I first became acquainted with the Amish when I moved to Kent County, Delaware, as a young newlywed. My husband worked with an Amish construction crew, and we were blessed to become well-acquainted with his coworkers and their families.
Picturesque Amish farms dot the Delaware countryside. Their farmhouses are plain and white, easily recognizable by the simple style and the black buggies parked in the yard. Among the types of businesses you’ll find are an Amish wood mill, furniture shops, and farms selling fresh eggs.
Frequently, while on my way to the small country church I attend, I’ll find myself following an Amish buggy on its way to Sunday church services at another Amish residence. I enjoy catching sight of rows of buggies parked side-by-side at an Amish farm and seeing Amish families walking together along the side of the road. When they wave as I drive by, I find myself smiling while waving back and feeling good inside.
In my book, Jedidiah’s Bride, Jedidiah Lapp moves with his uncle from Lancaster County to Dover to sell wooden craft items and plants. There he meets Sarah Mast at Spence’s Bazaar and Auction. Sarah came to Spence’s to sell baked goods each week to bring in extra money for her family.
People come from miles to shop at the flea market at Spence’s and enjoy food at the Lancaster County Farmer’s Market as they have for decades past and for decades to come, I hope.
There is a separate building on the Spence’s Bazaar property that hosts the Farmer’s Market, where Amish from Lancaster County come three times a week to sell food to the English and local Amish. It’s open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays of each week. Tuesdays and Fridays are their busiest days. But with the colder weather this winter, the outside tables remain empty. Come spring, the place once again will become a beehive of activity with vendors and shoppers on the premises. It’s a great place to buy craft items and plants for your vegetable or flower garden.
Lunch is a must at the Farmer’s Market, where several Amish shops housed inside a large building offer tempting tasty morsels to tease one’s palate. I was fortunate to work for a time in an office building across the street from the Market. A coworker and I enjoyed walking across the road to buy lunch. I particularly love buying fruit and vegetables with a dip the Amish women prepare and sell. And the roasted pork sandwiches they make at the meat shop are delicious!
If you take a ride out into the Delaware countryside, you’ll see Amish farmland.
The Delaware Amish have quaint schoolhouses like those you’ll find in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Another great place to visit if you want to meet up with members of the Amish community is Byler’s Store. It began as a tiny Amish store where women bought baking goods, fabric to make clothing for their families, and other items needed for their households. English were welcome even when the business was small, and my friend and I visited it a few times to buy bulk-packaged food and baking items. There you can enjoy a huge ice cream cone for only $1.00—and for that treat alone, it’s worth the trip. Byler’s sell everything from kitchen items, food, country décor, and pellet stoves to swing sets, outdoor furniture, and more.
Tourists don’t come to Kent County just to see the Amish, but if you are ever in the area, you’re bound to see them living quietly and peacefully among us . . . and seeing them will make you smile.
Rebecca Kertz has lived in rural Delaware since she was a young newlywed. First introduced into the Amish world when her husband took a job with an Amish construction crew, she took joy in watching the Amish job-foreman’s children at play and in swapping recipes with his wife. Rebecca resides happily with her husband and dog. She has a strong faith in God and feels blessed to have family nearby. She enjoys visiting Lancaster County, the setting for her Amish stories. When not writing or vacationing with her extended family, she enjoys reading and doing crafts. Her latest title is A Wife for Jacob.
Purchase Rebecca’s books here.