The Amish in Maryland: 2023 Guide

Maryland‘s three Amish communities are scattered to its far corners – one in the eastern upper corner of the state, another in the Appalachians of the far west, and the largest in St. Mary’s County in the southern Chesapeake Bay area. In recent years the state has also seen “spillover” settlement by Amish from the neighboring Lancaster County, PA community.

However, unlike neighboring states (such as Virginia or West Virginia), the Old Line State has attracted relatively little new Amish settlement over the past two decades. As of 2023, the estimated Amish population in Maryland is over 1,800 people, most of whom live in the sizeable St. Mary’s County settlement.

maryland amish laundry
Laundry lines on a rainy wash day in St. Mary’s County, Maryland

Amish communities in Maryland

  • St. Mary’s County – Located near the town of Mechanicsville, this community of about 1,600 Amish was founded by Lancaster Amish transplants in 1940
  • Oakland – By far the oldest present-day Amish community in the state, Oakland in Garrett County is home to “electric New Order” Amish
  • Cecilton – A small community of just one church district is found in Cecil County on the state’s Delmarva peninsula.
  • Lancaster County Amish in Maryland – A significant number of Amish have settled over the border in Maryland from neighboring Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
  • Maryland Amish Markets – For several days each week, Amish from outside the state operate stands at suburban and city markets (Baltimore-area and other locations)

St. Mary’s County (Mechanicsville)

A community of Amish have lived in the highly-populated area south of Washington, DC since 1940. The St. Mary’s County settlement was founded by Amish from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in response to pressures over schooling.

amish maryland farm
Amish farms are found along long dead-end roads in the St. Mary’s County, MD community

Schools in Lancaster County were being consolidated at the time, and a group of Amish from the community decided to found a new settlement a couple hours south in Maryland. Amish objected to the wider trend towards larger schools removed from their local communities. In Maryland, they hoped to escape conflict over their children’s education.

Today (2023) the St. Mary’s County community numbers 10 church districts, with an estimated population of 1,575 Amish people (see Young Center 2023 Amish Population by County and State). Amish here maintain ties with Lancaster County Amish, and drive similar distinctive grey-topped buggies.

amish furniture maryland
An Amish furniture business sign in southern Maryland

Related communities can be found in neighboring Virginia (Charlotte County) as well as at Athens, Wisconsin and Johnsonville, Illinois, among other places. Like their counterparts in Lancaster County, Amish here maintain dairy farms, raise produce, and operate numerous small businesses.

And like a few other eastern seaboard settlements such as those in Lancaster County and at Dover, Delaware, Amish in St. Mary’s County have experienced pressures due to the growing population in the region.

maryland amish phone
An Amish phone shanty in St. Mary’s County

St. Mary’s County is also home to a community of Old Order Mennonites (Old Order Mennonites bear similarities to Amish, including use of the horse-and-buggy). While the Amish live mainly in the northern part of the county, Old Order Mennonites can be found further south near Loveville. Read more on the Amish in St. Mary’s County, MD.

Oakland (Garrett County)

The oldest Amish community in Maryland also belongs to one of the more unusual groups in all of Amish society. Amish at Oakland in Garrett County (the state’s westernmost county) are considered part of the “electric” New Order Amish affiliation.

Electric New Order Amish are perhaps the most progressive when it comes to technology allowed. Crossing a line which most Amish avoid, Amish at Oakland permit the use of public electricity in the home. They stand in contrast to the “nonelectric” New Order churches, which do not.

Despite this allowance, they are still considered Amish by other Amish churches. They use the horse-and-buggy, wear plain clothing, and adhere to many of the same cultural traditions and beliefs as other Amish people.

Amish at Oakland, Maryland sing in the community’s church meetinghouse. Note the lighting reflecting this group’s status as an “electric” New Order Amish church. Photo: Simon Kinsinger/YouTube

The Oakland community is quite old. Founded in 1850, the community later came to be associated with the electric New Order movement, which itself came about in the mid-20th century. Scholar G.C. Waldrep notes, however, that “the older Amish settlements at Hutchinson, Kansas and Oakland, Maryland have electricity and are generally classed with the electric New Orders, but their ministers do not, at last report, participate in the annual minister’s meeting” (Waldrep, p. 399).

For a community of over 170 years in age, Oakland is small, with only one church district. However, as of 2007 the district was twice the size of most, described as having around 70 households (see Waldrep, p. 424). As of 2023, the local Amish population numbers about 170 individuals (large by Amish standard for a single church district). Like some other New Order Amish communities, the settlement at Oakland has attracted some converts to the Amish.

Cecilton (Cecil County)

The Cecilton community is Maryland’s “youngest”, founded in 1999 (so not exactly “young” at about a quarter-century old). The community lies in Cecil County, on Maryland’s Delmarva peninsula, about an equal distance from the cities of Dover and Wilmington in Delaware.

maryland amish cecil county
One of the few signs of Amish in Cecil County, Maryland

The Amish at Cecilton are also just a short distance from the southernmost homes in the Lancaster County settlement (approximately 30 miles away). The settlement itself has grown very slowly despite its close proximity to the Lancaster community, and numbers only around 90 Amish residents today.

Lancaster County Amish “spillover”

Though the state of Maryland has just three “official” Amish communities, these aren’t the only Amish living within the state’s borders. That is because a number of Amish technically belonging to the Lancaster County, PA group have settled over the state border in Maryland. With the growth of the Lancaster settlement (at well over 40,000 Amish people and counting), the community has not only expanded into other Pennsylvania counties, but in this case, a neighboring state.

Amish from the Lancaster/Chester County, PA settlement have settled in northern Maryland in recent years

Amish have settled in northern Cecil County near the Pennsylvania border, notably in the areas of Rising Sun and North East. This would not be considered a part of the Cecilton community, but rather an extension of the Lancaster community. One observer estimates that there are “likely hundreds” of Amish living in this area, which if accurate may boost the official estimate of Amish in Maryland by even 10-20%.

Amish Markets in Maryland

In addition to the state’s permanent Amish residents, Maryland is home to a number of Pennsylvania Dutch Markets (aka Amish Markets), where Amish stand owners (often from communities in Pennsylvania) operate businesses including bakeries, furniture stores, pretzel stands, and cheese and meats outlets.

This form of business is particularly popular among Amish in the highly entrepreneurial Lancaster County, PA community – a way of taking the “Amish experience” to the city or suburbs. Amish markets can be found in the vicinity of Baltimore and in the Washington, DC area. Locations of such markets include Germantown, Laurel, Annapolis, Joppa, Hagerstown, Easton, and others.

Amish workers prepare and bake pretzels at the Northpoint Amish Market in Dundalk, Maryland. Image: James Lingg/YouTube

While technically (in most cases) not residents of Maryland, these Amish provide a temporary “boost” to the Plain presence in the state. Most Pennsylvania Dutch markets operate three days per week (usually Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Amish commonly operate the stands as families, involving both parents and children. Some may commute even one to two hours in one direction from home to market and back again. Check out our guide for more on Amish markets in Maryland.

Extinct Maryland Amish Communities

Maryland has seen only a few attempts to settle by Amish. Besides the current communities, however, one other very long-lasting settlement existed just outside present-day Baltimore. The community at Long Green just northeast of Baltimore city was founded in 1833, and lasted for 120 years, before disappearing in the 1950s.

Lying 15 miles outside Baltimore, this community was founded by Lancaster County Amish during the slave era. Historian David Luthy cites this as a reason few Amish ever settled in Long Green. “Most Amishmen in that era viewed the Mason-Dixon line as uncrossable,” notes Luthy. “One descendant of the settlers stated: “Long Green was a rich farming valley and land was cheap. More Lancaster County folks would have come had there been no slavery” (Luthy, Settlements that Failed, p. 169).

On the outskirts of modern-day Baltimore, Long Green was for 120 years the location of a small Amish community

This settlement never grew large, and eventually made some progressive adaptions, such as building a meetinghouse in 1899. The community dwindled over time, with the last member dying in 1953 (Luthy, Setlements That Failed, p. 172-173).

Why don’t more Amish settle in Maryland?

Despite its close proximity to Pennsylvania, Maryland has not attracted much settlement by Amish. Only a handful of communities have ever been founded in the Old Line State. And contrary to the trends in surrounding states, Maryland has failed to attract new Amish settlements in recent years.

By comparison, next-door Virginia has added six Amish settlements since 2019, including communities started by Amish from overcrowded Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. So why have Amish found Maryland less attractive to settle, especially with neighboring Pennsylvania having the largest Amish population of any state?

maryland amish fabric shop
Small shops and farm products generate income for Amish. Outside a fabric shop in St. Mary’s County, MD

One reason is that the highly-populated Baltimore – DC corridor, consuming much of the state’s land area, prevents much Amish settlement. Amish who do live near this area experience land and population pressures similar to those of Amish in densely-settled Lancaster County. When seeking a fresh start in a new state, it may very well be that places like Virginia or New York offer more opportunities for available farmland, with inactive farms more abundant and easier to acquire.

For this reason, Maryland is unlikely to see the degree of future Amish settlement as other states which offer more attractive conditions for settlement, such as cheaper farmland. Still, with an uninterrupted Amish presence for nearly 200 years, and with its current long-established electric New Order community and Lancaster County daughter settlements, the state is significant to the Amish story.

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    34 Comments

    1. Do the Amish dress and package beef and pork as was done in the seventies. My family is interested in purchasing meats from the Amish. What are the requirements to accomplish this request. If so, is there any way to contact the Amish in Mechanicsville, Md or Lancaster, PA

      1. Merrillyn Watts

        Amish butcher shoo

        If you are familiar with mechanicsville there is an Amish butcher shop on Westham Lane off Woodburn Hill Road. They have cutting on Friday and Saturday. They have beef and pork along with cheese and some other items as well. If you need further information you may contact me at 2405387408. I am a retired driver for the Amish and live in the community

    2. Sydney

      I visited an “Amish Market” in Burtonsville, MD which has since moved to Laurel, MD. I didn’t think to ask what district they were from. Does anyone know?

      1. Robin Miller

        Also, Sydney, I believe the Amish who are vendors at the markets in Laurel and formerly at Burtonsville are from Lancaster County. I know that the vendors at the Annapolis market come down from Lancaster County. Have had some nice conversations with the delightful teens who work there.

    3. Rachel Ward

      I know both of those shops and who runs them!

      1. Do these communities welcome visitors?

        @Rachel Ward
        You stated that you knew who ran 2communities? I’m visiting Maryland for the first time next month. Which Amish community is closer to Maryland? Do they allow visitors? I’m trying to get the most out of my visit. Thank you for any information.

    4. Robin Miller

      I grew up outside of Washington, DC and not far from the Southern Maryland/St. Mary’s County Amish settlements. It was always a treat, fascinating to drive the side roads around Charlotte Hall area as a child. Also, we’d pass through the Loveville area and always thought that those settled there were Amish … now I know the difference! We are driving to Maryland this weekend and am looking forward to our pass through St. Mary’s County, hoping to stop at the market in Charlotte Hall.

    5. Melissa

      Nice little Dutch Market in Laurel...

      The “Dutch Market” in Laurel, MD is a nice little market. Their meats, cheeses, desserts, and fruits/veggies are always top notch! I was there a few times at the end of the weekend and saw them loading things into trailers and vans with PA plates on them, so I would assume they are Lancaster Amish. I miss being able to go to that market and the Bird-in-Hand market in PA.

      Eric–have you ever visited the Amish settlements in Oklahoma? I would love to find out more about what they might have to offer in way of markets/bulk dry goods.

      1. OK Amish

        Melissa my orbits haven’t yet taken me to Oklahoma, but since it has my favorite name of all states, I need to someday!

        Here is a little piece I wrote on the Amish in OK though…it’s not super detailed on the businesses, but it mentions some names of food-related businesses (also the auction), which you can then Google for more specific details: https://amishamerica.com/oklahoma-amish/

        Come to think of it Oklahoma might also have the best postal abbreviation 🙂 It’s at least pretty OK 😉

    6. Tracye

      Kitchen cabinets

      Im interested in shaker style cabinets for my kitchen. Was in a cabinet store and saw shaker style cabinets called” wave hill” . Do you make this cabinet and if so where can I purchase them. I already have measurements.

      1. Tracye here is a list of Maryland Amish furniture sellers. You might find something convenient for your situation here: https://amishamerica.com/amish-furniture-maryland/

    7. Steve

      free wood

      I have a distribution company that has a waste product of wooden crates. We send them to the landfill but I want to find an Amish group that could recycle them into their finished products.

    8. Kelly B

      Amish Markets

      Looking for an Amish Market to rent space in Essex MD. Approx 10-30 K square feet for really cheap. How would I go about contacting someone to see if there would be an interest to open an Amish Market in that area? Any help is appreciated.

    9. MESFIN TADELE

      request

      how i can meet someone from Amish Mennonite church. may be a church leader.

    10. gilfish

      more maryland amish

      For what its worth. There are by my count at least nine Amish families who live in northern Cecil County MD. That is not counting the Amos Esh family whose house is in Pa. but whose barn 50 ft. away is in MD. They all belong to church districts with the southern Chester County Pa. Amish

      1. Thanks gilfish for adding this to our info. I may have driven past a home or two of which you speak. I believe we’d still consider these families part of the Lancaster County settlement even though they spill over into Maryland. You see this in some settlements, such as the Elkhart-Lagrange, Indiana community with families in Michigan, and the Adams County, Indiana settlement with households in Ohio. Nice to know though.

    11. joasamps

      home constructions/home plansh

      I’m looking for someone (Amish of course) to possibly build a small 1200 to 1400 square foot home in Maryland. Location is about 10 miles west of Dover, Delaware. Lots of Amish were noticed in Delaware but not in Maryland, eastern shore. I’m looking to use some windows and such, that is in my current home.
      Do you have any ideas?
      Thanks

    12. Duane Yoder

      Grantsville Amish

      There is also an Amish community in Grantsville Maryland also Garrett County but very distinct from Oakland. Linked to the Somerset PA Amish and for sure non electric. There is a long history.

    13. Brendan Reagan

      Looking for information

      I am looking for more information about Amish buildings, products, and clothing. I would very much appreciate it if someone had time to talk or correspond with me.

      Thank you for your time and attention.

      Sincerely,

      Brendan P. Reagan

    14. Raphael Kim

      Autumn Glory Festival at Garrett County (Oakland, MD)

      I’ve been visited Autumn Glory Festival on 1994 and 1995 at Oakland MD (Garrett County).

      I was student at Pittsburgh, PA

      My ELI instructor John Smith introduced this beautiful festival and
      me and John volunteered help this festival!

      I can’t forget breakfast at Amish community!

      Now, I am living at Canada and lost contact information my old friend Jon Smith and still missing this County!

      My friend John Smith’s father was retired Ministry at county church!

      If anybody or If I am a lucky, I can see them again!

    15. Baltimore

      This information is inaccurate and makes me think the Amish population is not being accurately counted in Maryland. Cecilton is not the only area in Cecil County with an Amish population. Go towards Rising Sun or Port Deposit and there are dozens of Amish farms and businesses. The Amish are buying up all the farms up there, and even East of Rising Sun towards the PA border closer to Elkton, you can occasionally see Amish buggies on the rural road. Amish are buying up a lot of the farmland in Cecil county.

      Also, the Amish in Kent County, Delaware have been buying farmland in neighboring Kent County, MD. The Eastern Shore of Maryland is still very rural by Lancaster or Delaware standards, so it won’t surprise anyone that the Amish in Lancaster and near Dover are interested in the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

      1. AJ

        You are correct. The Amish population is being under counted in Maryland. There are many Amish in the northern-tier of Maryland. The Amish near Rising Sun are never mentioned, and my assumption is that the Amish/Mennonite population near the towns of Rising Sun/Northeast are much larger compared to the Cecilton population. There are many new Amish families in that area that weren’t there 10-yrs ago. I would agree that the Amish-census is not reliable at least when it comes to Maryland.

        It may be that for states like Maryland the census is a decade or so behind the actual facts.

      2. Robin

        Agree

        Agree we just came thru Taneytown Md and there are definitely amish there

    16. Kelly Anne Wright

      I think I’ve seen Amish farms in Rising Sun, MD, Cecil County too.

    17. Kelly Anne Wright

      Some Amish come down from Lancaster County to Joppa Amish Market in Harford County. They’re there Thur, Fri, and Sat. Good pretzels!

    18. Boyce Rensberger

      A new settlement in Maryland

      Amish families have just moved from Lancaster County into Frederick County, Maryland. I don’t know how many have come or will come, but I’m pleased to see them. I believe this is the first time Amish have settled in Frederick County.

    19. Amish Movement

      I live in Southern York County PA. We have seen a huge influx of Amish moving into my area. We are surrounded now by Amish farms that they either bought the land and built or refurbished an existing English farm for their needs. They are buying as little as 5 acres and as many as a few hundred acre farms. Most are coming from Lancaster County. In speaking with them, it seems they are escaping the traffic and development of Lancaster county. I’m thrilled to have them on this side of the river and I frequent their businesses and farm stands to buy their products and wonderful produce. We had no Amish on my road (they were on adjoining roads though) when I moved here in 2006 and now every farm that has sold but one since I moved here, is owned and occupied by the Amish. I also think they are renting out previous English houses (with electricity and modern utilities) on land that they have purchased to English people, at least until they build there themselves. I also have seen some evidence of possible Amish owned riverfront homes at Long Level, possibly purchased and refurbished by Amish and are listed on a few AirBnB websites. I am curious if they own those properties or were just doing all the refurbishing work and after they were placed on the AirBnB sites, I see Amish women doing the weekly cleaning of those houses and men doing outdoor chores, so it appears they own them as income producing properties.

    20. Amish in Montana

      Had an opportunity to visit an Amish School in Montana. Amazed at the disciplined children

    21. Hans Overturf

      Amish in Maryland

      Dear Erik,
      I am always surprised anew of your extensive real life exploration of the Amish, whenever I receive your newsletter. Thank you very much to share with us “English” the particularities of various Amish communities. It is very much appreciated.

      By the way, we live right next to Schleitheim, where they have one of the three originals of the Schleitheim Confession at the local museum. Each year, we have a handful of Amish and Menonites come and visit. I have not met any of them yet, but wish to do so when they visit the museum and the area.

      Hans

      Merry Christmas to all.

    22. Jerry

      Amish in MD.

      I’ve seen Amish farms just over the border in Adams County, PA. On route 194 south from Littlestown, PA, just before Taneytown, MD. Also noticed a sign “wanting to buy farms” in that part of MD.

    23. George

      I live close to the Amish and Mennonite communities in St. Mary’s Co. but closer to the Mennonite area. I shop in both communities, although most of the time in the Mennonite community. Even though there are places to shop much closer, I always enjoy visiting the various Amish and Mennonite farms and businesses and introducing others to them. Almost all of the Mennonites are Old Order and for anyone not familiar with the differences, as you know, it is easy to assume they are all the same. Although the communities seem fairly stable, some I know have moved to Virginia and even as far as Michigan. Two of the reasons, as the article and as your article from 2010 mentions, and as some Mennonites have told me, they are moving to Virginia, are the price of land and population density. Southern Maryland, which includes St. Mary’s and Calvert Co. is becoming more developed and becoming, more and more, bedroom communities of DC, especially in the Northern areas of the counties. The Northern neck of Virgina, which lies just across the Potomac River from St. Mary’s Co. has been one of the destinations. It includes 5 counties and only 50,000 inhabitants according to the 2020 census. By contrast, St. Mary’s County alone had a population of almost 114,000 in the 2020 census.
      Thanks for your newsletter. I always look forward it.

    24. Andre Leveille

      Thank you for the good read.

    25. Margaret Smith

      Amish in Maryland

      The Amish are making a community in Maryland below Littlestown, PA in Carroll County, Frederick County, Maryland. Up to 50 families.

    26. Hi, just wanted to let you know that this furniture company (S.A. Littles and company fine furniture) in downtown frederick, MD advertises on its physical door “Amish” implying their products are Amish, not sure if they are though. https://www.salittles.com/