By Kevin Williams
I was ending a long day in Indiana's Swiss Amish country and as I took a detour I spied a faded sign that said "Cedar View Variety." I kept driving, but then I kept thinking about that sign. Those little hole-in-the-wall Amish home-based businesses are the ones I love the most, that's where you can really capture the culture and learn. So about two miles after I passed the sign, I finally hit my brakes and turned around. And I am glad I did.
I pulled into the driveway and saw a small outbuilding with an "Open" sign in the window. A young Amish woman saw our car and came out of the house. These are the Amish experiences I love. I had to navigate a driveway full of meandering chickens and curious dogs. Grain silos towered nearby and a other rusty buildings surrounded the big white farmhouse. These are the moments that have always captivated me when visiting the Amish., these tucked-away businesses that cater mainly to an Amish clientele. This story definitely fits that category. It's small space is packed with shelves of clothing and hats for members of the local Amish church. There were a few cookbooks and an ample selection of German-language hymnals, tracks, and Bibles. I was struck by the large selection of brand-name Melissa & Doug toys. There were also some coloring books published by an Amish publishing house.
This store is located in northern Jay County, Indiana which is at the southern edge of the sprawling Swiss Amish community in the neighboring county and spills over into this one. The Amish here are ultraconservative, with womenfavoring black, dark blue, and brown clothing. Telephones are a rarity. Here are a few other scenes from this store:
I bought a coloring book and a little game for Aster and Beatrice and headed for home. If you ever find yourself in northern Jay County, Indiana, this store is worth checking out! I didn't get the address, unfortunately, but it is on CR E 500 N about 2 miles easy of US 27.