Finding your way out of the bustle of modern life is as simple as turning down a country road in Lawrence County.
When you find yourself sharing that lane with a horse-drawn buggy, you are in the largest settlement of Old Order Amish in the South. It begins just north of Lawrenceburg in Ethridge and is spread out over several miles east and west of U.S. Highway 43.
The community has grown from three families who arrived in 1944 to approximately 300 who adhere to the doctrine of this most conservative branch of the Amish sect.
Old Order Amish do not use electricity or have running water in their homes. They use real horsepower for transportation and farm work. They have their own schools and home-based churches, and converse with each other in a Pennsylvania-Dutch/German dialect.
The Amish do not pay for or receive any government benefits, vote, or serve in the military. They wear dark colors – black, dark blue, green, and brown. Everyone covers their head – girls wear black caps until they marry then switch to white. Amish men do not shave their beards after they marry but are forbidden to wear mustaches, as Amish associate them with the military.
Lawrence County’s Amish families support themselves with farming operations and by selling produce and handmade items to the public.
Rules for visiting and doing business in Amish Country:
Many Amish families welcome visitors and sell a variety of prepared foods, produce, furniture, leather goods, baskets, and other items.
Handmade signs at the end of an Amish driveway will direct you to these sellers; otherwise the family does not do business with the public. There are absolutely no Sunday sales.
Photographs of Amish people are not allowed.
This belief is based on the second commandment, which forbids the creation of any graven image. This is also the reason Amish dolls do not have faces and there are no mirrors in Amish homes.
Visitors are asked to treat Amish residents with friendship, courtesy, and respect.