Vermont Amish Doing Well 3 Years Later

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.

Sign for an Amish stand in Barton, VT. Photo by Amy Ash Nixon

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.

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    16 Comments

    1. eve

      Vermont Amish

      The last sentence in the article regarding Vermont Amish states a quote from Lovina Miller; “…we have made a lot of friends.”

      Amish do not make friends with “English” people.

      They use, employ and when need to, act in such a way that “English” interrupt that the Amish are considering a friendship with them.

      Wrong.

      Amish when in the company of other Amish will not treat any “English” as a friend.

      That is a known fact from anyone who has been exploited be the Amish.

      1. Eve, I know many English and Amish who would disagree with your statements, myself included.

        I’m sorry if something bad happened to you on an individual level.

        But if you’re trying to stir up trouble here, please take it somewhere else.

      2. Friendship of Amish

        I had the welcoming friendship of two Amish gentlemen who thought it was strange that a Englishman could speak Pennsylvania Dutch and not be Amish. I can also speak German to.

    2. Maureen

      Vermont Amish

      Erik,

      I’m fortunate to be able to state that I have good women friend’s that are Amish. I have not “lived” in their homes, but rather in several cases a cottage on the same premises as their homes/farms. They’re kind and hospitable, and always. respectful. The Christian Farm Community women gather to sew and socialize and here great talking and laughter takes place.

      We look forward to shopping, and I’m one of the drivers. In the car, we laugh till we cry over fun stories and things that have happened during the course of the week. I’m never “used” either – particualrly among the Amish who are extremely generous. If I drive or do some “kindness”, I will find a beautiful, white cotton, modest handmade nightgown draped over a chair by my bed, or a homemade apron hanging on my coat rack. Several weeks ago, a Mennonite teen was “concerned” for my hands, and crafted me a pair of half finger gloves from leather, so I could grip better the reins on a feisty draft gelding.

      The last dozen years working within these Christian Farm Communities has enriched me beyond any expectations. I have seen the Amish restore old, left for ruins farms, barns, and farmhouses – work around the clock and beyond, and bring life back to depressed areas in Central New York and the North Country, when others had no hope and thought it was plain impossible! Moreover, incumbent farmers embraced the Amish particularly, and worked side-by-side on many joint projects. At the end of the day, all here go to their own homes, and give each other the space and privacy to be among their individual culture and practice their own religion and beliefs.

      Having said that, there are areas that are less harmonious, dealing with a myriad of conflicting issues within their specific culture and religion, as well as external situations concerning laws, dairy farming regulations, and unresolved matters that have some picking up and leaving altogether.

      Nothing is certain, and life can be challenging here. But, I can state I’m blessed with having good friends, most of them women, consisting of mostly Baptists, Mennonites, and Amish!.

      1. Sounds like you have some great friendships there, Maureen. And a realistic view on the Amish as a whole. Thanks for sharing this.

    3. eve

      eric; my contribution was not intended to “stir” up trouble.

      I have been blessed to encounter and join in “fellowships” with a variety of amish people.
      To believe that only positive encounters happen with the amish communities is naïve and misleading on your part. not every one has a pair of rose colored glasses they wear when they are in the company of the amish.

      “it takes all kinds of vegetables to make vegetable soup.” – Rudolph Schwartz
      “its o.k. for the amish to take what they can from the English because it says so in the bible.” – Rudolph Schwartz

      “wrong is wrong no matter how many people are for it, right is right no matter how people are against it” – William Penn

      1. Eve, I would hold off on calling anyone naïve 😀 Sounds like you might be new here.

        It might be helpful if you can point out where I suggested “that only positive encounters happen with the amish communities”, as you put it.

        Below, some recent posts where you’ll find that the Amish are not painted with rose-colored glasses, but rather as humans with their own problems and flaws.

        I’ll start with a half-dozen, but we can continue with a lot more if you like:

        https://amishamerica.com/kentucky-amish-farmer-goes-on-trial-over-homemade-health-products/
        https://amishamerica.com/amish-teen-buggy-driver-charged-with-dui-after-hitting-suv/
        https://amishamerica.com/multiple-communities-face-amish-buggy-road-damage/#comment-179141
        https://amishamerica.com/amish-bishop-charged-for-failing-to-report-abuse/
        https://amishamerica.com/indiana-amish-tackle-creeping-heroin-problem/
        https://amishamerica.com/amish-dog-breeders-seek-to-improve-standards-reputation/

        I like the Amish on the whole, and have Amish friends. But I recognize they are human and hardly perfect, and that can lead to conflict both in their communities and with non-Amish.

        But when you make broad all-inclusive statements like:

        ‘Amish do not make friends with “English” people.’

        and

        ‘Amish when in the company of other Amish will not treat any “English” as a friend.’

        …then I have to call that out as extreme in the opposite direction.

        Again, sorry if you had a bad individual experience. I hope you can resolve it, if that is still possible. Be well 🙂

        1. You answered this very well Erik. I think you do a good job of showing both sides of the Amish — the good and the bad. Reality is reality. Eve’s statements the Amish do not make friends with English people is false and hurtful to the many Amish and English people who ARE good friends. I have no idea what happened to Eve to make her say this, but I am glad you called it out as a “broad all-inclusive” statement. I’ve personally had a few bad experiences with people who weren’t Amish — but I cannot fairly say ALL English people are bad or do not make friends or whatever. Let’s be fair and reasonable here.

          1. Judging

            Hi, I’m new to these posts. Listening to both Eric and Amish talk about people in general concerning ones belief. It all comes down to what God has for his PEOPLE, Matthew 7:1 and 7:2.

            1. Thanks John, belatedly. Good verses.

          2. John Amey

            Hope

            Hello Erik,
            While I have yet to take the time to meet and mingle with the new community in Brownington, it is on my
            wish list to do. However, I know many people from the area and the common opinion is, “that they have revitalized a Vermont hill Farm community at a time when conventional dairy was failing and business in general was leaving the area.”
            One great misconception, on the part of some “English” is that they are a threat of some sort. Quite the contrary in
            that they are interesting, vibrant people and like the rest of us, are not perfect
            Sincerely,
            John

            1. Interesting John, I think it is probably a similar story to upstate NY, with farming falling out of favor among the current generation and Amish seizing an opportunity to get land at a reasonable price. Don’t know how VT land would compare with parts of NY but maybe we’ll see more Amish head in that direction (or NH as well).

    4. Bobby

      Flip Phones & Smart Phones.

      Restfully Speaking; The Amish does definitely does Not Generaly have
      Flip Phone, much less Smart Phones. The point I’m making is: for actual 9-11 Emergency only. Not for Chet chats & so on.

      Eric; we, obviously live in a vilolant world. & haven’t improved much.
      It’s to the point of School Shootings, yes, even in small farm towns

      you’re the young guy that know & have meet some loyal, kind Amish People that became your friends. Still people are set in their ways.

      Are their any changes that the Amish could be convinced to have a flu phone in the Teachers Desk, yet, occasionally, it’ll need charging.

      It’s common sense, the News Media are the types by changing the story.

      Therefore: your feedback would be appreciated.

    5. James McFaul

      Glad that Amish People Have Come to Vermont

      I have not yet met the Amish people who came to Vermont, but I am glad they chose to do so. I have worked with a number of farmers in the Northeast Kingdom, and the younger generation has little interest in continuing the farming tradition. The work is simply too hard, and the alternatives too attractive. I have watched many farmers sell their herds, break up their farms, some of them file for bankruptcy, and their families scatter. The Amish have kept the old traditions and know that hard work is good for the soul. They have not invited TV’s into their homes; their families are close, and they support one another. They fear God, and follow his Commandments. One could not ask for better neighbors.
      The hill country of Vermont is a difficult place to make a living– there is a reason so many Vermonters left Vermont in the 1800’s and moved to the more fertile, richer soils of the Ohio valley and Midwest. But there are natural benefits here, too, and I pray that the Amish will thrive and come to love this corner of northern New England.

      James McFaul

      1. Thanks for your comment James – good to hear from someone who knows the area well. I’ve seen the photos and the area looks beautiful but I can imagine the farming might be tougher. If you get a chance to visit the Amish in the NE Kingdom, let us know!

    6. Sandy Holden Knapp

      Our 20+ year journey

      Hi, my family and I have been very good friends with an Amish family from Leola, PA for many years. We also visit with extended family and friends of theirs each year —they are all some of our best friends. We find them to be wonderful people who generously share their time, home and resources with so many in their communities. I have not visited Brownington, VT yet, but plan to this year for sure. I was thrilled to hear they were looking to resettle in northern VT and hope others will seek out land, run down farms, and work opportunities for their families and friends as well. Good people kind people, hard working, honest people are needed in our frenzied world!