Among Maine’s newer immigrants are the Amish. Quietly and determinedly, the Amish began arriving in Maine in the mid 1990s, seeking reasonably priced farmlands and a location where their rural lifestyle wasn’t endangered by development; a place where they could practice their faith and raise their families in peace.
Maine’s Amish first settled in Smyrna, a rural town just west of Houlton in southern Aroostook County; then Easton, near Fort Fairfield, in central Aroostook; and more recently in Unity and Thorndike, neighboring towns folded in the rolling countryside east of Waterville.
In Maine’s Amish communities, cars share the roads with bicycles and horse-drawn buggies, and the Amish, dressed in simple garb, often can be seen working the fields, shopping local markets, and walking along roadways.
A visit to one of Maine’s Amish communities provides not only a window into a traditional lifestyle, but also the opportunity to purchase Amish-made goods. Local shops, such as the Pioneer Place General Store, in Smyrna, sell locally made furniture as well as jams; small signs indicate farms where breads, produce, and other foods may be purchased; and Amish-owned businesses make and sell sheds, offer repair services for buggies and harnesses, and manufacture metal roofs.
Note: taking photographs is discouraged.