Reader Lee Annette recently visited Kalona, Iowa – both the town and the surrounding Amish community.

Some of you might recall that Don Burke gave us a thorough look at this settlement in 2014, via his set of beautiful winter photos of the area.

Photo by Don Burke

Kalona is the oldest and largest Amish community in the Hawkeye State, comprising 11 churches in size. At least one of those churches is a New Order group, making this one of the few places where you’ll find both New Order and other affiliations in one settlement.

This was one of the first Amish communities I spent time in and have fond memories of it, though it’s been 15+ years since my time there.

I sold books to Amish in this community and remember one evening having some problem related to my car while stopped at one farm (locking my keys in my car, or maybe it was engine trouble?) and spending some time in one friendly Amish family’s kitchen.

I didn’t hang out in the town much, maybe driving through a couple of times.

Lee Annette gives us a look at both the town and the surrounding community. Looks like a cozy place to visit. The following are her photos and comments.

Kalona the Town & Businesses

Lee Annette: We went purely to buy the “made on site” peanut butter from the Kalona General Store in downtown.

It is the BEST ever. They only had 2 containers and they offered to make more for us (what??) so we ate at their small restaurant inside the store – all fantastically home made dishes.

When we were done we went to the counter to pay and saw them rolling away the peanut grinding machine. We bought about 8 containers of peanut butter. They sell 3-4 different kinds.

ACE Hardware was next. Super nice folks with a great upbeat sense of humor. I believe they are Mennonite.

Highlights: free popcorn and they use an antique cash register. I took a pic of it – not sure how it works.

Best of Iowa: Eclectic décor and gifts right beside antiques. They also have a small event area that you can rent out too.

Quilt blocks in the sidewalk: From Travel Iowa website – Patterns in 42 quilt blocks installed in sidewalks throughout the downtown reflect Biblical themes, trades and images from everyday life. 

Take a tour at your own leisure, learning about each block.

Kalona Coffee House: Great coffee, warm décor, open seating and available rooms to socialize.

Golden Delight Bakery: Also a store with bulk items, Amish furniture and handmade items and of course a bakery.

Typical and tasty.

The Kalona Creamery:


The Kalona Amish Community

Erik: I didn’t get as many comments from Lee Annette for these photos, so I’ll take a crack at filling in.

Here’s the view from Golden Delight Bakery.

The Community Country Store Annex. “Annex” suggests there is another store, somewhere, attached to this one. Note the buggy parked at left:

A buggy traveling on a four-lane highway. This might be state highway 1 which bisects the settlement.

Not sure why the turn signal is on, unless the driver is merging over for a left turn.

An Amish school:

A big thank-you to Lee Annette for sharing with us today.

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