Brrrrr Buggy….

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We have snow today over large swaths of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, so some of the major Amish communities are battling blizzards or just heavy wet snow.  A buggy like the one on the top of this page can be warm and cozy during such storms.  Some Amish even outfit the insides of their closed buggies with propane heaters during the winter.  Cram a buggy full of a family of 8 or 10, plus a propane heater and you have a toasty buggy even on the coldest of days. But not all Amish have it so “easy.”  The Amish in the Berne, Indiana area continue the tradition of using open buggies much like they have for generations, even though the original reasons for the lack of roof have long disappeared from general knowledge. I’m seeing some evidence that churches on the edge of the Berne area are starting to abandon the open buggies, but for the vast majority of Amish in the Berne area the open buggy still rules.  The only guard against the elements are thick blankets and these ubiquitous black umbrellas, huge shields against the wind. Still, you have to be really hardy to drive around in an open buggy on a cold day like today!  This Amish man driving outside of Berne doesn’t even seem to be bundled up that much in braving the elements.

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The Discussion


  1. I don’t thing I could handle an open buggy.

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  2. Zelka Cani says:


    I noticed the registration plate on the back of the buggy. How do the Amish feel about registering their ‘vehicles’, complying with government rules?

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  3. I think I’ll keep my van with it’s heater and cushy seats thank-you-very-much!

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  4. Kevin,
    I took note of your comment “A buggy like the one on the top of this page”. When I was in the Angelica NY Amish community last summer I said to a small Amish boy “that’s a big buggy”. He told me that it wasn’t a buggy, it was a surrey. Shows how much this English guy knew.
    Tom backroadstravellerblogspot.com/

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  5. That’s an enclosed surrey and no fringe to be seen.
    I am grateful for my automobile and its nicely warming
    heater. As I get older, I especially an grateful. I recall
    autos not always being equipped w/heaters when I was
    a small child. Now they are standard here in SW Ohio.

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  6. Well, if you want to know the truth, and this is from experience…it’s NOT all that bad a ride! Honestly, the “Blanket” is not your normal Horse Blanket, but a heavy blanket, somewhat fuzzy/nappy and it’s heavy. One side is ALSO covered in BLACK Rubber/Plastic, so hence…your lap does not get wet. Between that, the hat, and the REALLY big umbrella’s..it’s really not all that cold a ride in even the harshest conditions. In John C’s Church in Berne, we were NOT allowed heaters in the buggy’s at all, but I am aware that SOME districts DO! I have spent MANY a night on Hwy 27 heading home to the farm on Old Rt 1, Bryant Indiana….(The road is now paved and I THINK it even has a name!) In some of the biggest blizzards Indiana had ever seen, warm and dry as a bone. I will also say this from experience (As for a time I taught in an Amish School off of Queen Rd. outside Intercourse PA, just before I left the Amish for Hollywood for good) The open buggy’s are easier to drive in the rain. It’s easier to see in an open buggy AND Open buggy’s don’t fog up in the middle of a busy intersection. That’s my 2 cents on that. Anyway, glad to share, at least your getting it from the “Horses Mouth” in a way…ask me about my Runaway when the bit broke, just outside of Bern and I almost dumped the entire buggy. That’s a much better story, and ONE of the MANY dangers of driving a buggy at all. Check your equipment…but duh…”RumSpringa”..who cared at the time right……DOH!
    -Ethan Tudor W.
    Actor/Host of The Neverhood Show at BlogTalk Radio
    Also catch me on “The Middle” 8pm (PST) Wed. Night’s on ABC
    Ethan Tudor W. recently posted..The Neverhood Show #85 Miracle On 34th Street, Christmas. – Dec 24,2012My Profile

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