By Kevin Williams
Snow. Cold. Frigid. Slush. Blech.
But there are some Amish settlements where the beauty beckons even while the snow swirls. In fact, I'd venture to guess that some places are more beautiful in winter than summer. The reverse is true too. I once went to Aylmer, Ontario and Lindsay, Ontario (two Amish settlements hundreds of miles apart) in the dead of winter and they were pretty unappealing places visually. I couldn't help but think how gorgeous both places, especially Lindsay in the stunning, Kawartha Lakes region, would be in the spring and summer. I've not made it back to either in warmer weather, but would love to. So, as we sit here at pretty much the midpoint of winter, let's look at 5 Amish communities that are just as beautiful (or more so) in winter as in summer.
CONEWANGO VALLEY, NEW YORK: The hills are cloaked in heavy, wet snow. The white frames the farmhouses and later in winter you can see smoke drifting out of sugar shacks where homemade maple syrup becomes a late season treat. My wife Rachel took this gorgeous shot as a buggy glides by in the valley below, this scene is one of multitudes of beautiful vistas you can enjoy during winter. Stay at the Cherry Creek Inn for some great hospitality and local flavor!
ADAMS COUNTY, OHIO: These hills are gorgeous in summer but maybe more so in winter. The hills are denuded of foliage which means you can really trace the outline of the rocky ridges. Creeks rippling down from the ridge-tops are laced with ice and the land is quite. Get a cabin at the Murphin Ridge Inn and feel as snug as a bug in a rug.
BERNE, INDIANA: I don't look at this sprawling Amish settlement as particularly beautiful in spring and summer, but during the winter there's a special aura that envelopes the land. Drive at night and you feel as if you could scoop the stars from the sky and you'll see kerosene lamps frosting the winters with a cozy orange glow. Definitely a winner in winter.
HOLMES COUNTY: Beautiful year-round:)
PINECRAFT, FLORIDA: Is this cheating? But, wow, how gorgeous Pinecraft feels during the middle of a rough winter! You're greeted with tropical palm fronds, warm white sand, full shuffleboard courts and a laid-back "everyone is welcome" atmosphere.