Hello! I'm not sure when my interest in the Amish began, but their settlement in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is well-known. I probably heard about the Amish first in reference to that area.
Consequently, when we ended up living about an hour east of Lancaster County, I enjoyed many trips there. Pretty countryside, fun shops, roadside stands - and I never tired of seeing Amish horse and buggies traversing the roads in the area.
I mourned moving away from that proximity to Lancaster County when we moved to west-central Indiana, but then learned we were now about an hour east of another Amish settlement, the one near Arthur, Illinois. And so I made more happy visits to get my fix of peaceful countryside, Amish grocery stores, and more encounters with horse and buggy travel.
(I can still recall seeing one Amish buggy pass another on a quiet road in this region - just like you see a car passing a slower one in front of it. And yes, when I passed both buggies, I saw that the faster buggy was driven by a young guy, while the slower buggy driver was an older woman. So the Amish maybe aren't so different than us in that respect! At least, that was the case on that day. But that remains the only time I've ever seen one Amish buggy pass another.)
Then we moved further north, and we're now about two hours from the largest Amish settlement in these parts, Shipshewana, Indiana. I've been there a few times, but haven't made the trip that often. A four-hour round trip, plus driving around on the back roads and in the towns to check out all the shops of interest makes for a long day.
But I can still get my Amish fix, courtesy of Kevin Williams' Amish365 website. Mr. Williams, who's based in Middletown, Ohio, has visited Amish settlements big and small throughout the US and even parts of Canada. Besides that wide range of travel, Mr. Williams also covers a wide range of Amish information: the good (writing about an Amish weddings), bad (reporting on Amish buggy accidents) or in between (interviewing the young teachers at an Amish school).
And then there's the recipes. True, Amish food tends to be heavy at times, but after all, these are folks who do far more physical labor than most of us "English" (how the Amish refer to the non-Amish) do. I suppose they burn up a lot of what they eat.
So instead, I mostly just drool over the many recipes Mr. Williams supplies. For example, today I saw recipes with a Thanksgiving theme: a mock pecan pie, several stuffing variations, scalloped corn, pat-a-pan pie crust, and more. I can vouch for the pie crust recipe, as it's the one I'll be using for my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. It's very easy and very good! (I first encountered it in the Amish cookbook Cooking From Quilt Country).
Mr. Williams also covers a variety of non-Amish topics, such as his long career as a journalist, activities revolving around his two cute young daughters, and occasional trips down Memory Lane to reminisce about stores, restaurants and other key markers of his childhood that are now gone. (note: he's in his mid-40's, so if you're around his age, or older, as I am, these memories will often be very familiar to you as well).
You can either read Amish365 via this link, or sign up for email notification of new postings. It's a fun way to keep up with the Amish way of life!