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Are there Amish in your area?
Old 07-23-2019, 07:03 PM
  #1

If so, what are they like? I noticed someone on the cheese curds thread mentioned the Amish in one area of the country being different than the Amish she was used to. I'm from Indiana, and the Amish there vary. I'm more familiar with the Amish in southern Indiana than in northern Indiana. The ones (women) in southern Indiana wear white prayer caps, but they do not have the heart shape. Sometimes if they are at home, they just wear a little scarf over their hair. They always wear solid colors, no prints. Some of the men plow the fields with a team of horses while others use machinery. Some of them even have businesses where they have to use computers and sometimes even wear Bluetooth earpieces, which is surprising to see on an Amish person. They travel by horse and buggy. The buggies are enclosed, but they do have open summer carts. I've heard that in some parts of the country, they can't even have enclosed buggies.

I once saw some Amish women in a grocery store, and they looked even more conservative than any other Amish I had ever seen. It was the middle of summer, and they were wearing big, black bonnets and heavy, long, black coats. They also had large, black boots. They must have been part of a very conservative sect. I realize there's a lot of diversity among the Amish just in Indiana. How are they where you are?


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Old 07-23-2019, 07:39 PM
  #2

It is well known that Amish live in Lancaster, PA and the surrounding areas. I live in a rural area of Maryland and the Amish have started buying up farms in our area. It is odd to see them in their buggies and hear the clop clop of the horses. I expect their numbers will continue to grow here. We also see them using more modern technology and doing work we didn't expect. We recently hired an Amish man to put a roof on his house. He uses a cell phone for his business, owns a truck which a Mexican man drove to the job site bringing the Amish crew and tools. They rented a dumpster on wheels that they lifted near the roof to scrape shingles and debris from the old roof into. An Amish man operated that. I believe it is called a dump buddy.

I let my dog outside not realizing the back gate was opened and they very quickly sent her back into the yard. Perhaps it would have been the same with a non Amish crew, but I think the dog would have got away if they weren't the ones there.

I don't know a lot about their ways. The roofing company is owned by a young unmarried man and he brought his brothers and father to do the work. At least one of the brothers is a young teen. The driver also worked with them to do the roofing. They were very kind, and hard working. The father and my husband spoke together while they waited for the shingles to be delivered, asking about each other's cultures. I typically wear long skirts, and he asked about that when they talked about our differences. It was kind of weird when my husband said he was asking about us. I did not expect him to be interested.

When things got noisy in the house I brought the dog outside to play ball (yellow lab). It's what I do to calm her down and to distract her from barking. The boys freely made comments about her playing. She is a very athletic dog for her age and lives to play ball, so there is plenty to say about her play.

Overall I was impressed about their interaction with us. When we visit Lancaster, the Amish are very polite but I've never had actual conversations with them.

Several weeks ago near Lancaster several Amish families were having yard sales. We wanted to stop but weren't sure if they expected non Amish visitors, or if was just for the Amish. I didn't know the Amish had yard sales. I told a friend about this and she told me she stops at Amish yard sales and they go out of their way being friendly. One woman even gave her plants to take home with her.
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Old 07-23-2019, 07:49 PM
  #3

I grew up a couple of hours from Amish country in OH, so I didn't see them around my neighborhood but we typically went up there at least once a summer. They had a restaurant that my parents really liked, and some more unique shopping. At least at that time, they dressed pretty traditionally. My parents recently did some remodeling and got some of their furniture from one of the Amish stores. It was well made, but took FOREVER to come. Instead of using their own delivery system, they did some sort of thing where they piggybacked on some other companies deliveries and you had to wait until that company happened to be in the area and wiling to deliver to the address.
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Old 07-23-2019, 08:13 PM
  #4

I'm in southeast Ohio (a transplant from northern Ohio). I think the largest numbers of Amish live in/around the Millersburg, OH region. My great great grandfather was raised Amish but never joined the church when it was time to either be baptized and officially join or cut ties.

Small "sects" (that's not the right word) are governed by an appointed bishop. Bishops set the rules and regulations of what the people can or cannot do, wear, use, etc. It is surprising in the last couple of decades that they may own a car but not drive it; own and use a cell phone but only for business; whether women can wear dark solid colors or only black. Even the style of the white prayer cap is dictated by the bishop.
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PA Amish
Old 07-23-2019, 08:38 PM
  #5

As was said, Lancaster, PA is an Amish area. I have found the Amish to be lovely people. They seem to keep to themselves but are friendly when in the company of the "English", which they call the rest of us! They use buggies... open ones for the unmarried, closed for families. I often notice electricity lines going to their barns but not to their homes. There are a number of Amish Markets in nearby communities where the Amish run them from Thursday - Saturday, traveling from their homes. There are 3 that I know of here in NJ near me. They have a stand in the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.

The Amish go to their own one room schoolhouses and their education is complete at the 8th grade. I have always thought this was sad... no Amish doctors, etc... but it suits their agrarian lifestyle.


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Old 07-23-2019, 09:29 PM
  #6

There is a community not too far from me. They seem fairly conservative. However, Ive seen quite a few here in VA this week, and they seem less conservative. Im going by dress only.
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Amish
Old 07-24-2019, 01:41 AM
  #7

We live where there is a very large population in NE Ohio. There are so many Amish schools (around 25 ) in our little rural community that it has reduced our school population over these past years significantly. They used to attend to 8th grade. Now some come in Kindergarten and then leave. Funny too, we were just commenting last night that fathers were the ones pushing strollers past our house instead of the women.

Transportation varies: buggies, carts, wagons. And the new thing is scooters. Kids and adults use them all the time
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Amish
Old 07-24-2019, 02:22 AM
  #8

Yes, there is a large Amish population here in Lancaster PA. They vary so much in dress and in what they use as far as electricity, etc. One of my neighbors has an Amish friend who has come over with her to swim at my pool several times. I always find it interesting that she wears the same type of swimsuit and coverup that the rest of us wear. At the pool, youd never know she was Amish except for her head covering and her accent. When not swimming though, shes always in the full Amish dress and apron.
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Old 07-24-2019, 04:38 AM
  #9

Quote:
I always find it interesting that she wears the same type of swimsuit and coverup that the rest of us wear.
I occasionally see Amish tourists walking along the boardwalk where I often walk in San Diego, California. They are always in groups and their bodies and heads are covered. This is noticeable in a sunny area where many are minimally covered. One day I noticed a young man in a long sleeved shirt, suspenders, and long pants wet at the bottom staring at me. Really staring. I smiled and he looked away. Though fully clothed by San Diego standards (sports bra, tank top, shorts, tennis shoes), he must have been shocked to see a 68-year-old woman so scantily dressed. Isn’t our country a wonderful place to foster such diversity?
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Old 07-24-2019, 04:46 AM
  #10

My grandparents had friends who were Amish. They were the nicest people. Their lives were very much like my grandparents'. Small family farm, faith very important to them, took good care of family and neighbors, cooking just as good as my grandmother's (the BEST strawberry pie ever). The girls wore solid color or calico print dresses with aprons and bonnets. The dad wore dark pants and solid colored shirts--usually a light blue. They shopped almost exclusively at Walmart. And only went into town occassionally. They were either at home, church, or visiting friends. He used horses to plow and they didn't have electricity.
I remember being surprised when one of the daughters was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She travelled by car to the city 2 hours away for treatment.


There have also been several Minninite (probably didn't spell that correctly) families in the areas where I've lived. They typically wear all black clothing. They drive cars, but again they are always black. I've never known any personally, though.


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We do not have Amish
Old 07-24-2019, 05:29 AM
  #11

living in our area, but for a long time they have had an Amish market in our town 3 days a week. They are brought here by "English" (not Amish) friends.
The market has Amish vendors, mostly food and their handmade crafts, there are also Mennonites ( one can tell by the clothing. Amish women have plain cloth and Mennonite women can were calico prints) There are also some vendors from our local area.

In Lancaster area it has changed. More nonAmish people have moved into developments where there used to be only Amish. There are still communities of Amish, often surrounded by Mennonites. The small shops that used to sell original handcrafted items are now much larger stores with a more souvenir, gift store type atmosphere.

However, once you go off the tourist route the farms and communities are still the same as they were a long time ago.Two of my friends are designing fine hand crafted furniture. They make a prototype and then have Amish men make the actual furniture to sell. And, yes they are still making furniture by hand, no power tools, no electric lights to provide light in the work room, still like they did centuries ago.

Amish will use modern items, ride in car, get medical treatment, use someone's cell phone, appreciate help in emergencies like modern firefighting equipment. They will not own any of these things. Clothing is described above, the Amish do not use zippers in any clothing, I don't know why.
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Old 07-24-2019, 05:31 AM
  #12

There's a small Amish community very close to where I live. I stop by their country store from time to time - it's a great place to buy flours/grains in bulk, noodles, pickles, local honey, jams/jellies...and their bakery is fantastic.

We have old order Mennonites in Wisconsin, too, although not in this immediate area. They dress plain and drive buggies but women can have dresses made of print fabric.

ETA:
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And, yes they are still making furniture by hand, no power tools, no electric lights to provide light in the work room, still like they did centuries ago.
That's cool. It's not always the case with so-called handmade Amish furniture. I used to know a guy who was an IT consultant and he always said that some of his best clients were Amish. He was at one community that sold "handmade" furniture. They had a display area where tourists could watch a guy hand building furniture but way back on the edge of the property they had a very high-tech little factory where the pieces for the furniture were pre-cut. It cracked him up that they didn't have electricity or phones in their houses but they had a computer network in the factory that many businesses would envy and a very well-designed web page for their store.
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Old 07-24-2019, 06:50 AM
  #13

No Amish communities near me at all. I'm in Southeast Florida and I do understand there is a small community near Sarasota which is at least 3 hours from me.
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Old 07-24-2019, 08:13 AM
  #14

I don't know of any Amish anywhere around here (Dallas area).

I find it interesting though, that some of y'all said they will "use" modern technology things but not own them. What is really the point of following that lifestyle if you are going to use the things whenever it is convenient, but not own them. Why not just live a modern life style?
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:39 AM
  #15

I never see any Amish here in AZ but I did when I visited my friend in Michigan. Many live on Mackinac Island. I once went to a Mennonite wedding. That was very interesting.
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I live in Northern NY (Canadian border)
Old 07-24-2019, 11:53 AM
  #16

and I literally have at least one or two Amish buggies drive by my house daily. They live in the surrounding farm town areas and this is the "big city" - 12,000 population. Many of these are called "straight pin" Amish b/c the women cannot have buttons on their clothing, only pins. I don't get that. The men can have buttons on some garments.

My brother sold his farm to Amish and kept one acre, so they literally live right across the driveway. The mom just gave birth to twins, making it 10 kids thus far. They all seem to have different levels of adherence to their codes of indulging in modern living. For example, my brother and his Amish neighbor share a well, but it is run on electricity, a big no-no, but so far no one has said anything.

They don't mind coming by to ask someone to make calls for them to the doctor or vet. There is a local rural bus that they use. The farmers use horses and wagons. My brother says they can use gas engines. Many have cell phones, or share cell phones, but they cannot bring them into the house. They shop at Aldi, Save-a-Lot, WalMart, and all local stores. The big stores like Lowe's and WalMart have places reserved for them to tie up their horses. They often sell their goods in WalMart's parking lot or beside the road.

My BF has a lot of interaction with them, because he sells hay, so I get a first-hand report of some of the funny things they say to him. A few weeks ago, he was delivering hay to an Amish guy and got a flat tire, so he called his brother on his old-fashioned flip phone. The Amish guy asked why he didn't have a Smart phone, which we thought was hilarious. When he first began dating me, a couple of Amish guys said to him, "Heard you got a woman up at your place now. Congratulations." Ha ha ha ha.

Many around here are very prejudiced against them and trash talk them, saying they are dirty or lazy or cheaters, but I have never had that experience with any of them. Oh, and people go nuts because of having to share the road with the buggies and horse-drawn wagons.

You cannot beat their produce, baked goods, or handmade quilts and furniture. My sweetie has been invited into their homes for meals. He said one Amish lady offered him coffee one morning and poured a shot of whiskey in it. He was astonished. Here is a photo, one of many I have taken of the Amish who live next door to my brother.
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Last edited by Clarity; 07-24-2019 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 07-24-2019, 03:20 PM
  #17

I live about 20 miles from several Amish families and businesses. There are a lot of Amish in my area. I believe they of the old order, not sure how to say it. We built a house about 8 years ago and the Amish built it for us. They would come each day with their driver and work all day. They used gas powered tools and generators. Most of the Amish in the area have cell phone booths on the edge of their driveways. I have never seen one drive but do know they own the trucks and sometimes vans that their driver uses. My dh works for UPS and delivers to several of their businesses. Usually every Saturday their is a booth set up at Wax-Mart with Amish and their produce or baked goods. I have bought flowers and vegetable plants from their green houses. I am too far for them to drive their buggies in my area, but dh has to be very careful when he is delivering. They are an interesting part of our society, in my opinion.
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Old 07-24-2019, 03:51 PM
  #18

I had to Google whether any Amish people lived in Canada...apparently about 5000 in various spots in the east, mainly Ontario. I learned something today...thanks!
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Here in SW MO there are several
Old 07-24-2019, 06:25 PM
  #19

communities in VERY close proximity and they are nothing alike. My DH and I know several of the families closest to us. In these newer groups, we find them very pleasant and a HOOT to be around. They are very well kept and clean and rarely have an odor. (Usually only after working a full day outside.) They have nice houses and immaculate yards and surroundings. Here the most recent two groups come in and buy existing farmhouses and rural properties so their houses look like anyone else's home.

The women and men all farm "at home" in their ways but most men also work on "English" work crews as skilled carpenters and craftsmen. Some of the women also work outside the home as nursing aides at the rest home, in several of the Amish stores or restaurants and one woman even teaches school in a neighboring Amish community.

They pay good money to get drivers/rides where they need to go. They all have phones but they are the cell/satellite link setups sold in places like Walmart. Like a PP, they build little phone shanties that look like the old outhouses and keep the phones housed there. When they travel, it looks like the old bag phones we used to have. They pack the phone of choice, the satellite link box, a battery pack and all the assorted cords in whatever they want to carry--a lunchbox, a briefcase, a toolbox...it varies. A few have bought Smartphones and got on FB when they are in their freedom/"choosing" time (Rumspringa.)

I talk to many from kids to Bishops and Deacons on a regular basis. They are able to stop formal schooling at 13/8th grade because someone (unsure who or where or when) worked it out that the 13-16 year olds call those years "vocational training." Most of the boys and girls are actively working somewhere by that time anyway... And they are big fans of reading and seem to be lifetime learners. They are infinitely Curious about the world and love to travel.

They do have their own schools here. The ones here have a curriculum set up by other Amish who share their beliefs. They are bilingual and start learning English as a second language by about 4 or so. They have schools that appear to be "one-room schoolhouses" but there is usually more than one adult present and teaching.

BUT, like the OP said, each group has its' own rules and adherence to those rules. The groups I've just described are very different than the ones who have been here for years and years.
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