The Amish were always a mystery to me. I had heard about the group, especially their craftsmanship. But I knew very little about their lives.
During a recent visit to Columbus, OH, we drove to flea market in Holmes County, OH, the heart of Amish country in Ohio. Once there, we made last minute reservations for a two hour tour of the Amish country. Despite being a weekday, we barely got seats on the tour we wanted.
Our tour guide gave us a lot of information about the lives of the Amish, as we were driven through the backcountry roads. We learnt about the 3 groups of Amish and the main differences between them. We learnt about the average Amish family size (large!), their customs, traditions, popular vacation spots etc. Soon we were able to identify the common features of the houses ourselves – the telephone booths and freezer houses far outside the main house (only for some homes depending on their livelihood), so as not to be ‘associated’ with electricity. The tour was full of information about what an Amish life was like. It did not however, deal much with the history and origins of the Amish. We saw some Amish horse drawn buggies on the way. The Amish don’t like to be photographed.
During the tour we also stopped at a couple of artisan shops. One was a leather shop with a lot of handmade leather goods. The other, which was in an Amish home, had a lot of handmade quilts.
After the tour we scourged the flea market. There were many interesting handmade artifacts at very reasonable prices. We left with some nice souvenirs… and a better understanding of this unique group of people!