Amish Community Experience
If you’re looking for a different kind of cultural experience on your Deep South holiday, the Amish communities in Tennessee could be just what you’re after. Though not generally associated with the Southern States, there are large Amish settlements just an hour and a half from Nashville. These offer a glimpse of an alternative, simpler way of living.
There are currently 8 Amish settlements in Tennessee, with Ethridge being the oldest and largest. Set up in the 1940’s, Ethridge has become established as a tourist attraction, with its very own Welcome Centre, where visitors are provided with a guide map to help them make the most of their experience. Essentially, like the majority of Amish settlements, Ethridge is a farming community, supplemented by a range of home enterprises and small stores. So, for tourists, there are numerous Amish outlets where goods can be bought. Plus, Amish restaurants serving traditional fayre, and of course the quintessential wagon-ride experience operators.
Top Things To Do in Ethridge
- Amish Country Flea Market
There’s definitely something heart-warming and calming about wandering around produce stalls surrounded by the tantalising aroma of freshly baked goods – and the Ethridge Flea Market provides exactly that. This authentic local market is great for all your needs, big or small. Whether you’re after just fresh grocery staples or a truly unique hand-crafted gift for a loved one, there’s something for everyone in Ethridge. And you can even grab a tasty Amish snack if you're feeling hungry.
- Amish Wagon Tour
No Amish community visit would be complete without a guided wagon tour. The tourist wagons look more like horse-drawn buses, as they are much larger than the traditional Amish wagons so they can accommodate more passengers, but that doesn’t detract from this must-do experience. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable, so this is one of the best ways to learn about the fascinating Amish culture, whilst taking in the sights of the community.
- Taste Amish Food
Sampling some traditional Amish food whilst in Ethridge is essential, with something to suit all tastes. Basic, hearty, fresh-cooked dishes using farm produce are what it’s all about. Of course, there are the fresh-baked breads and cakes demanding to be savoured, but there’s much more to Amish cuisine than that. Dishes to look out for: Scrapple (fried pork scraps and cornmeal); Dutch Cabbage Rolls (beef mince and rice stuffed cabbage leaves); Chicken & Corn Soup (a hearty home-cooked broth); Bologna (smoked beef sausage).
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