By Kevin Williams
SIGH, the great thing about the New Wilmington Amish settlement is also the worst thing: it's authenticity. If you are looking for New Wilmington Amish businesses, you'll find them, but you have to look hard....
This is an Amish community that is largely untouched by tourism and very insular. This means that if you visit you'll get an authentic Amish experience devoid of some of the tourist trappings that you'll find elsewhere, like northern Indiana, Ohio, or Lancaster. Still, if you aren't expecting it, it can also be frustrating. For instance, most Amish businesses here are closed on Thursdays. And there's just not a "a lot to do." Don't get me wrong, I LOVE New Wilmington, I'm just warning you that if you are coming here expecting Berlin, Ohio (Amish country theater, sprawling bulk food stores, etc), you'll be disappointed.
I was in New Wilmington on a Wednesday and thought I had hit the jackpot when I saw a sign pointing towards an Amish home saying "Fresh Doughnuts on Wednesdays." Holy moly. I lurched the car into reverse and headed to find the doughnuts. The sign wasn't very clear, I followed arrows until I got to a cabinet shop.
"You are looking for the doughnuts? I keep telling her that sign isn't very clear, people keep stopping here, keep going straight another mile and it's the first farm on your right."
Still excited of the prospect of hot, fresh, smother-with-glaze doughnuts, I gamely followed his directions to an Amish farmhouse where there was a woman outside hanging laundry.
"Oh, I need to take the sign down," the woman shrugged.
"So, no doughnuts?" I asked again, hoping she might have some secretly stashed away someplace.
"No, the health inspector has been on me," the woman explained, saying she has to upgrade this, get a new that, and it's just kind of a hassle.
Dejected, I asked her if she new of any other Amish busineses nearby.
"My sister-in-law has a bulk food store," she said. "Go straight and make three rights."
So I headed to the bulk food store and it was fascinating, no sign....just a hitching post outside and a set of double doors and I opened it up and discovered shelves of sacks of flour, nuts, canned goods, homemade laundry soap, and more. I chatted with the proprietor and I asked her if I could take any photos inside
Other Amish businesses:
BYLER'S KITCHEN, 205 New Castle Mercer Road, New Wilmington, 8 a.m. Saturdays only
ANNA'S BAKED GOOD AND DONUTS: 642 Wilson Mills Road, New Wilmington, 10 varieties of filled doughnuts, pies, cookies, breads, sticky buns, and more. Onlyu open Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
BYLER'S CANDY: 62 Windmill Lane - Monday - Saturday, Easter thought September only. Homemade fudges and candies
COUNTRYSIDE BUGGY SHOP: 1149 Pulaski- Mercer Road
BYLER'S QUILT SHOP, 435 Quilt Shop Lane, off SR 208, open Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Lawrence County tourism board can give you a whole bunch of information about businesses to visit, or shoot me a note, there are plenty of furniture stores, cabinet shops, tarp shops, buggy shops, and the like, but the above are some of the businesses that interest me most.
I am in New Wilmington today and tomorrow. Other than the places you mentioned in your article, what other Amish related businesses can I visit?
Maryann, really, those are the best ones..New Wilmington is definitely not geared towards tourism. That said, to me, the most fun and interesting Amish experiences are when you just driving around....look for pop-up produce stands, impromptu bake-sales, etc, you should find some this time of year. Fridays are great for finding baked goods and produce, a lot of Amish just set up stands on Fridays and Saturdays, it gets around some of the health inspector regulations when you just have a stand for two-days occasionally instead of a fixed store. Good luck!