Two Views of Big Valley

Big Valley Amish farm
Big Valley farm at high speed.

Big Valley Amish buggiesOutside a buggy shop.

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    1. Kate

      Are these yellow buggies belonging to the “Nebraska Amish”?

    2. Bill

      Hi Kate,
      I believe the yellow buggies belong to the “Byler” Amish. The “Nebraska” Amish drive white topped buggies. The “Renno” Amish drive black topped buggies. These communities are particular to the Mifflin County PA area. If I’m not mistaken the “Ordnung” of the Nebraska community is sticter than the ordnung of the Byler community and the ordnung of the Renno community is less strict than the Byler group. Did I get it right Erik? 🙂

      Here in western PA the Lawrence County/New Wilmington community drive brown topped buggies while the rest of the communities drive black topped “Ohio” (slanted side) style buggies. Aside from a small Nebraska (white top) community just across the border in Ohio I believe all communities west and south of PA drive black buggies.

    3. Amish coffee cups

      Bill, sounds like you nailed it. Byler-Renno-Nebraska is about how it goes. Within these groups there are variations as well, for example there area four or five Nebraska groups, some less conservative, others moreso. Recently I was in a Nebraska house that seemed quite modern, at least compared to what you’d expect–a collection of coffee cups displayed on the wall, skylight, a few other things.

      On the buggy colors you’re right on the Nebraska group just over the border, but then a few other PA transplants outside of the state do come to mind, ie in Indiana, which would drive grey-topped buggies.

    4. Charge controller

      I read with interest that the Amish are using solar power for their lighting now. They are wireing their homes for twelve volt and consider this as nothing more than nature. It is considered as natural as their cows eating hay or grass. I think it is wonderful and wish we could all do the same. God knows, the planet can use all the help it can get.

    5. I stubbled on this website, just checking on how my bed and breakfast website was showing up on the internet. I’m very pleased with all your information on the Amish. We’ve only had our bnb open for a couple years, but our guests are so interested in the Amish way of life. Our valley is truely a peaceful valley and home to the 3 groups of Amish as you have described. We’re blested to live here among them. Erik, you must come visit sometime!

    6. Claudia very glad you found us. I was wondering about the levels of tourism you see in Big Valley. I visited in 2008, obviously it is nothing like Lancaster, but I could see how a nice BnB would do well. It’s a beautiful place.

    7. Our valley has not become a big tourist attraction so far. Most of our guests either have ties to the valley through family connections and come back to relive their childhood memories. It’s rare I have someone come visit who have searched out an Amish community to visit. It’s my opinion the internet search turn up much to do in Lancaster County and that ends up being the biggest place of interest. People just haven’t realized we have a true handle on the real simple life of the Amish. It can take most of a day just driving around the back roads of the valley and stopping in at the many small Amish Businesses, all on their farms and sometimes the “shop” is a room in their house. Truely unique! Residents of State College, which is only a 30 minute drive are starting to find the valley and the good buys on produce and items in the greenhouses. Since farm land is tight, alot of the Amish have turned to other business adventures such as greenhouses, produce farming rather than dairy, capenter shops (beautiful furniture), small dry goods stores, bake shops, quilt shops, soap & candle shops, etc. It’s a buyers paridise, as the prices are so low. The views are incredible, which I have had an artist come to paint in the tranquility. We are so blessed!