By Kevin Williams
THE AMISH OF UNITY, MAINE
Maine has several Amish settlements. The oldest is at Smyrna, Maine in the far north,but other settlements have started near Fort Fairfield, Patten, Whitefield, and Unity. A "plain" community of ex-Amish also live near Corinna. The Amish of Unity, Maine are a progressive, friendly group.
The Maine Amish run the gamut from very progressive Amish in the Smyrna settlement to ulta-conservative in the Fort Fairfield community.
One of the distinguishing points of the Unity Amish community is their use of a church building. Most Amish worship in their homes, so to have an actual dedicated building for worship is very unusual among the Amish, but Unity has such a building. Some of the Amish men also grow mustaches, another very atypical cultural custom for the Amish.
Unity is very open to outsiders, or seekers, who wish to join the Amish church. This is how a Bangor Daily News article describes Unity:
UNITY, Maine — Fresh-faced young women wearing pristine white caps, long plain cotton dresses and flip-flops bustled around the kitchen Wednesday morning, the insistent, delicious smell of frying doughnuts surrounding them like a cloud of dense perfume.
It was doughnut day at the Amish-owned Community Market & Country General Store on rural Thorndike Road, and the women were hard at work cutting, frying, glazing and filling more than 700 of the treats, which filled the bakery bags of customers such as Gwen Manson of Burnham and her family.
A local resident chimed in for the article with her view on the Amish of Unity:
Mary Leaming of Unity said that the Amish have found a comfortable niche in her town. She loves getting doughnuts at the market and waving at the smiling children riding in the buggies.
“At this point, they’re just part of the community, honestly. I don’t even see them as separate,” she said. “I just think it’s really cool. I think Unity is a really special place — we have a raceway, we have [the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association], we have Unity College, we have cool little businesses, and now we have the Amish. It’s special.”
MY VISIT TO THE AMISH OF UNITY, MAINE
My wife and I visited Unity in 2012 and found it to be a very small,but very hospitable, Amish community. We took a bunch of photos while in Unity and I was going through some old stuff this morning and found many photos that we never published anywhere, so why waste some perfectly good photos. Take a look!
This part of Maine isn't rocky or mountainous, just gently rolling bucolic hills, a peaceful patch for a peaceful people.
Inside an Amish home. This Amish baker was making some blueberry lemon muffins. They are delicious. Of course, Maine is blueberry country!
I could have really grown used to all the blueberry-laced confections in Unity. If you like blueberries and the Amish, this is where you want to be!
You know, I never really think of Maine as a "corn state", but this was locally grown corn that this Amish woman was shucking seemingly effortlessly.
The other item Maine is known for, well, okay, Maine is known for its lobsters, then blueberries, but then potatoes, yes, potatoes are a Maine staple. They grow quite well in the state's rocky soil. And let me tell you, these were some darn good fried potatoes!
And tomatoes also grow well in Maine. Who knew? This is a plate of sliced, fresh tomato on our lunch table. I remember these, so good and flavorful.
Yes, that is a cell phone you see on the belt of one of the men. This is a bit more of a progressive Amish settlement, so that's not surprising. Although them man with the cell phone might not have been Amish, I can't remember. I know there was a "seeker" there helping to sort potatoes.
Once the potatoes are sorted, they are bagged and ready to sell. Good stuff.
Other posts about Unity, Maine:
The Amish of Unity, Maine - Amish365.com
Video Tour of Unity, Maine - SIGH, I was younger then....
The Amish in Unity share a few cell phones (TracFones they told me) throughout the community for their businesses. I live here and work with them often. The Smyrna community too when I can get up there.
Interesting, Ali, thanks for telling me...Unity is definitely a more progressive community!