Behind the wheel of the tour van, Nisly revealed that his father was the minister of the Middle East District of Kalona. The man, he said, was "heartbroken" when his son left the order.

Though they disagreed on religion, Daniel Nisly still admired his father's relative enlightenment.

"He understood the Scriptures much more than most of the Amish," he told a passenger. That, he added, meant a more worldly perspective than many in his flock.

"He was teaching (about) having a walk with God," Nisly concluded.

That's something easier to fathom in this corner of God's country.

If you go

Getting there

Kalona is about four hours by car west of Chicago via Interstate Highways 88 and 80. Exit I-80 at U.S. Highway 218. Go south to State Road 1 and turn west to Kalona.


The Kalona Historical Village (715 D Ave., Kalona, Iowa; 319-656-2519; is open Monday through Saturday year-round. Admission is $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 7-12. Van tours are offered Monday through Saturday from April 15 through Oct. 31. They depart at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. from the Kalona Chamber of Commerce (514 B Ave., 319-656-2660, are $15 for adults and $6 for children ages 7-12.