Research Trips

Amish Bishop Mysteries Comments: 64

2017-05-18 19.40.59Earlier this month my husband and I had the pleasure of visiting Monte Vista, Colorado–the setting for my Amish Bishop Mystery Series. Yes, there are Amish there! Here are a few things I learned while in the area:

  • The Amish actually live 8 miles south of town, so you rarely see buggies and horses in town. One young Amish woman told me that they only take a buggy to town once or twice a year. The rest of the time they hire a driver.
  • Once you do find an Amish store, most of them have a printed brochure that lists the other Amish stores in the area. This was very handy! Driver beware: most of the roads were not paved.
  • All of the Amish homes we saw, in fact nearly every home we saw in the valley–Amish or not–had solar power.
  • One Amish gentleman told us that there are approximately 40 families in the Monte Vista area. There is also a small community across the mountains in Westcliff.
  • Amish do visit the wildlife areas in the valley. We saw a family of 4 at the Sand Dunes National park.

2017-05-18 10.59.21We very much enjoyed our time in the San Luis Valley. Though it was mid-May, the temperatures dropped to 25 in the evening and there was a snowfall in the mountains of six inches. I’ll be sharing souvenirs, photos, and videos from the area as books 2 and 3 of this series release.

I’m still giving away a $10 Amazon certificate with each blog. Last week’s winner was Dianne. You can be entered this week by leaving a comment below. Tell me if you’ve ever met/talked to an Amish person!



Announcements for this week:

  • What the Bishop Saw is now available in stores and with all e-retailers.
  • My new rafflecopter giveaway includes a set of potholders made by one of the Amish women in the Monte Vista community. Details of the giveaway are on my main page.
  • My Shipshewana Amish mystery series is on sale for $2.99 for all 3 e-books.
  • Want to win a copy of WTBS? My publisher is giving away 10 copies on Goodreads.
  • My inspirational romantic suspense novels are still 99 cents in the kindle and nook stores.
  • Raging Storm is also on sale for 99 cents in ebook format. Light of Dawn will release on 6-27 in ebook and 7-1 in print.

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64 thoughts on “Research Trips

  1. Carole Bierwiler

    When I was a child, my younger sister had an Amish girl for a pen pal. We visited them in Lancaster county and the family was very friendly, although they asked us not to take pictures of the pen pals together.

  2. Maureen

    I periodically visit Shipshewana and have met some Amish there. But I especially enjoy my time with the Amish in your books.

  3. Judy Sheridan Smith

    Yes we have met and talked with Amish folks. Hubby was driving through Ohio some years ago and saw a sign for maple syrup. The lady of the house invited him in and even offered him a loaf of homemade bread to take along with the gallon of syrup he bought. We’ve spent time in Shipshewanna during the past 3 years. The friend we stay with has taken me shopping with her to every Amish shop she could find. She also made sure to take me to every fabric shop within a 15 mile radius; those visits helped increase my ‘stash’ by yards – lol. Lastly, there is a small Amish community not many miles from our home in Stanley, NC. We have shopped at a store (the owner and an employee were very gracious) and a nursery each time we visit the area and have attended a barn-raising benefit which was open to the public because Hamptonville is too small a community to support the need by itself. We hope to make another trip to Indiana in the fall.

  4. Robin in NC

    Several years ago our church group took a trip to Amish country in Lancaster & we got to eat in an Amish house & tour the area! It was awesome! rw620 AT aol DOT com

  5. Lora Dietrich

    My Mom and I went to Charm,Ohio and stayed the night in a bed and breakfast inn, everyone was very kind and easy to talk to.

  6. It takes a book

    Several years ago our church visited Pennsylvania and toured an Amish house. It wasn’t one anyone loved it, just for tourists. We saw some Amish but not to talk to them. I would love to be able to visit an Amish home.
    We have a Dunkard community not far from our house. They dress similar to Amish, I think they go to a Brethern church. I don’t know a lot about them, but I have been to one of their stores. They have awesome sweets and pastries there!
    Sounds like you had a lot of fun Vannetta!

  7. Terry

    Lived in Carroll County, Ohio for over 20 years. I met a lot of Amish at sale barns, even sold out farm to a Amish family.

  8. ruth bogue

    The only Amish person I’ve really had a conversation with was in Shipshewana. The young man was a buggy driver that we took a tour with. He was so nice and gave us a lot of information on the Amish in the area and his culture.

  9. Lisa

    I have never met an Amish person. I enjoy your books. I love What the Bishop Daw and am excited for books 2 and 3!

  10. cherylbbookblog

    I have a couple of times. A couple of years ago I went with a friend to Chincoteague va for the pony swim. I was amazed my the number of Amish and Mennonite there. I was able to talk with the ones standing next to us. I really enjoyed it.
    Then May of last year I went on a bus trip with my mother to Lancaster, PA. It was wonderful. We had dinner at an Amish home. Enjoyed the conversations with the family and the tour that they gave us of their farm.
    CherylB1987 AT hotmail DOT com

  11. Tena Greear

    I met an Amish farmer in Bird in Hand, PA. I bought a mailbox from him that looked like a red Barn. I loved that mailbox but so did the woodpeckers!

  12. Valorie Smith

    Yes Vannette I have had the pleasure of making friends with two local Amish ladies…they both run produce stands on their farms and welcome visitors … share my Amish books with one of them.

  13. Lynn Brokaw

    There are about 40 families in one district. That district split a while back. In the general Monte community there are closer to 70 families. There is also a smaller community just south of them, at La Jara. Very different in many ways, however they do assist each other
    I live in the Monte district and know them well.

  14. Brenda Murphree

    We had a Mennonite girl come to our church with a boy from our church. She married him and became Pentecostal. They have 2 children and another one on the way. Her parents have visited too. She is very active in the Pentecostal Church and has been baptized in Jesus Name and has received the Holy Ghost by evidence of speaking in tongues.
    And no we are not weird people but we do believe a little different than most people in our dress and hair and the places we go. Want to know more? Ask me and I would be glad to tell you.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. kathy

    There is a small community of Amish ,with several business. In my home town in Tennessee. There is also a larger community in the neighbouring town. This community have hitching post at the local Walmart. The Amish are very friendly but they usually don’t speak unless you speak first. Love all your books! Especially the mysteries!

    1. Shanea

      I had the very unfortunate experience of running into some very rude OOM(Old Order Mennonite) boys in the town my husband and I used to visit in Delano, TN !!!!! Let me explain the situation for you, we were thinking of buying some corn out of one of their wagons and these boys were in the wagon with their Dat (who ignored me, by the way!!!!) when I went up to ask if the corn was for sale when one of them said “No it’s not for sale”(with a hateful attitude!!!!) Now they also have a community in Tellico Plains, TN. Maybe it was because was a woman daring to talk to a man, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience(that time).Sometimes they are very nice (for being OOM)people. Don’t ask about the pepperoni rolls (no longer made at either location!!!)UGGGHHH!!!!So yummy hot!!!Finally, no women to be seen at either location, very strange!!!Going to where TN,KY, and VA meet is a nicer story!!!We met an Amish family around Thanksgiving from the community in VA shopping in the local Wal-Mart and saw some Amish/Mennonite girls there on Black Friday!!!!The Amish family was very easy to talk to!!!Chalk it up to different personalities and different people, I guess!!!Funny thing is, she has a friend with a sister in the Delano community at home, huh!!! By the way where exactly is that really long yard sale located?

  16. Connie R.

    We had a group of Amish visiting our area about two years ago. They were checking the area out to see if it would be a good place to live. One man came to our pharmacy window and asked about any possible discount programs we might have. I guess the area passed their test, they bought land about five miles away from town!!!

  17. Anne L. Rightler

    Probably the only Amish I’ve talked with are those who were selling things. Sounds like you had a good trip!

  18. Kathy Rowe

    I have met some very nice Amish folks. We became friends with a couple families and go visit them when we are in Ohio on a vacation. Very nice folks and down to earth not to mention good cooks! Can’t wait to get back up there again.

  19. Diana

    When we added to our church building, it was done by Amish from southern Indiana. As construction manager , my husband enjoyed working with them. Most of the Amish attended the first service held in the new sanctuary and the lunch after. Very nice experience.

  20. Juanita Cook

    We were at an Auction in Pawnee City, NE a couple years ago and I got to visit with an Amish woman who was there visiting family. Then also got to talk to a man in Shipshewana who was holding his baby while his wife was shopping. Both were very nice & easy to talk to.

  21. Cherese Akhavein

    I have a very good Amish family that we write back and forth all the time. I order baskets, quilts, home canned goods and quilted table gunners. From. I also have several Amish friends when we go to Amish Auctions.

  22. Laura J Shuck

    Hi Vannetta,
    I live less than 3 hours from Lancaster, PA and have visited there numerous times, meeting many Amish there. Also, there is an Amish Farm Market near my home, which sells the best food, cooked and fresh! Yum.

  23. Christine

    I have never met or spoke with an Amish person :/ I live in WA state and need to make a trip to MT 😉

  24. Mary Cadahia

    never met any amish. have gotten some of their products but not met them. reading your books make me like I have though

  25. Elli Strukel

    I have spoken with many Amish people as I live close to Shipshewana. I admire them and I love the Amish stories.

  26. Harold Cheetham

    yes. i have talked with many Amish as there are communities nearby and a giant Amish market called The Windmill in Penn Yan,NY

  27. Marilyn

    Yes, I’ve met Amish individuals. I have Amish and Mennonite friends in Amish Country of Illinois–Douglas County. It’s always a pleasure to visit with them. I’ve been in an Amish home, went on a buggy ride and attended events.

  28. Debbie Earls

    We have had some Amish come to some of the leather sales that my brother has. They are very nice people. I did read “What the Bishop Saw” & enjoyed it very much.

  29. Kelly Holloway

    Yes I have met a few Amish. We vacationed in the Intercourse, PA area years ago. Got to go to an Amish farm and meet the Farmer/ woodworker and his father and 3 sons. We purchased a china hutch from him and he gave us a short tour of his barn/ workshop and more wood furniture they had built. Also an Amish gentleman that was giving buggy rides. Both very nice people.

  30. MaryEllen Ashenfelder

    Enjoyed reading your article. I live in central PA and there are several small groups of Amish in our area with stores, roadside stands and nurseries. Two auctions yearly to benefit their schools are fun to attend. Friendly people with a wonderful sense of humor.

  31. Ernestine K Haggarx

    Yes I went I, to a service station to pay for gas in my home town and I went tn to the rest room and had a nice talk with two Amish women I told them I appreciate their way of life and that I use save the Amish made and they thank me.They were the nicest two women I ever meat

  32. Sharon Gander

    I’ve never met/talked to an Amish person, but there are lots of Amish communities in my home state of WI. An Amish gentleman writes a column—diary—for a very nice magazine, Our Wisconsin, which is the first thing I read when my new magazine arrives!

  33. Linda

    Loved What the Bishops Saw. My girls and sister and I make the 127 Longest Yardsale every year. We always stop in Ky at a large sale with Amish. Love the horse on a treadmill churning ice cream and the fried pies are so good. Those girls are workers making pies

  34. Jan Stetson

    I have never had the privilege to meet any of the amazing Amish, but would love to visit one of the communities they live in and talk to them!

  35. amy guillaume linderman

    we love to go to walnut creek ohio. there is the nicest old amish man who gives buggy rides and he talks and talks and is so informative and friendly!

  36. Jeanine Kowalewski

    Yes, I have met some Amish people. I grew up less than two hours from Lancaster, PA and visited the area many times. I also lived in Colorado for 14 beautiful months. I just started What the Bishop Saw! Love your books, Vannetta!

  37. Jackie Tessnair

    I have met some Amish people at a booth where they were selling baked items.I would love to be able to have a conversation about their Amish life with someone Amish.I would love to talk about their quilts,canning and their everyday life.

  38. Patti Gallaghet

    Living where I live in PA, it is not uncommon to speak with Amish and Mennonites. We have a lot of the same interests and have great conversations.

  39. colorvibrant

    I visited Lancaster County for a day last summer while my husband has a work trip in Philadelphia. It was pretty cool to be in a place where so many books I’ve read are set. I chatted with the Amish girl who was working at a quilt shop with amazing quilts. She was super nice 🙂

  40. Kay Bennett

    I have not been lucky enough to meet an Amish person. We do have Mennonite in our area and I did see and talk to them when I worked at the airlines.

  41. Skye Doggett

    My spiritual mama is Mennonite and lived Amish at one time. I plan on visiting the Amish community in my state this summer.

  42. Angela

    No, I have not. I would like to some day visit an area to see the homes and possibly visit some shops.

  43. Natalie Kreitzman

    I have been to Amish country numerous times–specifically Lancaster. I have all types of Amish, handmade souvenirs from these visits. However, I also got numerous hex signs. I have heard the term “pow-wow doctors” used in some Amish books. I don’t think that the hex signs are used specifically by the Amish, however. I think there are plain groups that have them. It might be nice to visit other Amish communities as a means of comparison.

    1. vannettachapman Post author

      Natalie, you’re our winner of a $10 Amazon gift certificate. I sent you an email, so check that and get back with me.

  44. Linda C

    I’ve never actually talked to one personally before but did have several in our area who sold goods at the local farmer’s market! My husband also sold there and was a bit disappointed that they didn’t sell their products competitively as did the other farmers! Instead they priced their goods higher and used the children as a drawing card (so to speak)! I’m not trying to be negative toward the Amish, I love to read about them, but felt this was an interesting perception of the way they sold their items compared to everyone else. It was like they let their children appear needy to get more money for the products! And perhaps this was a particular group of Amish & not your normal Amish way of doing business! It was just a view point that seldom is told!

  45. Patty

    I went to Shipshewana one time years ago but don’t actually remember meeting any Amish.
    We own a small business and every once in a while see a lady with a small head covering, maybe Mennonite?

  46. ladybug1016

    No, I have never met an Amish person, but have seen many on trips to visit our family in Missouri and Iowa. 🙂

  47. Patty

    In the last two towns we lived in I always tried to start a conversation with Amish women at the store but they didn’t seem too happy about it. Where we live now I have talked with a handful of Amish women & they were very nice. Occasionally a horse and buggy will come down our road & I really enjoy hearing the horse’s feet clomping as they go.

  48. Anne Rightler

    Other than the Amish people selling their wares at stands/markets, I have not met any Amish. Thx for sharing.

  49. Sonja

    Yes, in fact I have spoken to people from this very place while they were visiting in Utah! It was so cool because as I left work on the local street car type train to take me to the main train station, I was reading my Amish book written by none other that Vanetta Chapman only to see 3 Amish people at the train station. A very unusual site in Utah! And as we spoke they told me they were from this community in Colorado and were visiting Utah as they had promised each other before they married that they would be traveling a lot together! The “third” person was their little baby. So fun!

    1. books7685

      Since living in southern York county and visit Lancaster County frequently, I come in contact with a lot of Amish. They are very friendly and polite. Recently I talked to one Amish man in a doctor’s office in Ronks Pa and he was very nice and we had a nice conversation.

  50. vannettachapman Post author

    Thanks everyone for commenting. I love reading about your experiences. Our winner for this week was Natalie K. And my next blog will post in a few minutes. Blessings!