The Amana Colonies are not far from Kalona, Iowa. If you have never been there you are really missing something. Right off of Interstate 80, this is one of my favorite places on earth. You will find scenic vistas on every side, awesome food, baked goods, quaint gift shops, furniture stores, woolen mills, and the Amana's are famous for their wines.
The Amana Colonies are not connected to the Amish in anyway, except that they are both religious groups with German roots. They share an industrious, agricultural lifestyle, and quality craftsmanship in whatever they build.
However, I have had people stop at my place, ten miles from Kalona, looking for the Amana Colonies. When I ask if they are looking for Amish farms or the Amana Colonies they repeatedly say, "what's the difference?" I tell them to go check out Kalona, while they are so close and I try to explain the difference.
The Amana people still hold church services. They were once a communal group, sharing ownership of all possessions. That ended in the mid-nineteen hundreds. Amish, though dependent on community are not communal, in the same sense of the word.
Amana people live a very modern lifestyle for the most part; yet, visiting their villages takes you back in time.
It's my opinion that a person who enjoys time travel (as I call it) would enjoy visiting both communities.
The Amana people built a long canal within their seven villages. They used this canal for transporting farm produce and other goods. This train depot pictured above is located near the canal. All of this obviously designed for convenient transfer of goods from the fields, sent floating down the canal to the railway.
I hope you didn't mind me diverting from my usual Amish and horses topics! I will get back to that in my next blog.