Situated in New York State’s North Country, the Amish community in St. Lawrence County supplies a rare treat in an out of the way place. Our first stop for the night was near Canton, at the Ostrander’s Sheep Skin B&B. Be sure to make your own reservations if you plan to visit the area. The B&B is awesome. All questions are answered if possible, and breakfast: blueberry pancakes with maple syrup. What more can I say?
The Amish are located west of Canton and centered around Heuvelton. Purchase a county map and drive the back roads. Small shops are open except on Sundays. If you are interested, ask for quilts, as they normally ship them out-of-state to sell in the tourist centers.
I drove out of Canton on Hwy 68, and turned left on Madrid Road (Route 14). A few Amish farms appeared before the small town of Rensselaer Falls.
Once in town, I took Route 15 towards Heuvelton. The road was a little difficult to find but you turn right on Front Street (Route 15) before the river and continue to Rensselaer Falls-Heuvelton Road (also Route 15).
I didn’t see any Amish on Route 15, but on Route 184 out of Heuvelton I found their schoolhouse and homes all along the road.
There are quite a few districts in the area, and they are spread all the way down to Richville and north almost to Ogdensburg. These are very conservative Amish who have fled Holmes and Wayne counties in Ohio to isolate themselves from exposure to other Amish groups.
For a special treat, drive the roads on a Sunday morning. I did so, and didn’t see anything stir until 8:30. Discreetly head in the direction a buggy is bound and you should find the location where the church services are being held for the day. That will give you a line of buggies with the Amish dressed in their Sunday best. A few of the buggies I passed waved.
Pictures of course, must be handled appropriately.
I hope you enjoy the visit.
Jerry Eicher writes of his experience growing up Amish in his memoir My Amish Childhood. As a boy, Jerry Eicher spent eight years in Honduras where his grandfather helped found an Amish community outreach. As an adult, Jerry taught for two terms in parochial Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. He has been involved in church renewal for 14 years and has preached in churches and conducted weekend meetings of in-depth Bible teaching. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.
His latest Amish fiction title is Finding Love at Home, which released September 1, 2014.
Purchase Jerry’s books here.
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