By Kevin Williams
Maine is a state known for its rugged individualism There's a live and let live attitude that permeates the state and that has, of late, made it a welcoming beacon for the Amish.
The Amish have been attracted to the state recently by its inexpensive and plentiful land, tolerance of locals to their beliefs, and the outdoor opportunities Maine offers. There are some Amish who are very much entranced by camping,hunting, fishing and Maine offers all of those in spades.
Maine was a late-comer to hosting Amish populations, with the first Amish settlement was established in Maine in 1996 near the town of Smyrna (there has been a "Plain Christian Fellowship" near Corinna for a number of years that group is similar to the Amish but more modern). The Smyrna settlement has grown by leaps and bounds so much so that a new community has been started in nearby Patton. An Amish settlement also exists at Unity. All of these communities- Unity, Patton, and Smyrna - fellowship together, meaning they share bishops, theological and ideological similarities, etc. There is also an Amish community at Fort Fairfield, Maine and that settlement is more traditional and conservative in its beliefs and practices.
I had the opportunity to explore several Maine Amish communities over the past week and I'll be sharing my experiences with you over the coming days, so stay tuned!:)
I did visit the Unity, Maine community a couple of years ago, here is a link to that. This week will feature visits to Amish communities in Smyrna-Patton and Fort Fairfield, so I think you'll all find it interesting reading!