Simple Life in New Wilmington, Pa

amish girls with caps

Hello friends!

My name is Susan Hougelman. I live and work in a little town in Western Pennsylvania called New Wilmington. New Wilmington is home to an Old Order Group of Amish called the Byler Settlement. We have the third largest Old World Order Amish group in Pennsylvania, and tenth largest and oldest Amish population in the United States.

You can recognize our Amish by their burnt orange colored buggies. The Amish men wear blue denim trousers and blue cotton shirts. The women wear only shades of blue and purple. The men wear straw hats, and women wear white caps, that they call kapps. Their kapps have sixty pleats in them, with a little bow in the back. Some say they are the prettiest kapps of them all. The Amish women here, wish they weren’t so complicated to make…that’s a lot of pleats!

Most Amish men in New Wilmington are farmers, and woodworkers. The Amish in New Wilmington make beautiful furniture that is shipped all over the world! The Amish here, love the community of New Wilmington, because they can buy and sell most everything from each other. There is an amazing business network that goes on!

I own two businesses in New Wilmington. One is a restaurant, that sells made from scratch, Amish type cuisine, called The Tavern on the Square. Every day somebody would come into my restaurant and ask, “Susan, where can we see the Amish?” But there is not much tourism in New Wilmington. The Amish live and work here, and have little shops, but it has not been marketed to the public, most of their business comes from locals and each other. So, I would tell people to just drive around and look for the Amish. But I am a business woman, and I saw an opportunity! One day, I said to one of my restaurant guests who asked where she could go and see the Amish, “I will take you and show you!” That’s how my Simple Life Amish Tour business got started. BUT, I had a problem. I had never really spoken to an Amish person before and definitely had never been in an Amish shop! The Amish kind of separate themselves from the English, so unless you were a neighbor, or did business with an Amish person, you would really have no reason to converse.

Photo Credit: Jim Fisher

I asked a friend who sells Grass Fed Beef and has many Amish clients, if she would take me around and show me every Amish business in my home town. One Saturday morning, we left at 7:00 am and we counted THIRTY Amish businesses in New Wilmington, that I had no idea existed! I felt like I was discovering a lost city, or secret treasure, that no one else knew about! I picked seven businesses including an Amish farm and greenhouse, a grocery store, a dry goods store, a quilt shop and a furniture maker. I asked those business owners if they would mind if I brought people to see their business, and they all said that they didn’t mind. That was nearly three years ago, and I’ve now conducted over 600 tours in the past three years! I’ve gotten to meet guests from all over the world who are fascinated with the Amish, or just want to learn more about the Amish way of life. New Wilmington is not a tourist destination. What you will find here is real and authentic way of life. If you take my tour, you will get a personal encounter with several Amish families.

I’ve also built very strong and loving relationships with the Amish community, since starting my business. I am often welcomed into their homes for meals, or to play games. I’ve been invited to Amish weddings and school programs. I even went on vacation with an Amish family! The children have become like my very own grandchildren to me. One little Amish girl named Esther, sneaks to an English neighbor’s garage and uses her phone to call me. In the middle of one conversation, she paused and said, “Susy, you are our best friend.”

My business is so fulfilling. I believe that God has chosen me, to bring the love of Jesus Christ to my Amish community. I do not preach to them, but I do shower them with love and kindness. If you are ever in my neck of the woods, please look me up. I would love to take you on a Simple Life Amish Tour and show you the amazing beauty that exists here, and introduce you to my Amish friends….and grandchildren : )

Connect with Susan:

Facebook: Simple Life in New Wilmington, Pa

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An Amish Summer: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell


An Amish Summer – Bring it On!

When you happen upon a novel that contains the stories of four well-known Amish-genre authors, your heart skips a beat. Well, at least mine does – especially when I have the opportunity to read Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Irvin! So when An Amish Summer arrived, I said, “Bring it on!”

A Reunion in Pinecraft by Shelley Shepard Gray follows sisters Sharon and Sherilyn Kramer, who have made the trek to Florida for vacation…and perhaps something more. Sherry has been exchanging letters with an Amish man named Graham. Sherry and Graham have decided to rendezvous in Pinecraft. But Graham is shocked to find that he’s been writing to the wrong sister! Now he must choose who he really likes – but it’s not that easy. Who will get a match? Read and find out!

My Take: A Reunion in Pinecraft was a good, quick read. The characters were winsome, and Shelley Shepard Gray kept this reader guessing ‘til the end. Definitely a good start with this first novella of the collection.

Summer Storm by Amy Clipston tells the story of Arianna and her lifetime friend and fiancée, Jesse. All is going according to plan until one eventful night that involves Arianna’s brother (and Jesse’s best friend), Tobias. When Arianna’s dad forbids their union as a result, all plans come to a halt…and maybe that is God’s will after all?

My Take: Summer Storm was a page-turner. The story was believable and agonizing. I couldn’t put it down until I knew just what would happen! Now I want the story to continue!

Lakeside Love by Kathleen Fuller takes you an a journey with Esther Coblentz. Esther has always struggled with comparing herself to her gorgeous younger sister, Sarah. She can’t even catch the attention of her secret love, Judah (whose smitten for Sarah.) When a handsome Yankee named Rhett comes to live with the Coblentzes, everything is turned on end.

My Take: Lakeside Love is a beautiful, charming story of summer romance. Sarah is a hoot – and the other characters are downright loveable. I’d love to go to their lake and just stay for a while. Outstanding novella.

One Sweet Kiss by Kelly Irvin brings you to Bee County, Texas, Jacob King, and Martha Byler. Jacob only has eyes for Martha, and it seems almost everyone can see that but Martha. Martha is afraid to trust again – especially since her mother’s death. Her place is with her father, raising her siblings. Besides, Jacob is a poster child for rumspringas. Martha doesn’t need yet more responsibility. What will happen?

My Take: One Sweet Kiss was an amusing, captivating read. At one point my life had to stop so that I could finish this novella! The subplots were well-executed – I think we all know a Dwayne – and I adored the Simon/Amanda story and the way it was handled.

I was given An Amish Summer in exchange for my honest review. It was fabulous! Each novella held its own (not always the case with a collection of novellas.) This is the perfect book to take with you to the beach. Even if you’re not headed to the beach, don’t waste any time snagging your copy of An Amish Summer – it’s worth the read!

Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!

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The Sisters of Sugarcreek by Cathy Liggett (Plus Giveaway)


I’ve lived in Ohio all my life. Well, almost all my life. There were those 5 years when my one true love married me and whisked me off to live in New York. But after our daughter was born, it only seemed natural to head back to our families in the Midwest. That’s where we’ve been ever since.

But I have to tell you, although Sugarcreek is only about 3½ hours from our home, I honestly never knew anything about the town. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was invited there to speak to a group of women about my book Beaded Hope (which actually took place on the other side of the world in South Africa) that I made the trek up the highway for a visit.

Have you all been to Sugarcreek? I’d love to hear your impressions of the town and people. For me, during that initial visit to Sugarcreek, I definitely had a “feeling.” You know, that very special sort of feeling. The one where you feel completely comfortable and at home. <Sigh!> Like you could mess up whatever you have to say, and no one will judge you. Like you could take off your shoes and wiggle your toes, and no one would care. (Not that I did that, of course!)

Basically, I felt no pretense in the air in that little burg, and nothing that said hurry. No horns honking. No long lines of traffic. Most notable was the occasional Amish buggy, clip-clopping its way up Main Street…a sound so soothing it could lull you into a peaceful trance if you let it.

Added to the town’s charm were the groups of ladies I met who had invited me there to speak and sign books. Both English and Amish, they were so genuine and sweet I felt like I’d known them forever. I really, really, really didn’t want to leave those women or the place. From the moment I left Sugarcreek years ago, I wanted to go back!

So it isn’t any wonder that my latest book, The Sisters of Sugarcreek, is set in the quaint town, giving me the chance to do just that—return there again, both figuratively and literally.

If you’re up for a fictional visit to Sugarcreek, come meet The Sisters of Sugarcreek—Jessica, Liz, and Lydia—at Rose’s Knit One Quilt Too Cottage. They’re an unlikely trio brought together by unusual circumstances. But as I’ve learned—and as they learn too—sometimes our hardest times in life can bring us the most special and unexpected gifts!

Blessings to you all!

About The Sisters of Sugarcreek :

Many lives were changed the day a fire burned down Faith Community Church, devastating the small town of Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Now a young Amish widow, Lydia Gruber faces an uncertain future. Her husband, a craftsman and volunteer firefighter, always took care of everything, keeping her isolated from others in their community. Without anyone or any skills, how will she survive?

With the death of her beloved aunt Rose in the fire, single mom Jessica Holtz inherits Rose’s Knit One Quilt Too Cottage. Though determined to keep the shop open in her aunt’s memory, she doesn’t know the first thing about knitting and quilting and begins to see her aunt’s dream slip through her fingers.

When Liz Cannon lost her dear friend Rose, she also lost her partner in the Secret Stitches Society—the name they gave themselves while delivering gifts of hope to troubled folks in the dark of night. She’s also having problems of her own as the life she has rebuilt for herself begins to crumble again.

When Liz convinces Jessica to keep the Secret Stitches Society going, and they choose Lydia for their first mission, the three women cross paths and form an unlikely friendship in the aftermath of tragedy. As they walk together through triumph and heartbreak—through grief and new chances at love—they begin to discover that with friends by your side, a stitch of hope can be found anywhere.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Cathy! Destination Amish LOVES Sugarcreek. 😉 Readers, Cathy is giving ONE lucky person a chance to win a wonderful prize!

The GIVEAWAY includes:

-Signed hardcover copy of The Sisters of Sugarcreek
-Recipe cards from The Sisters of Sugarcreek Characters
-4 ft. Amish quilted table runner from Sugarcreek


To enter, leave a comment below. The winner will be selected at random and announced on Thursday, June 22nd!

*Giveaway starts today, Wednesday, June 14th and ends Wednesday, June 21st and is only open to US residents*

Cathy Liggett is the American Christian Fiction Writers’ prestigious Carol Award-winning author of Beaded Hope, her debut women’s fiction novel which was also nominated Best Inspirational Novel by Romantic Times’ Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Besides women’s fiction, she enjoys writing sweet romances. Cathy and her husband live in southwest Ohio and spend most of their free time walking and spoiling their boxer mix, Chaz. They are always happiest when their greatest blessings—their two grown children and most delightful son-in-law—are home for a stay. Visit her website at

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