There is a lot more to see in the seven villages of the Amana Colonies than you might think. It's easy to make a quick stop in Amana, dash in to the General Store, maybe walk through the historic Woolen Mill and Furniture Store and end with a meal at one of the three German restaurants in Amana.
That is all good. But there is so much more to see and do in the colonies. Visitors really need at least two full days to visit the colonies.... and even that will leave you with things left to do next time..
The Amana Colonies are seven villages – each unique and interesting. Six of the villages include "Amana" in their name, with Homestead being the odd one out, (but the best one of all – where Die Heimat Country Inn and Next Door Event Center are located). The others are South Amana, West Amana, High Amana, Middle Amana, Amana, and East Amana. You can see all but East Amana when you travel the 17 mile loop that includes parts of Hwy 6, 220th trail, and Hwy 151.
Visitors can travel from village to village and tour the colonies on their own by watching for the black and white signs that mark the shops, museums, artists, and wineries. But I suggest you start with an organized tour. Here at Die Heimat we now offer our guests individualized historically entertaining tours with a knowledgeable guide at a very reasonable rate. There is nothing like getting the inside story from someone who has lived here all his life and knows the Amana story from personal experience.
The best part is that he will build a trip to your specific interests if you like. Otherwise, he will take you to some of the following places – You'll step back in time to when Amana was communal and visit a kitchen where villagers partook of three hearty meals a day plus two snacks prepared under the careful eye of the "kitchen boss" and her staff. You may visit a village bakery where bread is still baked in a stone hearth oven like the olden days.
The Homestead church is an important stop where an Amana schwester (sister) will explain the simple faith and traditions of the Amana church folks and answer questions. Tours can also include a visit to the Schanz Furniture Store in South Amana and their Basket and Broom Shop in West Amana, where you can watch them working at their crafts. Fern Hill is a quilt and gift shop in South Amana that you won't want to miss. In High Amana you step back in time at the General Store which is much as it was in the mid-1800s. There you can purchase locally made and old-fashioned items. Just down the street is the Amana Arts Guild that offers exhibits and items to purchase that are made by local artisans: potters, painters, quilters, wood-workers, etc.
As you drive along in the comfort of your own vehicle, you will notice the beauty of the landscape, the lily lake, the flower gardens, the unique historic structures, as well as the friendly locals who are happy to welcome you and to share stories of this special place.
On your next visit, let us host you and arrange a 3-4 hour tour to get you started. It's a great way to get an overview of the area and the history and then choose what you want to go back and see more in-depth.