My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Open buggies—known in Amish Indiana as “cruisers.”

I saw this ad for them recently in The People’s Exchange (the local Amish-focused bi-weekly publication), and it reminded me of how things do change in Amish culture, although usually slowly and always very thoughtfully.

About ten years ago, when I was still a weekend visitor to the area, I started noticing a few young men driving various homemade-looking open wagons—some with automobile seats installed at the front!  But as time passed, they became less of a novelty, and now it seems like nearly every Amish family owns one.  Styles vary, but the ad shows the main types sold here.

Advantages?  They are cool in the summer and give a wonderful view of the countryside.  They are also lighter, meaning less strain on the horses and longer trips are possible.  The main disadvantage is obvious, and I’ve seen more than a few wet, cold Amish familys hurrying home in the rain in an open buggy! 

My Amish friend Ruth tells me that a few generations ago, open buggies used to be the only kind used by the Amish in this area, no matter what the weather.  (That is still true for the Swiss Amish downstate in the Wayne and Allen County areas.  I’ll talk about that in another post.)  So in a way, these new cruisers are a way to come full circle.

I took these two photos recently.  The first one shows the more common local style—very lightweight and open to the weather—and the second one show another popular style that looks more like the ones used downstate by the Swiss Amish.

I haven’t ridden in a cruiser yet, but I hope to soon!

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