The Amish in Tennessee

Amish in Ethrudge, TennesseeWhen you’re traveling on U.S. 43 in southern Middle Tennessee, Amish in Ethridge, Tennesseeyou’ll probably share the road with a horse-and-buggy or two. The town of Ethridge, about an hour south of Nashville, is an Amish community and a big tourist draw.  I met some Nashville friends there over the Fourth of July weekend for what we Amish craftsdo best: Eating, shopping and talking. Two of the three were successful, since we ate and talked with no problem whatsoever. But the shopping? Meh. Amish craftsSeveral buildings proclaiming “Amish crafts” and “Handmade Amish goods” hug the highway, but I’m suspicious. And yes, I know: I’m always suspicious. But this time I had good reason, I think. We were expecting to find gotta-have examples of folk-art, but we didn’t. We could have been in any craft shop anywhere — nothing said “I’m special! I’m different! Take me home!” I did spy some wonderfully whimsical furniture, but nothing else impressed. Maybe it’s our perception — when I think “Amish,” I think of high-quality American folk-art, but what we found instead was the same ol’-same ol’. Nothing wrong with that, but we were disappointed because we expected more. You know? We did browse through a nearby flea market, loaded up on Amish-made cookies, bread and candy (or maybe that was just me) and enjoyed an ice-cold Coke out of an ice-cold glass bottle just like we all grew up with. That — and hanging out with my friends — was worth the trip. Check it out yourself at http://www.tnvacation.com/vendors/amish_country_mall/