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My Top Five Favorite Amish Settlements - 2009

I am fortunate to have been to many Old Order Amish, Mennonite, and Dunker settlements.  Each one has their own unique quirks and cultural history.  So it is once again time for my annual "Favorite Plain Community" list.  I am lumping Mennonites in with the Amish for the sake of this list.  Favorite "plain communities"

1)  Adams County, Ohio:  This was my top pick when I last did a list like this and it retains the spot.  I just love the rolling, hardscrabble hills, deep valleys, and covered bridges.  The Amish first moved to this area in the early 1970s and have injected a once economically depressed region with new life. Many Amish microbusinesses from bakeries, bulk food stores, and buggy shops dot the countryside.  While there is definitely enough to keep a visitor busy, it still is not "in your face" touristy. 

2)  Dayton, Virginia:  I've recently spent a good deal of time here visiting with Old Order Mennonites.  The absolutely stunning scenery, rich history, and friendly people make this my second favorite plain settlement.

3)  Pinecraft, Florida:  this is not your typical, traditional Amish settlement but it's one of my favorite and may someday get bumped up to #2 on my list.  Nestled in a quiet corner of Sarasota, Pinecraft is a true "Amish/Mennonite melting pot" during the winter months when the area is bustling and busy.  Plain snowbirds come by the busload from December through April.  Yoder's Amish Kitchen and Big Olaf's Creamery are the hubs of Amish life in this area.

4)  Yoder, Kansas:  There is a certain self-sufficiency about this Amish settlement that is very endearing.  Plopped out on the plains not far from Hutchinson, this charming community features a bed & breakfast, restaurant, bakery, and some very friendly people.

5)  Lancaster County, Pa:  I have a love-hate relationship with these Amish and Mennonite settlements, but there is a beauty and resilience to the area that is hard to replicate elsewhere.

There are other Amish or Mennonite settlements that I have not visited but would love to over the next year, so this list may change.  Places I'd like to visit:  the Amish settlements of Montana.  There is even one Amish community on an Indian reservation.  Montezuma, Georgia;  Smyrna Mills, Maine, and Cashton, Wisconsin round out my "wish list."





Re: My Top Five Favorite Amish Settlements - 2009

Thanks for the list Kevin.  Roadtrip might be in order.  I have visited the Cashton, Wisconsin area - lovely countryside.  I bought some "cashew crunch" at an Amish bakery that was delicious ! Similar to a peanut brittle - but richer in flavor - yum.  Are you familiar with the Richard Lee Dawley books on the Wisconsin Amish ?  Very informative.