Places in Amish Country Worth Visiting This Year

Places in Amish Country Worth Visiting This Year - Red Caboose Motel Image

The Amish — well-known for their simple living, horses and buggies, plain dress, and high-quality craftsmanship — are quickly growing in numbers, and this increasing population is showing no signs of slowing down.

Today, there are roughly 251,000 Amish people living in North America. That’s double the population in 1989 — about 100,000. Experts estimate the population will double again to half a million within two decades.

Largest Amish Populations by State

The three states with the highest population of Amish in 2012 were Ohio (60,233), Pennsylvania (59,078) and Indiana (44,831). Population can vary widely as expanding settlements try to acquire additional farmland or try to find isolated areas that are conducive to a seclusionary lifestyle. But no matter where they are, the Amish add value to the community by bringing a simple, quiet lifestyle with a dedicated work ethic and high-quality workmanship.

No matter where your travels take you, chances are, you’ll be near an Amish settlement that offers plenty of opportunities to have a great meal, learn about their lifestyle and take home some hand-crafted souvenirs. The Amish have successfully integrated into modern-day society without generally becoming an active part of it — but that doesn’t mean they’re inaccessible.

We’ve listed below a few of the countless destinations available to tourists across the country wanting to see how the Amish live; this is merely a sampling of the best places in Amish country worth visiting.

Ohio: Making the Most of Your Amish Visit

With 434 Amish congregations in the state, Ohio has the largest Amish population in the United States, and it also houses the largest — and possibly the most diverse — Amish settlement, located in Holmes County. Geauga County features the area’s second-largest settlement and originated from the Holmes County settlement. Anywhere you are in Ohio, you’re never more than a few hours away from any Amish community — they’re in 26 counties in the state — making it an easy and fun weekend escape.

Travel on the backroads, and you’re likely to encounter numerous Amish businesses advertising baked goods or other handcrafted items. Check out these Amish places to visit in Ohio.

Best Places to Eat

Amish Door Restaurant Food

Whether you’re looking for a specialty food like cheese or baked goods or you’re simply looking for a home-cooked meal, you’re certain to find what you’re looking for at these places to eat in Amish country:

  • Amish Door Restaurant. This restaurant in Wilmot, built like an oversized Amish home, is certain to fill you up and make you happy. With home-style breakfasts and authentic Amish-style lunches and dinners, you’ll know why the restaurant was chosen by USA Today as one of the best meals of 2006.
  • Boyd and Wurthmann Restaurant. With more than 20 varieties of pie daily — not to mention home-style meals — you won’t leave hungry. This is Berlin Ohio’s oldest continuously operating restaurant.
  • Dutchman Hospitality. You won’t go hungry after choosing among seven restaurants and four bakeries here in Walnut Creek.

Best Places to Stay

After a busy day of sightseeing, relax for a bit in one of these renowned getaways.

  • The Inn at Amish Door. The inn’s 52 Victorian-style rooms are quietly tucked away in the heart of Amish country in Wilmot, allowing you a peaceful retreat. With luxurious handcrafted furniture, the inn offers modern amenities with country hospitality and is a great place for your next special event.
  • Hasseman Bed and Breakfast. Also located in Wilmot, the bed and breakfast is situated on 300 acres of farmland, offering a quiet getaway. It’s located on Wholesome Valley Farms and has four cozy guest rooms.

Best Attractions and Shopping

Take some time out of your busy schedule to relax and enjoy the sights and shops throughout the Amish countryside. Some great businesses to visit are:

  • Yoder’s Amish Home. Ride in an authentic Amish buggy on a ¾-mile tour of the Holmes countryside in scenic Millersburg. You can also enjoy a tour of the 119-year-old bank barn, the center of all Old Order Amish Homesteads. You can also visit the gift shop, the bakery and the one-room schoolhouse. A fun sight for the kids is seeing how the Amish have adopted a modern-day copier to work without electricity.
  • Amish Door Dinner Theatre. Whether you’re staying at the Amish Door or are simply looking for a family-friendly outing, check out the Amish Door Dinner Theater, offering family-centered entertainment that includes plays and concerts.

Pennsylvania: So Much to See and Do

In Pennsylvania, you’ll see America’s oldest — and perhaps best known — Amish settlement in Lancaster County. There are additional settlements in the state besides Lancaster if authentic Amish settlements are your destinations of choice.

Mifflin County is also in the top 10 Amish settlements in the nation by church districts as of 2009, and it’s known for its three distinct Old Order Amish groups: the Renno, the Byler and the Nebraska Amish. No matter where you visit, you’ll step back in time and enjoy the slower pace of days gone by. Don’t think that there isn’t a lot to see or do in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. You’ll be amazed at what you can find.

Best Places to Eat

Again, you’ll never go hungry in Amish country. Their hospitality will see to it. Hungry in Pennsylvania? Try:

  • Casey Jones Restaurant. Located in a dining car on the Red Caboose Motel property in Ronks, Casey Jones offers something for everyone. Enjoy Casey’s Signature BBQ Sauce on the pulled pork and wings, and follow dinner with dessert at Janie Jones’ Ice Cream, which is open seasonally.
  • Stockyard Inn. Next to the old Lancaster Union Stock Yards, the inn is known for its dining excellence. It combines old-world charm with innovative cuisine and even offers a menu for its smallest diners.

Best Places to Stay

Red Caboose Motel Room

Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind getaway in a train caboose or something with a scenic view, we have you covered.

  • Red Caboose Motel. Located in Ronks, the Red Caboose Motel and Restaurant lets visitors stay in one of 38 caboose motel rooms. Part of the scenery since 1970, his unique hotel has accommodated tens of thousands of visitors. Hotel prices start at just $85 a night. The motel’s prime location in the heart of the Amish farming community puts you a moment’s walk away from the Choo Choo Barn and the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum.
  • The Hurst House. Located at the top of a hill in scenic Ephrata, the Hurst House is an upscale Victorian bed and breakfast that offers a view of the Amish and Mennonite farmlands at every turn.

Best Attractions and Shopping

No trip is complete without taking a memory home. Enjoy local shopping, homemade crafts and a buggy ride before you return home to the hustle and bustle.

  • A is for Amish Buggy Rides. This Strasburg business is owned and operated by members of the Amish, Mennonite and Brethren communities. The kids will enjoy the large petting zoo and playground, while you enjoy the stunning views from the silo viewing tower. The scenery of Amish farms and the Lancaster County countryside is unparalleled — you may even see trains from the Strasburg railroad pass by. With numerous tour options — including visiting an Amish dairy farm, a miniature horse farm, a craft store or a real Amish home serving homemade root beer — there truly is something for everyone here.
  • Strasburg Rail Road. While visiting Ronks, take a 45-minute ride on a short-line railroad dating back to 1832. While you’re waiting at the station, take a behind-the-scenes railroad tour or take a ride on a miniature steam train.
  • National Civil War Museum. Located in Harrisburg, this unique museum shows the human side of war — from slavery to soldiers.
  • Amish Buggy Rides. Located in Bird-in-Hand in Lancaster County, you can take a buggy ride to a real, noncommercial Amish farm. The owners trace back their roots to 1626 just outside Philadelphia, and their family has been in Pennsylvania ever since. With seven routes and custom tours, it offers you a true Amish experience.

Indiana: Visit These Can’t-Miss Amish Locations

Five Indiana locations make it into the top 10 Amish settlements in the nation by church districts, as of 2009:

  • Allen County. Just north of Fort Wayne, this Swiss-ethnicity community features open buggies due to construction and red brick homes, unlike those of most other Amish.
  • Daviess County. This community also has Swiss roots, but members speak with a distinctly southern accent and use closed-top carriages.
  • Adams County. Located on the opposite side of Fort Wayne from Allen County, this Swiss settlement is one of the more conservative.
  • Elkhart and Lagrange Counties. This is the state’s largest Amish settlement, but some Amish have had to relocate due to the area’s economic downturn.
  • Located not far from the Elkhart and Lagrange settlement, Amish Acres is the area’s biggest attraction.

With Amish communities located across the state, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy the laid-back environment associated with the Amish.

Best Places to Eat

We know you’re working up an appetite, trying to keep up with the Amish. Eat like they do at these tucked-away restaurants.

  • Threshers Dinner. This family-style feast at the Amish Acres Historic Farm in Nappanee introduces you to some Amish favorites. The dinner pays tribute to the threshers who gathered each season to separate the wheat grain from the chaff and enjoy one another’s neighborliness.
  • Grandma’s Pantry in Wakarusa is a hidden gem of a deli and bakery. Stop in for lunch and a few sweet treats to keep you going all day long.

Best Places to Stay

Whether you’re staying for one night or seven, you need a comfortable place to rest your head. Consider the following places to stay while in Indiana’s Amish country:

  • The Inn at Amish Acres. On the premises of Nappanee’s Amish Acres, the inn offers a convenient location from which to enjoy all the Amish attractions the area offers.
  • Gasthof Amish Village. This oasis in Montgomery is known for its handcrafted hotel and authentic Amish recipes. The village also features Amish shops and can arrange for local tours.

Best Attractions and Shopping

Amish Acres Horse and Buggy Ride

When you think of the Amish, you certainly think of buggy rides. Don’t forget to take one while in Amish country, but remember there is so much more to their history and culture. Consider visiting:

  • Amish Acres. As the only Amish farm listed in the National Register of Historic Places, you’ll enjoy your horse and buggy ride through this Nappanee farm. Your PastPort is your ticket to a guided tour, a documentary and a wagon ride complete with stops at the one-room schoolhouse and blacksmith shop. The buggy ride takes you around the pond and through the woods, and you’ll enjoy the relaxing sounds of horses’ hooves on gravel as you go back in time.You’ll find a variety of locally produced products, like baked goods, quilts, meats, cheeses, and fudge. We think it’s one of the best Amish tours you’ll find.
  • Bonneyville Mill. Located in Bristol, this mill is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the center of a wonderful park. The mill opened in 1837 and was still running in 1962. Enjoy a guided tour and then pick up a souvenir at the Barn Gift Shop.
  • Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market. With 900 vendors spread out over 100 acres in Shipshewana, you’ll find fresh foods, homemade crafts and more. It’s open seasonally, and you’ll also find one-of-a-kind antiques and fascinating auctions.

Iowa: Dive Into the Amish Past

Amish communities are traditionally isolated, keeping to themselves, but there are certainly communities across the nation that are happy to provide insight into the Amish way of life. Here are a few of the Amish places to visit in Iowa that you won’t want to miss.

Best Places to Eat

We think it’s clear that the Amish do their food well, and it’s not something to miss out on. The Iowa Amish are no exception. Consider trying:

  • The Milton Creamery. Located in Milton, the creamery buys only milk from local Amish farmers and their grass-fed cows. Enjoy award-winning cheeses that support local farmers and will keep you coming back for more.
  • Ox Yoke Inn and Restaurant. A popular establishment in the Awana Colonies of Williamsburg, you’ll experience a multicourse meal that will leave you stuffed.
  • Ronneburg Restaurant. Housed in a historic brick building in Amana, you’ll find exclusively German cooking — a must-visit place during Oktoberfest. Having served patrons for more than 60 years, it’s a true landmark in the area.

Best Attractions and Shopping

The Amish have a long and storied history. Don’t forget to absorb that history when you’re visiting. Some of the history can also be seen in their modern-day wooden products for sale, which will last a lifetime. Visit the following if possible:

  • Amish Boulevard. The Amish have lived in Iowa for more than 160 years, and the Fairbank-Amish Boulevard shows their influence. From the road, you may see buggies, small schoolhouses and gardens. There are also 50 Amish businesses along the boulevard, providing a hidden glimpse at the way the Amish live.
  • Kalona Historical Village. Visit 13 authentic Amish buildings from the 1800s and learn how the early Amish learned to settle on the Iowa prairie. From log homes to the Rock Island Depot, you’ll see how the Amish made Iowa their home. You can also visit the Iowa Mennonite Museum and Archives and see many historical artifacts. This is one of the best Amish attractions to visit in the state.
  • Amish By-Way Tours. Located in Kalona, these tours offer insight into Amish life. As you travel along back roads, you’ll see Amish homes, farms and schools and make several stops along the way.
  • Midwest Woodworks. Also in Kalona, this Amish-owned furniture store prides itself on the hard work of the Amish craftsmen — and it shows in the furniture they build.

Want to Learn More About the Amish and Their Furniture?

There’s much to do and see in Amish country — this is only a sampling of the best places in Amish country to visit this year. After your visit, you may want to bring a piece of Amish country home with you. Visit AmishOutletStore.com for the high-quality wooden furniture for which these areas are known. Combining exceptional quality and old world craftsmanship, Amish furniture will stand the test of time.

We can help you choose the right furniture for your home, educate you about the common woods used in Amish furniture, and we’ll even let you in on a few Amish secrets that will make your life easier.

Whether you’re ready to order a custom piece or simply want to learn more about the Amish, we’re ready to help you. Contact us today.