Explore Amish Country…in Kansas? By Patricia Davids

Explore Amish Country…in Kansas? By Patricia Davids

Hello, I’m Patricia Davids.

I’ve written more than 30 inspirational and Amish romance novels. I’m a Kansas girl. I was born and raised among the waving fields of golden wheat and wide-open prairie.

“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the Amish folks play.”

I imagine when you think about visiting Amish country, Kansas is not at the top of your list. I’m here to tell you to think again.

The Amish have been in Kansas since the 1880s. Yoder, our largest Amish settlement is in Reno County between Wichita and Hutchinson just off Highway 96. You can’t miss it.

Kansas Country Amish

There are also settlements near Hutchinson and Garnet along with smaller communities near Axtell, Marysville, and in Bourbon County near Fort Scott. Our newest community has only one family who has settled in Enterprise. They hope to have others joining them soon.

My daughter and I spent a chilly afternoon exploring Yoder. (Note it is a very small town and it doesn’t take long to see it all.) We started at a wonderful restaurant, bakery and gift shop known as Carriage Crossing. I was tickled by this sign. Parking for cars on one side, parking for buggies and RV’s on the other side.

You will notice some distinct difference between the Kansas Amish near Yoder and their cousins in Pennsylvania and Ohio. In Kansas the Amish use tractors for field work and for travel to town although each church district has its own rules on this issue. However, travel to church is always by buggy or on foot. When one of the Amish girls at the restaurant finished her shift, she didn’t leave in a buggy. She drove off on her tractor. I think it would be warmer traveling enclosed in a buggy but it would be hard on a horse to wait all day in the cold.

Concern for the horses is the reason they don’t use them for fieldwork here. Our summers are simply too hot to have animals doing the heavy work of plowing and harvesting grains and hay. Our lower rainfall means large acreages have to be planted to gain the same crop yields. It makes little sense to wear out valuable animals trying to farm larger tracts of ground. The Amish are adaptable when it is necessary.

As much as we enjoyed our meals, the real treat of the day wasn’t a warm cinnamon roll or a slice of homemade pie. It was the quilts. March in Yoder means two things. Spring can’t be far off and it’s time for the Quilt Parade.

Over 150 quilts are on display at the businesses in town for the entire month. It’s a self-guided tour so you can linger as long as you like enjoying some amazing needlework. We started out at the restaurant and ended up at the Yoder Furniture Company. The quilts were the star attraction, but seeing the beautiful Amish crafted furniture was well worth the trip. I’m afraid my pictures don’t do the setting justice to the vibrant colors but we had a wonderful time.

You can learn more about this unique Kansas community at http://www.yoderkansas.com/

Did you know there were Amish settlements in Kansas? Have you visited any of our communities?

What questions do you have about the Amish in my state?

Blessings to you and yours,

Patricia Davids

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