The first Amish came to the northern part of Vernon County in the early 1970s, and settled between Ontario and Cashton. Later settlements were made near Hillsboro, in the Liberty Pole Area south of Viroqua, in the Chaseburg and Stoddard areas of western Vernon County, and also on the Sugar Grove ridge of northeastern Crawford County. Together, these areas make up the Driftless Wisconsin Amish Country.
History & Cultural Heritage of Wisconsin Amish Country
The Amish culture is based on traditional values and practices that date back to the 16th century. They are known for their simple living, plain dress, and resistance to modern conveniences (such as electricity). Their horse-drawn buggies are a common site on our country roads. Amish farmers will extend a friendly wave as you watch them maneuver their massive draft horses before a plow or wagon. Please remember that they do not wish to be photographed.
The Amish of Southwestern Wisconsin brought with them, or have honed, many old-world skills, wood working and furniture making, quilt making, basket weaving, baking and candy making among them. To acquire Amish-made items, you need only attend farmers markets in towns such as Viroqua or Ferryville, or drive the back roads looking for the simple hand-lettered signs that announce a family’s specialty. Please remember there are no sales from the Amish on Sunday sales.
Touring the Wisconsin Amish Country
You may also experience the Driftless Wisconsin Amish Country way of life by taking a tour with one of the area’s knowledgeable guides, which often conclude with a chance to purchase Amish goods and crafts at a specialty shop.