1) Sugarcreek, Ohio.
I’ve written 7 books that take place in Sugarcreek. It’s also where my Amish friends live, so I’ve been here quite a bit. When I think of my very favorite Amish communities, this lovely, adorable town always comes to mind first.
2) Adams County, Ohio.
This is the community that is just an hour away from where I live. It’s where I saw my first buggy. There’s also a lovely inn there, called The Murphin Ridge Inn, where my girlfriends and I have stayed at many times for writers weekends. There is also a covered bridge here, which is fun.
3) Keim Lumber
For next year’s series which will be set in Charm, I visited Keim Lumber. It’s huge and has just about everything anyone would want. It’s also just about the prettiest lumber retail store you could find!
4) Walnut Creek Cheese Shop.
This is my very favorite place to shop in Amish country. It’s a massive place, which everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade ice cream, books, jams, and gourmet cooking supplies. There is also a terrific mix of Amish, Mennonite, English and tourists inside.
5) Pinecraft, Florida.
I recently discovered Pinecraft and have now visited there two times in two years. It’s located in the heart of Sarasota. Amish from all over the country visit here in the winter. The best place to visit in Pinecraft (for me, at least) is Yoder’s Restaurant. Best. Pie. Ever.
6) Siesta Key, Florida.
This is the beautiful beach just about a ten-minute drive from Pinecraft. It’s listed as one of the best beaches in America. It features silky white sand, few people, and warm water. What more could a person want, especially in February?
7) Shipshewana, Indiana.
About five years ago, I went on an Amish Country Tour with authors Vannetta Chapman and Amy Clipston. We got to ride in the Shipshewana Christmas Parade! Being the parade was a hoot. Seeing the beautiful area, all covered in snow and twinkling lights? Amazing.
8) Crittenden County, KY.
I wrote four books set in this southwestern county in Kentucky. The area is remote, a little bit wild, and the people couldn’t have been kinder or more helpful. The town in the heart of it is Marion. Very close is Paducah, which has a large quilt fair every year.
9) Berlin, OH.
If someone has never been to Amish country, I often tell them to visit Berlin. There are lots of shops and restaurants here. It’s a lot of fun. My favorite place to visit here is the Gospel Book Store. It’s in a building that also houses a grocery store and pharmacy. The Pioneer Trails buses pick up and drop off Amish here, too. So it’s fun to imagine going on a bus trip with them down to Florida for the winter!
10) Der Dutchman Restaurant in Walnut Creek.
As you might imagine, I’ve eaten at a lot of Amish restaurants! I have to admit that this is probably my favorite. They had a chicken pot pie that is phenomenal. Sitting in a booth at Dutch Valley brings back a lot of great memories.
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Shelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Her two dogs keep her company when she writes in her basement. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church. Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities several times a year.
Her latest book is A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft.
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