Most Amish today live in the Midwest and Northeast, in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, and New York. But did you know there are a number of Amish communities scattered across the South?
While Amish haven’t found the area as attractive as other parts of America, they have settled in a number of locations in the region. Here are three Southern Amish communities, each distinct in its own way.
1. Ethridge, Tennessee
This community a little over an hour south of Nashville was founded by a very traditional group of Amish in the 1940s. Today it has grown to over 1,000 people in size. The people who live here are known as Swartzentruber Amish, and live with a minimum of technology and modern conveniences. Families here make a living by dairy farming as well as through dozens of small businesses catering to both Amish and non-Amish, including furniture-making, baskets, produce, molasses, candles, and more.
2. Guthrie, Kentucky
In contrast to the Amish of Ethridge, those at this southern Kentucky community are in a number of ways much less traditional. What makes them very unusual for Amish is that they allow electricity in homes. While they use the horse-and-buggy, plain dress, and follow other Amish cultural traditions, they also use tractors for road travel. The Guthrie community is an example of a group on the technologically progressive end of the spectrum in Amish society.
3. Pinecraft, Florida
Sunny Florida is not where you’d expect to find the Amish, and the one community located in the state is unlike any other. While Amish live nearly exclusively in rural settings, those in this Sarasota area neighborhood ride large adult-sized tricycles in lieu of the horse and buggy. Pinecraft has only a small year-round Amish population, but swells in the winter months, when vacationers from northern communities make their way south for a week or two of relaxation.
Besides these communities, Amish live in a number of other Southern states, including North Carolina, Virginia, and Arkansas.
Erik Wesner writes about the Amish in print and online. His first book, Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive was based on 60 interviews Erik conducted with Amish business owners, as well as his own experiences living and working in Amish communities from Pennsylvania to Iowa. He has contributed to Amish-themed articles featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other print media. He also has served as a consultant for numerous authors of Amish fiction and non-fiction and writes the Amish America blog. His upcoming book is called 50 Fascinating Amish Facts.
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