I missed while I was gone–John D–I did notice quite a few for sale signs in Dover. Apparently quite a few folks have been moving out. I’ll have some more on that pretty soon. I was up and down Yoder road, it is a long stretch of many Amish homes. I didn’t have a map but geographically it seems to run through the center of the settlement.

      Usually when I come to a new community, if I don’t know anyone I will visit businesses and talk to the owners. Often dry goods shops. In Dover there are at least 3 or 4 of those. And back in my book selling days, I would just stop at the first home I saw!

    30. Jess I just saw you wrote on Dover too. I think I basically followed that strategy. Quite a few big developments in there among the Amish. Also a lot of lower-income homes it seems. An odd mix.

    31. Amish migration trends--NY, West

      Mark that is a great question. First of all you have settlements going in different directions from the PA/Midwestern core. You’ve got significant movement towards New York in recent years. Not too much to the northeast or the South, unless you include Kentucky and Missouri in the South. There has been quite a bit of movement to those states. What has gotten a lot of media attention has been Western movement to places like Colorado. These still aren’t huge numbers but may be the beginning of a trend.

      It would be interesting to see someone crunch the data and determine the demographic center. If I had to guess, I would place it probably somewhere around the Indiana-Ohio border. And if I were to guess which way it is moving, I might say slightly west, with those Amish who do migrate leaving more heavily (English) populated areas such as Dover Delaware for emptier states to the West. That is just my educated guess though.

    32. Lancaster Amish wedding season changing?

      Michelle, Shom, love the wedding topic, unfortunately there were none on my agenda on this trip (mine or others), at least not this time around 😉

      But, will be sure to let you know. I did hear some interesting info that Lancaster weddings are being done in the spring now, as the wedding season (Oct-Dec) has gotten pretty packed. One of my friends recently had the dilemma of which of two weddings to attend, and this is a common problem. So the changing wedding season looks like a new development. Of course other communities traditionally have them at other times (like Holmes Co for instance) so don’t have quite the same issue.