Leisurely traverse the eastern townships of Geauga County where more than 14,000 Amish have established their homesteads. Enjoy an ambling journey through the villages and back roads of Burton, Middlefield, Parkman, Huntsburg, and Mesopotamia where you will share the road with horse drawn buggies.
Scan the horizon for Amish men working their farms, women hanging a line of plain colored clothing, or Amish children walking along the roadways pulling a wagon or driving a pony cart.
Make certain to stop at roadside stands to enjoy the offerings of fresh produce and baked goods. Many of today’s Amish rely on you, the visitor, to purchase from their many shops and roadside markets. Hidden treasures of handcrafted goods and delicious edibles await you.
Who are the Amish?
The first Amish migrated from Wayne and Holmes counties to Geauga County in the 1880s, where they established farms and carried on their faith-based traditions. The Amish are a unique sect of Christian separatists, who strive to preserve a simple and self-sufficient lifestyle and to be an example of Christian living by avoiding the trappings of modern life.
Amish are easily identified by their appearance. They dress in a traditional manner, plain and simple, without adornment. Amish men begin to grow a beard once they marry and always wear hats. Women also wear head coverings. Dresses, aprons, and capes are of distinctive patterns and colors that may vary by church district.
Home is the center of family and community life for the Amish. The Amish families average seven children, and all work together for the common good. Children as young as ages 6 or 7 have chores to do every day. Time at home is to be spent with the family.
The Amish also meet in their homes for church services, weddings, funerals, and other social gatherings. Home is a place of fellowship. Amish are well known for refusing to allow electricity or telephones in their homes, and for relying on the horse and buggy for travel. But Amish today will often hire a “taxi” to transport them to and from appointments and jobs. In order to survive in business, more Amish selectively use those tools that are appropriate to their work, and a few do acquire cell phones.
There are approximately 60 Amish schools in Geauga County, where most Amish children study through the eighth grade. It is in school where many Amish children learn English as their second language. The primary Amish language is a combination of German, Swiss, and English, called Pennsylvania Dutch. Wilkum is the Amish word for welcome. Therefore, we say to you, “Wilkum…we love company.”