Self Guided Tours Available of The Amish Countryside in
A self-guided driving tour of the Amish Countryside in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania provides a glimpse into a world far removed from modern standards. A map with many interesting sites to visit is available at Volant Mills.
Located one hour north of Pittsburgh, the Old Order Amish community of approximately 1,500 people lives in farms that surround the quaint villages of New Wilmington and Volant in the northern section of the county. Fourteen different districts comprise the community. The average church district is comprised of 75 adult members in addition to all of the unbaptized children and young adults. Church officials including a bishop govern each district. Decisions of the officials determine the way of life of the community.
Descendants of Jakob Amman, the Amish have retained much of the same style clothing worn in the Palatine region of Switzerland during the sixteenth century. The plain, but functional garb sets them apart from the worldliness that threatens their existence. The similarity of dress also discourages pride and encourages modesty.
Amish girls and women wear dresses primarily in colors of royal blue, navy blue, black or brown. Reds, pinks, oranges and yellows are prohibited, as are patterned fabrics. One thing is absolute, there are never buttons on the clothing of the Old Order Amish women.
Men and boys wear denim trousers with two large overlapping panels in the front, which button to the waist. The bishop determines the number and size of buttons. Coats and vests are fastened by hook and eyes, never buttons. Suspenders are used to hold up the trousers. Belts are never worn.
The Amish practice homechurching--gathering for Sunday services at various homes. It is a major undertaking to host the preaching service. With the help of family and friends, the house is cleaned and scrubbed from top to bottom. The host family also provides the noon meal for the congregation.
Many of the Amish in Lawrence County are agricultural or dairy farmers; the farms are usually passed from one generation to another. Horses are used to plow the fields. Some Amish subsidize their farm income with woodworking and construction.
Tourists to Lawrence County may travel the back roads on the Amish community and view their way of life. The Amish do not like to be photographed or video recorded.
The Amish in Lawrence County is the third largest Old Order Amish sect in the nation.