Location: Wayne County, Indiana
Distance From Home: 48.3 Miles
This is another installment where I visit Plain communities within a 100 mile radius of my southwest Ohio home. Today: Wayne County, Indiana.
I've written before about Wayne County, Indiana's Amish community, but I've not explored it very much. After my visit Friday I feel like I have a better feel for the sprawling settlement which numbers eight church districts hopscotched across the northern half of the county. I-70 slices Wayne County in half and almost all the Amish are north of the interstate. Wayne County historically has been known as a stopping point between larger Dayton and Indianapolis and as the home to the Quaker-affiliated Earlham College. There also was a massive school bus factory in the city for much of the last half of the 20th century. The buses went belly-up during the recession of the early 1990s and the city has struggled since. But the Amish influence in the northern part of the county has pumped commerce and new life into once empty farmsteads.
We were exploring the rural swath of Wayne County from Fountain City to Williamsburg. One of the county's gems is the Cardinal Greenway a converted rails to trails bikepath which connects Richmond with Muncie. One of these days I'll bring my bike! It's a flat, wonderful trail with beautiful prairie vistas and plenty of amenities like ample parking at the trailheads and restrooms. But no buggies on the trail, a sign warns!
Elsewhere there are other signs of the Amish settlement. While the Wayne County community doesn't have a vast amount of home-based Amish businesses there are still enough to fill an afternoon of driving around. We picked up some fresh cantaloupe, yum, you can't beat it for 25 cents a melon!:)
A small box sat among the cantaloupes where you can drop your quarter or quarters in. With a whole field bursting with melons nearby, this Amish family should be collecting quite a few quarters over the weeks ahead!
Elsewhere the Amish have set up greenhouses and nurseries as home-based businesses. This photo could be entitled "martins and mums", because it had ample quantities of both. Look at those purple martin houses! Attracting these voracious insect eating birds is a popular pasttime among the Amish, especially those from Lancaster County. The local community maintains strong ties to the larger Amish settlement in Pennsylvania, using the common gray-topped buggies and the distinctive two-peaked white kapps worn by Amish women here. This is a sampling of some of the linen and clothing colors as seen flapping on a clothesline nearby.
Stay tuned for Part II of this segment tomorrow when we pay a visit to the Amish-run Wayne County Produce Auction.