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Amish Communities in Western Pennsylvania

Claudia enjoys traveling and bringing her travel tips to readers.

Amish Barn and Buggy

Amish Barn and Buggy

Did you know?

  • The Amish first came to America in the early 1700s to flee religious persecution in Europe.
  • There are no longer Amish settlements in Europe.
  • Amish currently live in Canada and 28 states.
  • Old Order Amish are members of the Amish society who chose a more conservative path.
  • Old Order Amish women do not wear buttons on their clothing.
Amish Farm

Amish Farm

There are quite a few Amish communities throughout Pennsylvania. The most well known one is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Lancaster is in the eastern part of the state and draws huge crowds of visitors throughout the year. While beautiful and interesting, it is overrun with commercialism and tourists.

For a more realistic and low-key glimpse at the Amish way of life, visit Western Pennsylvania. There are four large communities that offer the visitor a taste of the Amish life and have a large Amish presence.

  • Dayton, Pennsylvania
  • Smicksburg, Pennsylvania
  • New Wilmington, Pennsylvania
  • Volant, Pennsylvania

The Amish in these areas are considered Old Order Amish and live within smaller communities surrounding the towns. Around New Wilmington and Volant, the Amish settled in the 1840s, while the community near the Dayton and Smicksburg area settled in the 1960s. Today the Amish are an integral part of their communities, working closely with non-Amish in all sorts of jobs, and shopping at local area stores. The area Walmart even has designated buggy parking.

If you come for a visit watch out for the buggies on the road. Also, note that none of the photos in this article are of people, only of places and things. This is to respect the dignity and privacy of the Amish who generally do not care to have their photos taken.

While you are visiting, don't forget to drive the back roads around the towns. This is where you'll see the quiet beauty of the everyday life of the Amish.

Take a trip back in time and visit Western Pennsylvania's Amish Communities.

Amish Buggy

Amish Buggy

Dayton, Pennsylvania

Dayton, Pennsylvania is a small town located just over an hour northeast of Pittsburgh, PA, making it a perfect day trip from the city. Like nearby Smicksburg, this area was settled in the 1960s. You can get a taste of Amish food at the local restaurants and you can admire fine hand-made furniture at the shops. Quilters will have a fun time visiting the local quilt shops and examining the beautiful work of the Amish quilters.

Amish Corn Crop

Amish Corn Crop

Smicksburg, Pennsylvania

Home to over 800 community members, the Amish settled in Smicksburg in 1961. You'll find many specialty shops in the town and the countryside is beautiful. When driving through the area, be mindful of buggies while stopping by all of the shops run by the Amish. You'll find specialty foods and crafts along your way. If you are lucky you'll see farmers using horse drawn plows to work their fields or community members having a barn raising.

New Wilmington, PA.  Note the wheel tracks from buggies on the roadside.

New Wilmington, PA. Note the wheel tracks from buggies on the roadside.

New Wilmington, Pennsylvania

Near the Ohio border, New Wilmington, PA is a charming town nestled in the heart of a large Amish community. It is about 1 hour north of Pittsburgh, PA. Within the area of New Wilmington and nearby Volant there are approximately 2,000 Old Order Amish community members. The community is divided into church districts comprised of approximately 75 members in each one.

Drive through town and you'll see buggies parked in bank parking lots while owners do their daily shopping. Drive a mile out of town in any direction and you'll see Amish farms and school houses with people going about their everyday lives. Throughout the countryside take a look at the signs at the end of farm lanes and you'll see things like "Harness Repair Shop", "Buggy Repair Shop", "Eggs for Sale" and "Quilt Shop".

Of other interest in New Wilmington is Westminster College and the local tavern in town that was part of the Underground Railroad.

Volant, PA

Volant, PA

Volant, Pennsylvania

Only 4 miles from New Wilmington, Volant is a town that caters more to visitors. Quaint specialty shops line the town's main street and on any given Saturday you'll find Amish families selling baked good and produce in the town park. Don't forget to visit the renovated grist mill which sells collectibles and home décor items. Drive towards New Wilmington and there will be farms selling produce, quilts and other items. For locals, this area is the perfect spot to find craftsmen who specialize in remodeling kitchens and making beautiful wooden furniture.

Amish Communities in Western Pennsylvania

Come for a visit

If you are just passing through for a day, or planning a longer visit to Western Pennsylvania, make time to visit the Amish communities in the area. You are sure to get a glimpse of the real Amish way of life.

Sources

  • Amish Online Encyclopedia
  • Visit Lawrence County Website

© 2012 Claudia Mitchell

Comments

Tara Dean on August 27, 2020:

Thank you for posting this!! I lived in kittanning for most of my 5th grade year (in the early 80s lol). I went to school in Dayton, it was an hour bus ride from my house. Most of my classmates lived on farms and a lot of the traffic in Dayton was traditional Amish using horses and buggies for transportation. They did have special parking spaces for the horses and buggies, but there was definitely no Walmart..lol!!! The closest mall was in butler, about 30 minutes from my house. My teachers and classmates were incredibly nice people and I used to be pen pals with an elderly man named John (my school paired each student with an elderly member of the community, who we eventually were able to meet! It was a fantastic program!). There were two houses visible from my house. One older lady who kept to herself and used to grow grapes and make her own jelly(it was amazing!!). And an Amish family who owned a farm behind us. They did use electricity in their house but that was not common in their community at the time as far as I know. They didn’t invite us for barbecues or anything but the man always waved and said hello when we would see him out. They had cows. I didn’t know, but I suppose we weren’t really supposed to interact with the traditional Amish around Dayton and one day my mom picked me up from school I asked to stop at this little store in town to get some candy or something. I said hello to a very small child and received a verbal lashing from the two Amish women with her. Lesson learned lol!! It is beautiful country around there though and the people were very very nice:)

David Cain on August 30, 2017:

I am not sure how you have failed to list a 5th Amish community around Springs Pa and Salisbury Pa near Grantsville Maryland on your list of Amish communities in western pa. The events they have every year and especially the 60th annual Springs PA Folk Festival every first weekend in October.

Suzie from Carson City on August 04, 2014:

GTF......Living in WNY and not a far distance from god's country-type territory, I don't need to be on vacation nor out vacationing & sight-seeing to watch out for the Amish buggies.

I go through an extensive stretch of Amish Community every time I take my dog or cat to the Vet.....have run into Amish families in the supermarket, Dr.s Office.....and many years ago, in the hospital for my 4 th (and last) baby.....I can never forget there was a young Amish Mom who'd just had a baby in the room to my south....and that young girl's mother.....who also just had a baby, in the room to my north.

So....just think about that! I couldn't imagine having a child AND a grandchild on the same day in the same hospital! Nor could I imagine packing up and going home, 2 hours after giving birth as That Amish Mom & Daughter & their new babies did!

I watched from my hospital room window as their husbands helped them up into the buggy seat of their respective buggies and handed them their babies......hopped up and took the reins...and off they trotted.....clip-clop. I clearly remember thinking....."Ouch!!!" as I sat on my donut pillow!............Up++++

Claudia Mitchell (author) on April 25, 2013:

Thanks so much rajan. It is amazing how different it is in their areas. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 22, 2013:

Living so far away, I had no idea of the Amish community at all. I think it would be fun to see how they live a simple life even today away the rat race of today's life.

Voted up, interesting and beautiful.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on December 03, 2012:

Thank you pstraubie. I'm glad this was a little bit of a walk down memory lane. I appreciate the comments.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 03, 2012:

My senior year of high school was spent in PA with my sister and her family. The year was 1965. I visited Lancaster county then and saw a very rural way of life with many buggies filling the highways and byways. I am sorry to hear that it has now become so commercialized. The lives of the Amish are uncluttered by so much that many of us have come to consider so important. Thank you for sharing this so that others will know where to visit to learn of this way of life. Sending Angels your way :) ps

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 31, 2012:

Thanks so much shiningirisheyes! It really is fun to visit these areas. Come back some time!

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on October 30, 2012:

Great hub! When I was in my early teen years, my sister took me to Pennsylvania and we visited an Amish operated farm. It made an impression on me I still remember clearly to this day.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 24, 2012:

I really appreciate the comments marcoujour! Come for a visit. You will enjoy it.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 23, 2012:

Glimmer,

How wonderful that this won HOTD... Congratulations!

Like Gail, I have been to Lancaster many times, it gets more built up each time we go. I am very interested in checking out these other communities, especially as we have family in the Johnstown area.

Voted UP and UABI...great job. Hugs, Maria

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 23, 2012:

Thanks tips. There are some things that they do that could help us in today's hectic world.

tipstoretireearly from New York on October 23, 2012:

Very pretty countryside. I always enjoy visiting the Amish communities. In many ways, the Amish have their act together by shunning what many of us consider must-haves and concentrating on what's truly important.

RodRoc from US on October 22, 2012:

Great comment thanks

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

Thanks Sharyn's Slant! I enjoy visiting the Amish communities in Ohio too. They are all not too far away. I appreciate the comments!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

PeggyW - Thanks for the visit! This was a fun hub to write and take picture for. Gave me an excuse to peruse the countryside on a nice fall day.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

I imagine it is difficult to continue a lifestyle like that in today's economic world. It shows how dedicated they must be. I appreciate the comments coffeeinmyrice!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

Thanks CZCZCZ - I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

GoldenThread - I appreciate the comments. It is fun to watch them in the fields with their horse drawn plows and I love the way they stack the corn stalks in the field. It really is a glimpse into the past.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

Thanks so much cclitgirl. It's beautiful country out this way and it makes for a nice vacation.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

Hi Linda - The Mennonites and the Amish are often misidentified and the lifestyle differences between them are quite interesting. Thanks for the visit.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

I appreciate your comments Paradise! I hope you are doing well. That must have been a real treat to have an insiders look at the Amish.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

Thanks so much RTalloni!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 21, 2012:

Thanks so much Lord de Cross! You are right, when driving through Amish country you do almost feel like you are in another world. I appreciate the visit.

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on October 20, 2012:

I've always wanted to visit the Amish areas in PA. Especially since I've been to the Ohio Amish country tons of times. Thanks for this great resource and congratulations on your well deserved HOTD!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 20, 2012:

Thanks for a peek into this lifestyle of the Amish in Pennsylvania. If my travels ever take me up that direction, I will be interested to stop and see some of what you have shown in this hub. Up votes. Thanks! Well deserved HOTD!

Marites Mabugat-Simbajon from Toronto, Ontario on October 20, 2012:

Congratulations!!!

Thank you for a free tour since I have no idea when I could see Pennsylvannia and the Amish communities. I've seen some of them here and how wonderfully amazing it is to feel their simple living, realizing how they can continue with it while we are finding a hard time coping with financial issues and stability in our modern livelihood.

Great and interesting hub!

RodRoc from US on October 20, 2012:

Thanks for the hub it really does help to give me some new ideas

CZCZCZ from Oregon on October 20, 2012:

Interesting hub I enjoyed the map and descriptions of the local Amish communities in Pennsylvania. Thanks for compiling this interesting article.

GoldenThreadPress on October 20, 2012:

Wonderful Hub! I love going into the Coolie Region near LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where they have a large Amish population. I have seen their quilts and tasted their baked goods--yummy! They are super farmers and I love to watch them in the fall during harvest. --Deb

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on October 20, 2012:

Cool hub! If I ever make it up that way, I'll definitely stop and take a look! Congrats on your hub of the day. Well-researched and well-deserved. Voted up and tweeted.

LindaSmith1 from USA on October 20, 2012:

Often the Amish and Mennonite are mixed up when seen. There are those who follow the old Amish ways, while others, such as those in Lancaster, who are moving from other areas, out of need for income, are becoming a bit more modern, yet trying to maintain the old way of life. They don't own cars, but will ride in one. Some have gas stoves, and lights that run off of generators. The old ways are dying out, and the young are moving out of the country type settings towards areas where they can earn an income.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on October 20, 2012:

Excellent! I enjoyed the pics and the info. It does take me back--my dad's people were Amish.

Going to visit those cousins made us feel both rich and envied, a rare opportunity! We would sneak out behind the barn and share our transistor radios with the Amish young cousins. How they loved rock 'n roll, in complete secret, of course. I think that always adds to the savor of the thing, if it is forbidden by the elders! Dad would offer rides in the car, which were politely refused by the elders while the young ones looked longingly at the car.

RTalloni on October 20, 2012:

Just stopping back by to say Congrats on your Hub of the Day award!

Joseph De Cross from New York on October 20, 2012:

Seen them driving down 78 and Reading Pa. Seen books about them on a rest stop and I felt they were from another time and space, but they are respected and considered a national Iconic representation of the beginnings of this Country. Great pics and congrats Glimmer, on being selected as a HOTD.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

thejeffriestube - Thanks for the comments and the information. Someone else commented on puppy mill issues. I was not aware of this. I've never even seen a "puppies for sale" sign around here. I'll have to check into this. I appreciate the visit.

Dave from United States on October 20, 2012:

Great informative Hub! Definitely voted up and well written. I would like to mention though that the Amish are the #1 problem in PA for running illegal puppy mills; three huge operations were shut down just this last month.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Sunshine - I definitely don't fit in with their lifestyle, but it's interesting to drive through! I enjoy tv too much. Thanks for the comments!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Thanks Rebecca! I'm not sure where you live, but there may be Amish communities somewhere nearby. Thanks for commenting.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

I appreciate the comments HappyBoomer. Lancaster is beautiful, but not when there are too many people around. If you are ever in the area...this is the place to go. Thanks for the visit!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Thanks Susan! - New Wilmington is really beautiful. Maybe you can spend more time next time you are in the area. Thanks for the comments!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on October 20, 2012:

Interesting hub. I have a feeling I wouldn't fit in too well with their lifestyle. Thanks for sharing their history with us. Congrats on your HOTD.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 20, 2012:

Great Hub! I have always wanted to travel through the Amish country. They are fascinating people. Congratulations!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 20, 2012:

Congrats for earning HOTD for this informative and beautifully laid out hub about some of the lesser known Amish communities in Western PA.

I've been to Lancaster and enjoyed it very much, but as you say, it is very commercial. It would indeed be interesting to drive through the areas you highlighted in this hub, particularly the Volant community which welcomes visitors.

Voted up across the board except for funny.

Thanks for sharing this great info.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on October 20, 2012:

I remember driving through New Wilmington and wishing I had more time to stop and look around. Very interesting hub.

Congrats on your well deserved HOTD!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Thanks kittythedreamer! A friend of mine lives down there and she said there are large communities down there. I appreciate the visit!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

I appreciate it stillwaters - and you are right, I could not give up the indoor plumbing and I do like my electricity! I could give that up for a couple fo days max. Thanks!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Suzette - We are near the Ohio border and there are large Amish communities around there too. It's fun to visit there too. Thanks for the visit!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Thanks so much Eddy! - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Thanks Suzie HQ - It was interesting to do this hub and I'm lucky that I live close by so I can visit this area. I really appreciate the comments!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Pages-by-Patty - I appreciate your comments. I have never witnessed the experiences that you have, but it is distressing to hear.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on October 20, 2012:

Very interesting. I lived in Southern Maryland for years and there were tons of Amish in those parts. I always found them fascinating, and many of them are very nice people.

stillwaters707 from Texas on October 20, 2012:

Congratulations on HOTD. It looks like an ideal vacation; although I can't give up indoor plumbing and a/c. I bet the driving and visiting in those areas are beautiful and peaceful.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 20, 2012:

Congratulations on HOTD! This is and interesting and informative article on the PA Amish and their communities. Very well presented. We have Amish Country, too, in Ohio near where I lived when in Ohio. It is fun to see their beautiful farms and experience their culture for a day or two. Thanks for a great article on the Amish!

Eiddwen from Wales on October 20, 2012:

Amazing and so well informed and presented.

I now look forward to so many more by you without a doubt.

Eddy.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on October 20, 2012:

Hi Glimmer!

Congrats on HOTD! A really interesting well written piece that introduces the Amish community to everyone. All I have seen of the Amish is what I have read and seen depicted in movies or documentaries. Well done on a nicely researched hub on this community!

Votes a plenty :-)

Pages-By-Patty from Midwest on October 20, 2012:

Nicely written hub. I am definitely a fan of more people visiting the Amish farms to learn the truth behind their facade.

I, too, have lived around Amish communities in various states which does offer a glimpse into their lives and lifestyles. And in 15 years of my involvement with animal anti-cruelty organizations, I've witnessed the continual carnage masked behind the term "Amish".

Please visit these communities and when stopping for butter or eggs, ask if they sell puppies and, if so, if you may peek inside their barn to see them. Chances are, after the latter question, you'll be asked to leave.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Hi Cathleena - The produce is awesome and their prices are terrific. I also like some Amish recipes. Nice wholesome comfort food! Thanks for the comments.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

DDE - I appreciate the comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 20, 2012:

Thanks peternehemia - Amish are an interesting community.

Cathleena Beams from Tennessee on October 20, 2012:

I live in Tennessee and have visited the largest Amish community in the south, Ethridge. We came home with the best tasting strawberries, huge sweet onions and some tomato stakes. The prices were awesomely cheap, and of course the garden goodies were totally healthy and organic. I also enjoy trying Amish recipes out. One of my favorites ones is an Amish breakfast casserole with bacon and lots of different cheeses in it.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 20, 2012:

An interesting topic about the Amish their culture is unique thanks for sharing this Hub

Peter Nehemia from Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia on October 20, 2012:

After reading this, I browse about Amish people. Looks interesting.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 12, 2012:

RTalloni - If you ever make it to Ohio, these communities are not that far away. Pretty close to the Ohio border. Thanks for the comments!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 12, 2012:

Thanks ChristyWrites! Many people know of the eastern PA communities, but not these. I appreciate the comments!

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 12, 2012:

Thanks teaches. It's so nice to see the community in the everyday without all of the tourists.

RTalloni on October 12, 2012:

Thank you for this look at visiting Amish communities in Western Pennsylvania! We have friend who've invited us to visit their Amish friends with them in Ohio and we certainly hope to do so one day.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on October 12, 2012:

How interesting! I did not realize there are Amish communities there. I am in Canada and now wonder if we have any here.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 12, 2012:

Thanks Mhatter!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on October 11, 2012:

Thank you for sharing this interesting tour.

Dianna Mendez on October 11, 2012:

I have heard how wonderful it is to tour this Pennsylvania area. Living in the Midwest, the Amish were so much a part of our community. They live a simple life and one that we could all learn from well.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 11, 2012:

Thanks Eddy! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 11, 2012:

Thanks susieq! We see Amish at the stores in the video game section and I've never been able to figure that out. Maybe they go to a non amish friends house to play. In general it is an intriguing way of life. I appreciate the comments.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 11, 2012:

Thanks breakfastpop! I'm glad you enjoyed it. This is a great time of year to drive around the area.

Claudia Mitchell (author) on October 11, 2012:

Thanks Janine! - I'm glad you enjoyed it. This are really is beautiful, especially this time of year.

breakfastpop on October 11, 2012:

This is a very comprehensive hub about a fascinating area that I have visited many times. Up and interesting!

Eiddwen from Wales on October 11, 2012:

Awonderful hub and I look forward to many more to come.

Eddy.

SusieQ42 on October 11, 2012:

I was in Lancaster years ago and we met up with a young Amish man who was driving a horse and buggy. He was smoking a cigarette and immediately upon seeing us, he hid it in his lap so we wouldn't see it. I'm sure some of the Amish do smoke, though, don't you think? My sister lives in upstate NY and there's an Amish family just up the road. I love to see the windmills! It really is a lifestyle that many of us would like to live, I think. At least homeschooling and raising a garden and animals, etc. are important to many, much more than there were before the recession!

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on October 11, 2012:

Thanks for sharing about the different Amish communities in PA. I visited quite often as a young girls with my parents, because we always somehow ended up vacationing in PA and stopping for a day trip in Amish country. You brought back some memories on this article and have of course voted and shared all over too.