Tourists will glimpse the unpretentious Amish lifestyle throughout Northeast Iowa. The counties of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Howard and Winnesheik in Northeast Iowa, all contain thriving Amish communities. The cultural experience and small town charm draw tourists to the area year after year. In the recent decade, the Amish have opened an assortment of stores in Northeast Iowa. Tourists and locals alike, enjoy purchasing homemade butter, jams, fried fruit pies, homemade quilts and handcrafted furniture from the Amish run stores.
Cresco County has a bed and breakfast that is a traveler’s treat. The Converse House Bed and Breakfast is conveniently located one block from the shopping district. The estate built at the turn of the century offers a total of four guest rooms with a family dining experience. Hotel Burke, located in Riceville, Iowa, is steeped in history. The opulent hotel was built in 1902, following the Riceville fire. The floor is designed with blue and tan hand cut terrazzo. The ceiling is gold embossed tin. The hotel is a perfect wedding venue. Tourists that prefer modern conveniences may prefer Murphy's Cove, located in Lansing, Iowa. Murphy’s Cove is a two story home constructed in 2004.
Amish Market, located on Main Street in Lansing, Iowa (Allamakee County) is a modest décor and home furnishings store with splendidly handcrafted unique pieces. Fairbank, a city located in both Fayette and Buchanan Counties, has a quaint little quilt shop located on Fairbank-Amish Boulevard that will happily accept special orders. A nearby furniture store produces resilient pieces built to withstand decades of abuse and love.
A drive down a gravel road in Amish country will take visitors back to a simpler time. Tourists should expect to pass horse drawn buggies, the preferred form of transportation for the Amish. The Amish live quiet, private lives; however, visitors may view men working in the fields, children playing in the yards and women dressed in bonnets and long drab-colored dresses sitting on front porches churning butter.
The Amish beliefs and practices date back to the Protestant Reformation. The first Amish immigrants arrived in America from Switzerland, settling in Pennsylvania. As the Amish multiplied in numbers, some moved to Iowa bringing the Ordnung. The Ordnung is a set of unwritten rules for daily living that the Amish follow.
*Photo courtesy of Amish 092 by Lisa G. at Flickr’s Creative Commons.