With all the talk about isolation and distancing lately, I thought it would be a good time to look back at an Amish community that’s among the most isolated of all – the one at Burke’s Garden, Virginia.

Some of you will remember I visited this place last Thanksgiving. I actually made two stops in this community – once on the way up to Holmes County, and once again on Thanksgiving morning on the way home to NC. Today’s photos were all taken on Thanksgiving morning.

For those that missed earlier posts, Burke’s Garden was formed from the collapse of limestone caverns collapse long ago (it’s not an extinct volcano, though you can see why some might think so). Only one paved road goes into the valley, through a twisting mountain pass.

Image: virginia.org

There is a small Amish community here, comprising about 14 households. This is the actually the second settlement in this area. The first was founded in 1990 before dwindling out in 1999.

Over a decade later, Amish began arriving to settle the valley once again. This latest group started in 2012, and has ties to the Amish from Dover, Delaware.

I made a second stop back here to see the area more in the daylight and to drive around the remainder of the roads which ring the interior of the valley.

As you drive if you’ve got your eyes open you’ll notice Amish places scattered throughout the valley, tucked away here and there.

 

Cattle-raising is big business here.

I passed just one buggy on the road that morning.

All through the valley you’ll see these characteristic signs indicating where people live.

For some reason hex signs barn quilts* are prevalent throughout the community, but mainly (all?) on non-Amish places. *Thanks to readers who pointed out my mistake in naming these two similar-looking designs.

Up ahead, the pavement ends.

And eventually the road itself.

There are some abandoned homes in the valley. Here’s one of them coming…

And going.

There is an old post office in the center of the valley, which now houses the Burke’s Garden Artisan Guild.

“God’s Land.”

There are a couple of Amish food stores here – the General Store, and Mattie’s Place, which I did a post on as well. There are several other businesses, including a greenhouse and a cabinet shop.

Miller’s Wooden Crafts.

“Also the Handyman of the Garden.”

Here’s a sign off the main road in the valley. On an old door. I’m not sure if this is pointing to an Amish place or not.

The Central Lutheran Church with its cemetery on a hillside:

Finally, before I finish: If you read this post carefully, you may have caught at the top that I wrote there is only one “paved” road into the valley.

There is also a “back entrance” which is gravel, and according to what Mattie told me, a lot more windy than the paved way in. You can see what she means by this Google Maps shot:

Here’s the warning sign before you continue:

I only went up a little way, but was able to catch a few nice views over the valley.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip through Burke’s Garden.


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