What to Expect When You Visit
The Illinois Amish Country surrounding Arthur, Illinois is unlike anywhere else in the state. Don't expect theme parks or water slides. Don't expect fast paced, back to back entertainment. But do expect to explore, relax, experience, and observe a different pace of life. A pace that might take you back many years.
You will truly experience a bygone horse and buggy era, and enjoy the peaceful feeling of years ago. Arthur itself is a small, tidy rural community with tree shaded streets, good local schools and a self sufficient business community, that, while updated, is still quite reminiscent of rural America 75 years ago. Our small downtown has a number of vibrant shops of interest to visitors, including antiques, local woodwork and quilts, fresh fudge, cheese and baked goods, crafts, fine arts, and an old fashioned marble soda fountain at the local drug store. With all this to experience within slightly more than a city block, many take advantage of the numerous benches and just relax after visiting the shops to round out their day.
But you will also want to see our countryside around town.
Arthur and the surrounding rural area, for about 9-10 miles in every direction, is home to Illinois largest Amish settlement. More than 4,000 Amish call the Arthur area home. The slower pace of horse farming and buggy travel makes us all slow down and take our time. Many shops are heated by wood stoves and lit by gas lamps. They all have hitch racks out front for their customers, and the unique product selection runs from sewing supplies and quilts to hand cut meats to fine hand crafted custom furniture. Almost every farmstead offers some kind of shopping opportunity. The Arthur Amish folks, while keeping to themselves with their religious beliefs and unique customs, are friendly people who enjoy visiting. Everyone who visits Arthur enjoys exploring the country shops.
And then there is the food. While we just opened our first "chain" restaurant in Arthur... a Subway, we still have plenty of home cooking left for you to enjoy. And many visitors who plan ahead enjoy having a meal with an Amish family out on the farm. A recent adaptation in our Amish community is the allowing Amish ladies to take in people for a meal to earn a little extra "egg money." As the Amish ladies are experience cooks who often get together and cook for church, wedding and funeral meals serving hundreds, they are happy to seat groups of 10 or more if scheduled ahead. They put together a very filling meal that will take you down memory lane. Fried chicken, real mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, homemade noodles, fresh salad, fresh , homemade bread, and lots of fresh pie. After the meal, the Amish host, or husband if he is home, will take each group out around the farmstead and discuss the barns, animals, buggy travel and horse farming, and some general facets of Amish country life.
Occasionally some of the religious beliefs and customs also come up in discussions on these farm tours. And you can observe some of the obvious customs such as dress, buggy use, and the absence of electricity while visiting the shops. But for a better understanding of Amish life, we offer both self guiding and live guided tours. Both of these go into Amish beliefs and customs in much greater detail and are available through ACM Tours. Live, step on guides need to be scheduled in advance, but the self guiding tours are available anytime at the Wood loft, in downtown Arthur.
This is Arthur Amish Country. Experiencing, relaxing, observing and learning while visiting, shopping and eating. ACM Tours can assist with helping you plan to make the most out of your visit. Call or email us today and let us know when you might be coming. We'll get started on a plan just for you.