One trip that defied the odds was my visit to Wisconsin Amish country last fall. Wisconsin is home to the fourth largest population of Amish in the United States. My sister lives in beautiful Stevens Point, and she took my mom and me to three different Amish communities there. We had a blast.
I have a special place in my heart for the Wisconsin Amish because my first three books, Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt are set in a fictional Amish community near Cashton, Wisconsin and my Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series takes place in the Amish community of Bonduel.
Cashton, in southwestern Wisconsin, is home to Wisconsin’s largest Amish community. When visiting Cashton, your first stop should be to Down a Country Road, a charming group of gift shops owned by Kathy Kuderer and her husband Chuck just off State Road 33. Kathy can direct you to many Amish-run businesses like a quilt store run by a cute mother and her daughters, a wood shop, and a bakery with mouth-watering cookies. Don’t miss the dairy that processes much of the Amish farmers’ milk. The cheese curd is to die for!
Two hours almost directly east of Cashton is a hidden gem outside of Wautoma. If you’re not careful, you’ll miss the whole settlement. Get off I-39 and drive east from Coloma along State Road 21. The only clue that you’re in Amish country will be the farmhouse on the east side of the road with a sign that says “Yoder’s Quilt Shop.” Mary Yoder, quilt maker and goat farmer, will show you her beautiful collection of Amish-made quilts. You can even order a custom-made quilt, which both my sister and my mom decided to do.
Mary gave us a map of all the Amish businesses in the area. I hope you have as much fun trying to decipher it as we did.
About an hour and a half northeast of Wautoma is the progressive Amish settlement of Bonduel. Unlike Wautoma, where the Amish are more conservative, the Bonduel Amish use LP stoves and refrigerators as well as heaters in their buggies and phones in their businesses.
My Huckleberry Hill books are set in Bonduel. We contacted tour guide Ken Natzke who took us to see many of the local Amish sights. We had a wonderful time visiting a fabric store, a one-room schoolhouse, an egg farm, and the Lark Country Store, which is run by an Amish family and caters to Amish and non-Amish alike. I was also privileged to meet with one of the bishops in Bonduel, who repairs motor home refrigeration systems for a living.
The Amish way of life is plain and simple, and even if you don’t like to travel, you’ll find these destinations delightful. Have fun, and eat some cheese curd for me!
Jennifer Beckstrand is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Romance Writers of America. She graduated from Brigham Young University and worked for a brief time as an editor. She and her husband live in Utah, and have four daughters and two sons. Her latest book, Huckleberry Summer released on June 3rd. Be sure to watch AmishWisdom.com for news about her next title, Huckleberry Christmas, which will hit shelves in October.
Purchase Jennifer’s books here.
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