The rolling farmlands north of Pittsburgh, in Lawrence County, are Amish country -- a place where almost 2,000 Old-Order Amish make their home on the farms that surround the quaint villages of New Wilmington and Volant. A back roads' drive through the Amish countryside provides a glimpse of their peaceful life. The Old-Order Amish community in Lawrence County is the third largest in the United States.
What to Expect:
The Amish community in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, is made up of thirteen Amish schools and fourteen church districts. Each district has an average of 75 adult members, plus children. Most of the Amish in Lawrence County are agricultural or dairy farmers and can often be seen plowing their fields with horses or tending the cattle. Amish buggies are commonly seen on area roads, and shops in Volant and New Wilmington, as well as roadside stands sell Amish goods.
Location / Directions:
Located one hour north of Pittsburgh, the Old Order Amish community of approximately 1,500 people lives in farms that surround the quaint villages of New Wilmington and Volant in the northern section of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.
New Wilmington, Pennsylvania:
Located five miles east of route 60, New Wilmington is nestled in the picturesque countryside of Lawrence County in western Pennsylvania. New Wilmington was established in 1797-98 and became a borough in 1873. The Amish settled the area around 1847. The Tavern Inn, located in the heart of the village, was once part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Wilmington is also home to Westminster College. Local Amish sights include the Amish Auction House, Schoolhouse and Graveyard.
Several restaurants as well as many craft, antique and specialty shops are located in New Wilmington. You can even find an Isaly's Restaurant here, one of the last remaining in the country. Lodging can be found in several bed and breakfasts, or the area of the nearby Prime Outlets at Grove City. Hitching and parking are free!
The village of Volant was originally a small gristmill town, incorporated in 1893. Located adjacent to New Wilmington, midway between Erie and Pittsburgh, Volant almost became a ghost town in the late 1970s due to the mill's closing, but was revived and restored in the early 1980s by several businessmen.
Today, main street in Volant is a place where Amish buggies co-mingle with automobiles. The gristmill is now a country, antique and specialty shop, but plans have been announced to restore the historic Volant mill to working condition. Other shops along Main Street offer Victorian collectibles, homemade arts and crafts, Christmas specialties, pottery, music-related items and contemporary fashions. Volant is also home to many restaurants and other specialty stores such as rugs and carpeting.
Amish Self-Guided Tour:
The Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Area offers a Self-Guided Tour of the beautiful Amish countryside around Volant and New Wilmington.