In 2015 it was reported that Amish were moving to Vermont, to the area of Orleans County, part of a region known as the Northeast Kingdom.
Vermont joined Maine to become the second New England state to currently have an Amish community. The Black Hills Pioneer (no longer online) updates us on the group three years later:
BROWNINGTON — The yellow street signs showing a horse-drawn Amish buggy near the Old Stone House Museum are not to alert drivers to the historical museum up ahead, but to the fact the dirt roads in this rural northern Vermont town are now frequently traveled by new Amish residents in the community.
Beginning in 2015, a handful of Amish families from Pennsylvania began purchasing farmland, homes and barns.
The Brownington Parochial School began recently and children can be seen walking to and from the school.
Before the school was opened this year, the Amish families had been home-schooling their children, said Lovina Miller, who moved to Brownington with her husband, Levi, and their family.
The Millers run a baked goods stand at their farm on School House Road near Route 5A on Saturdays, and across the stand, they have a small building that houses hand-made quilts, pot holders, furniture, maple syrup and other goods the family sells.
The family moved here from Albion, Pennsylvania, and are Pennsylvania Dutch, she said.
It’s a nice update which discusses things like why they came (land prices, liked the area), their school (“We will meet state and federal regs that do not object to our religious beliefs” they wrote in their application), and a “monthly Amish dinner” held at the local Old Stone Museum.
There’s also a neat story from realtor Dan McClure, who helped them get set up in the area:
Maclure recalled one day getting a phone call about 4 p.m. on a cold December day.
“The first group I met with that ended up in Brownington, they had hired a driver with a van. They called me and they were in St. Johnsbury, about 4 p.m.,” said Maclure.
They wanted to see a farm they had learned of. He told them, “It’s going to be dark.”
Maclure agreed to meet them closer to his farm in Barton, at a gas station in Orleans, and they hoped to pitch tents on his land and sleep in sleeping bags, they told him when he asked where they planned to stay.
A realtor for 34 years, Maclure had never encountered anything like this situation.
He wasn’t sure if someone had found the farm in Brownington on the internet and shared it with the Amish family or just how they came to know of farms being available in the NEK, Maclure said.
Maclure said, “It was supposed to be 10 degrees,” that night, and he couldn’t let them sleep in tents. They asked if he had a barn.
“I drove right by the barn,” he said, with the van and its driver and the Amish family following. “I can’t put these people in my barn,” Maclure remembers thinking. “I drove up to my house and I told them they could stay in our finished basement … The driver was very happy because he could take a hot shower and had a bed.”
There were probably 8 to 10 people in the van, said Maclure. “They all got out and made themselves at home in my basement and the next morning I went out looking for them and they had all their food and their sandwiches made and they were having breakfast sitting on the floor of my garage. They are very, very neat. One of them said to me, ‘I can’t believe you let total strangers stay in your house,’ and I said, ‘You guys aren’t with the Amish mafia, or anything, are you? They all smiled or grinned.”
“I think I gained their trust by helping them,” said Maclure.
Lovina Miller says the community has been welcoming, and that “we have made a lot of friends.”
Read the rest here.