03 March 2015

Amish in New York

According to Amish American website, New York state has the 5th largest Amish population in the country.  As I drive into the agricultural lands surrounding Ithaca I have encountered a few horse/buggy signs but it wasn't until Sunday that I spotted my first signs of Amish life as many people were heading home from church.

The roads were fairly empty on this blustery winter day and it seemed that I passed more horse-driven rides than cars. In the 1940's I have read that there was little Amish presence in the Empire State but things have changed.  Now the population is above 13,000 people in 96 church districts.  I can understand the appeal - agricultural land for the plenty and at a lower cost than land in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

My mission on Sunday was to find a Snowy Owl and though I did criss-cross the country roads sharing spaces with the Amish, I didn't find an owl.  I did find a herd of deer feeding and a nice flock of Snow Buntings and Horned Larks.  I guess there's always next time!

I'll admit I had my heat on and my windows up except for times of scanning fields for the elusive white owl.  I wonder how the Amish keep warm in a black rectangular buggy? I probably will never know first hand but I bet it requires warm clothes and a short commute.

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