“They wanted to see a particular place,” Maclure recalled. “I told them it was getting awful dark. Let’s wait until morning. They asked if they might camp in a field or barn.” They’d brought sleeping bags.
Maclure wouldn’t hear of it. “I said, ‘No, you’re not sleeping in a field.’ “
He invited the strangers home. “They seemed nice, decent people. They’d come a long way.”
That was 2013. The next year, Amish bought a couple of properties in Brownington. Barely anyone noticed.
By 2015 — the real “Year of the Amish” for Vermont — some 16 families, usually including a passel of kids and a grandparent or three, had acquired more farmland and moved to Brownington and Barton, an adjoining town, according to a tally of names and real estate records.
This is the state’s sole Amish settlement. Where did they come from?
According to an Amish newspaper, The Diary — which reports on crops, births, deaths, weddings, and migrations in the form of letters from Amish faithful — 16 households have moved to Vermont. About 150 people. All hail from Erie County, Pa., and Ashtabula County, Ohio.
Helping to bring in Christmas trees. Photo: Colin Nickerson/Boston Globe
On helping with the local Christmas tree harvest:
Adam Parke, a non-Amish Christmas tree grower, last year cautiously hired his first crew of Amish to help bring in the annual harvest.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. Now he’s hooked: “They are obliging, diligent folk — a day’s work means a day’s work.”
A pragmatic approach to life:
“A craft must be learned,” said Jacob Kauffman, a cabinet maker who set aside work on a fine hickory piece to talk. In life, he said, Amish “take what is useful. What is not useful, we have no need for.”
A portrait of evening in this community:
Come nightfall, especially during growing seasons, one can see the twinkle of lights dancing like fireflies in fields and barnyards — it’s Amish wearing battery-powered headlamps, a rare concession to modern times. The interiors of their homes are lit by kerosene lanterns. Of a winter evening, after supper, Amish families will gather around the wood stove.
“Perhaps we are reading” stories from the Bible, said a young man who asked that his name not be used. “Perhaps we are talking about the day’s work. Perhaps we are enjoying the silence and the peace.”
Read it in full here.
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