JAMESPORT, Mo. — For this week’s Zip Trip, FOX4 is taking you from Kansas City to Jamesport, Missouri. It is truly a one-of-a-kind town where you can immerse yourself in a unique culture centered around the simple life.
With a population near 500, this quaint, picturesque town is located 80 miles northeast of Kansas City. All of the Amish businesses are located outside of town while everyone else is situated in town. Jamesport is home to the state’s largest Amish community, and you can see the Amish influence everywhere. They have a proud tradition of building things by hand.
Some Amish don`t use electricity and most travel by horse-drawn carriage rather than car. Why? Because that`s how the Apostles lived during the time of Jesus.
“It`s just a simple way of life. It`s a good way of life,” Steve Hostetler said.
Hostetler owns Country Heritage Furniture and sells tables, chairs and dressers made by Amish woodworkers. When his father started the business, they made the furniture in the store.
“It was really neat, but we had a lot of dust, we had a lot of noise in the store and we needed to expand our business, and so maybe eight years ago we took that out,” he said.
The Amish pass down their skills from generation to generation, and they tend to have large families and live on farms.
These Amish businesses are way out in the country, so you`ll have to do a bit of driving and take some gravel roads if you want to visit a place like Homestead Creamery, where they make their own cheese, and this stuff is delicious.
The Creamery is a family-run business: mom and dad and their 10 kids get the milk from an uncle`s dairy down the road and use it to make aged cheddar and other kinds of cheeses. Most Amish families all work together no matter the trade.
Quilting is also a time-honored Amish tradition handed down from mother to daughter, and here at Sherwood Quilts and Fabrics, they make them and then sell them.
“My mother actually did it for other people. It was one way that she could stay at home and make money for her family,” Ada Burkholder, owner of Sherwood Quilts and Fabric, said.
“I think it something that`s very worthwhile. You have to like it because there`s not a lot of money in it.”
If quilting isn`t your jam, how about some homemade jam or a fried pastry from the Countryside Bakery, where they make all kinds of sweet treats.
There are also other fun, unique stores in downtown Jamesport, like Farmhouse Collection, where they pour dozens – sometimes hundreds – of fragrant wax candles every single day.
The businesses in town are not Amish, owned by hardworking families who love this simple life. And they benefit, too, as thousands of tourists from all over the world come to town on the weekends to experience this unique culture.
“I hope they leave with an appreciation for the simple lifestyle and understand it is not a religion, it is a lifestyle,” Hostetler said.
So, if you have a free weekend and want to do something unique with the family, go out to Jamesport and learn all about the Amish way.