There are pockets of Amish people in many states in the U.S., but the single, biggest population of Amish live in Holmes County, Ohio, which has been dubbed “Amish Country.”
You will not drive through Holmes County without passing horse-drawn buggies on the road. Wander away from the busy shops of Berlin and you will see Amish residents riding their bicycles and shopping in the groceries just like you and me. That last statement made have made you pause. Amish shopping in grocery stores? Yes. They don’t grow everything themselves, and they ride their buggies to the stores and shop for some essentials just like you and me.
There are probably a million misperceptions about the Amish. Some people don’t think they pay taxes. They do. They think they don’t use banks. They do. They imagine they all move from one farm to another raising barns. (Only when necessary.) They do shun the luxuries of the outside world, but that’s more because of scripture than because they would rather do without. In fact, some of the newer orders of Amish incorporate electricity with generators. They may use generators or car batteries to power a lamp or something inside. It’s a nod toward progress and convenience in a world that very much shuns anything worldly. The Amish are much more complex than one might think.
Ohio Amish Country set up an incredibly fascinating itinerary for me and my daughter. Each place we visited gave us more and more insight into this fascinating world so close and yet so different from ours. I’ll recount what we learned at each stop along the way. Each experience built on the others and culminated in a rich understanding of the Amish way of life.
We’ll start with Yoder’s Amish Farm next.
Is there a part of Amish life you’re curious about?