Visiting the Amish of Big Valley – Part 3: Out In The Valley

After last week’s look at the Belleville auction and Amish farming, Jerry returns to take us on a little drive through Big Valley:

The Big Valley is alive and well with Amish settlements. When you drive out into the country you see schools everywhere. It almost appears that you can find one every four miles. Most look fairly new, simple, modest one room structures with two outhouses and a playground.

I have one school photo that shows a building with peeling paint. This re-enforces the ideology that you don’t need a fancy building to learn what you need.

One other oddity was that several schools had a collection of rubber-tired scooters stashed along the road near the property. They appear to be left away from the school for a specific reason.


I don’t know that reason and never got the chance to ask a native. Perhaps we can speculate and next time I go I will ask a couple of folks.


Several homes had the bench wagon parked outside. These homes have either just hosted or are preparing to host the next church meeting.  It’s pretty amazing how everything fits together and folds to maximize space usage.


The last observation was that I never saw major retail chains in the valley. A dollar store here and there, but not many.

There is however a Mennonite-owned grocery store. It’s the Sharp Shopper.  I think they are out of Virginia, with about 10 stores in Virginia and Pennsylvania.


Of course they are over runs, close dates and some times that were not well-received. The inside is amazing. Amish flood to these stores for staples. Of course they have huge amounts of repackaged bulk items at great prices.


Why pay for fancy packaging and advertising costs when you’re Amish and don’t care about marketing strategies. When an item is selected from the stacks, an employee is right behind you fronting and facing the selection. Every customer sees perfect presentations.

They are closed on Sundays. The best part is they have horse and buggy parking shelters.

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    1. Terry from Wisc

      Guten tag Erik,
      Tomorrow we are going junkin, and then Amishing in the Kingston/Dalton settlements. If you can be here tonight for bed and breakfast, you can ride along! 🙂 We’ll have three generations going and I can already hear the “Why’s” from our 3 and 6 year old grandkids! lol

      1. Sounds like great fun Terry. I would probably need them to take the Concorde out of mothballs to make it to Wisconsin in time, but you enjoy it with the multiple generations along 🙂

    2. Where to go

      New in area and have family coming to viit over the Columbus Day weekend. They enjoy the thrift shops and restaurants in Lock Haven. They will have a car and want to visit an Amish farmers Market or store (I have experienced the Loganton Scenic Ridge Market in Loganton and loved it. They want more Amish experiences but NOT touristy Lancaster. They also enjoy nature trails and hiking near bodies of water. We have the Beld Eagle River here in Lock Haven but do not know where we would find trails beyond the walkway along the river.More scenic and natural walking options would be great. Can you help with ideas?