CAPTION: Unity, Maine Amish woman Elizabeth Stoll ices some blueberry lemon muffins. Click here for the recipe.
Plain Maine: A Visit to Amish Unity
The state of Maine has seen its Amish population steadily increasing since the first arrivals settled around Smyrna in 1996. There are now Amish communities near Smyrna, Unity, and Fort Fairfield, with plans for more. The state's rural character and (relative) proximity to growing Canadian Amish communities makes Maine a hospitable home for these new Plain arrivals.
I have visited Unity, Maine and it is a somewhat more progressive than other Amish communities. You can see a visit that I made to Unity here in this video.
The Fort Fairfield community way up near the border with Maine is a bit more conservative and unaffiliated with more liberal Smyrna and Unity. What I want to share with you today is a fascinating photo series from an overseas photographer who spent some time with the Milo Hilty family in Smyrna. I've not been to Smyrna, but I have talked with Milo on the phone before. They are a bit more open to photography than other communities, but you won't find them on reality TV or anything. Documentary type film, perhaps. Milo is actually from the Berne, Indiana settlement which in some ways is a theological leap...the Berne settlement is Swiss and rather conservative,the Smyrna community is rather intellectual and very progressive. British photographer Lottie Hedley was lucky enough to spend some time with the Hiltys for a photojournalism project and I have to say her photos are rare and outstanding in their respectful candor. Click here to read a piece from The Daily Mail about Lottie's work that includes a lot of photos from the Hilty farm.
Go directly to Lottie's blog to see the whole collection of photos and her essay. It's a little confusing because you have to scroll to the right to see the photos, not the usual scroll down. Click here to view this outstanding gallery of pictures.