Categories: Champaign Urbana

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola

Less than an hour away from Champaign Illinois is the little town of Arthur, with a vibrant community of Amish. Though the Amish are generally considered to be quite reluctant to connect with the modern world, the Arthur Amish are generally very open and friendly and Arthur is now promoted as no less than a tourist destination for the Champaign folks to visit on the weekends. Paradoxically, Arthur even has a small Amish ‘amusement park’ (see Rockome Gardens).

The university center taking care of visiting scholars like myself offered us to join in for a weekend day trip out to visit the Amish so although I try to stay away from group tours I decided to sign up. On the agenda was a visit to some of the Amish stores, an Amish lunch at one of their homes, a visit to a buggy carriage workshop and finally a short stroll through the main Arthur street.

 

You’ll notice right away when you hit Amish land, the cars make their way to more traditional forms of transportation…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola

 

And the landscape turns from corn to varieties of…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola 

 

Their official website reads :

Arthur, Illinois is a town of 2,200 residents located 10 miles west of Interstate 57 off exit 203 in East Central Illinois. The friendly, down-home atmosphere welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and helps to back up the town motto, "You’re a stranger only once."  Arthur is in the Heart of Illinois Amish Country, with more than 1,000 Amish families living in the countryside around Arthur.

Arthur’s surrounding Amish settlement, was established in 1865 by a handful of families, and has grown to over 4,500 members. The Amish farm the rich land of the Arthur area with teams of six to eight horses, and operate numerous "country shops." The horse-drawn, black Amish buggies are a common sight around Arthur and Amish country.

In Arthur, the downtown business district is filled with a variety of gift shops, fine clothing stores, unique craft shops, furniture shops and several restaurants. You can easily spend half a day or more wandering the shops and still have a need to return.

Industry also thrives in the area. Businesses and business-people find Arthur an attractive place to establish a presence. With a strong work force and a healthy economic climate, the Amish country is a great place to live and a great place to work!

 

We started from Shady Crest, offering fresh Amish produce…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola

 

Another stop in a different shop and then off to an Amish home, to get some lunch…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola

 

With way too many delicious sweet things…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola

 

Next was the buggy workshop…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola 

 

Owned by this Amish man…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola

 

Who explained and demonstrated the basics of buggy building, a skill passed on to him from his grand-father through his father and now being passed on to his children…

 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola 

Illinois Amish Country : Arthur Arcola 

 

If you’re in the area, you might also want to stop in at the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center.

 

Location:

 

There more to explore and see in this area but this was a good first taste of what’s to see. Hopefully will get a chance to visit again when the weather turns normal again.

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