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The Amish in Ohio
There is a population of over 336,235 Amish in the United States as of the 2019 consensus. The largest population being in Pennsylvania with 79,200. The second largest population resides in Ohio with 76,195 and the third being Indiana with 57,430 Amish. There are Amish populations residing in almost all 50 states, but in much smaller communities. If you want to visit the Amish in Ohio and learn their best kept secrets, you will want to visit Holmes County. This is the area where over 36,755 Amish people reside.
The best way to visit Amish country in Ohio is to spend a long weekend in their community. There is something to do for everyone in Amish country. For cultural experiences you can visit museums and historical sites. After hours of cultural enrichment, have some outdoor fun with horseback riding, hiking and biking on the rails to trails paths. Also make it a plan to visit furniture shops where you’ll find thousands of Amish made quality products that last a lifetime. Equally important, since you worked up an appetite for down home cooking, make sure to stop at one of the many family owned and operated country stores for mouthwatering entrees and desserts. There is an Amish country tourism bureau which can be accessed here. Continue reading this post for a rundown of popular places to visit the Amish in Ohio.
Holmes County is where the majority of Amish reside in Ohio. There are a multitude of options that will meet your housing needs either in this county or within a 60-mile radius. They have the hotels and Inns, some owned and operated by the Amish. If you want the ultimate Amish experience, I would recommend staying at a Bed and Breakfast or an Airbnb. As a matter of fact, don’t be afraid to also look into cabin rentals and tree house cabins. Since you are experiencing something new, don’t settle with drab lodging, be adventurous. Let’s take a look at the towns in Holmes County where you can learn about Amish culture and experience what they have to offer.
Loudonville, OH is located in both Ashland and Holmes Counties. Due to the many canoe liveries along the Mohican River, it is referred to as “the Canoe Capital of Ohio”. One of the great tourist attractions is the Mohican Adventures center. They offer canoeing, camping, high ropes course, miniature golf and much more. After a day of fun in the sun, wind down at the Ugly Bunny Winery, roughly 4 miles down the road. In addition to food and adventure, don’t forget to stop in at the Raby Hardware General Store, they’ve been around since 1885. It’s not your typical hardware store, but they’ll have what you need! If Native American jewelry and crafts are your thing, then take an hour or so and peruse the Creative Outlet Indian Jewelry and Craft store.
Lodging in Loudonville is unique. In addition to hotels, the beautiful Mohican State Park also offers camping of the various sorts. Renting cabins is also an option, not to mention the tree-top cabins as well. Conversely ,if you’re willing to drive only 16 miles away, there is a community called “Apple Valley”. This is a place where you can rent Airbnb homes if you prefer the luxury of a home while traveling. There are indeed more than enough things to do during a weekend getaway in Loudonville as you explore the Amish in Ohio.
A great way to start you weekend is to stop at the Berlin Antique and Craft Malls. Take a walk to tour the Berlin Main St Merchants. Click here to be redirected to the Berlin, OH welcome site which houses a slew of information about their town. While exploring in Berlin, you will find Heini’s Cheese Chalet – a must see while in town. They offer free tours, artisan cheeses and have delectable foods your taste buds will thank you for! Amish made fudge, jams, jellies, smoked meats, the list won’t stop! It’s an all-time favorite tourist destination!
After indulging at Heini’s, less than 2 miles away, a visit to the Holme’s County Flea Market is a must. Their opening day for the 2020 season is March 5th. Get your holiday shopping done early, all in one stop! Or, just go and indulge in the goods and treats for yourself. This in one of the best places to go for home décor and gift ideas.
Antiquing is a fun way to spend the day and the shops in Millersburg won’t disappoint. Begin at Starlight Antiques located in Historic Downtown Millersburg. By going to their website, you can find out when the Antiques in the Alley events are scheduled. Also in Millersburg is Yoder’s Antique Mall. They are located just 1 mile west of Berlin and offer over 5000 unique items, mostly Amish made. One can easily spend an entire weekend antiquing in Millersburg alone. Next, hunger is calling! Miller’s Creamery will settle those hunger pangs. They offer tasty sandwiches and desserts. If you were looking for something stronger, how about Millersburg Brewing? They offer delicious foods, beer and live music events. Did I mention they love beer?
Sugarcreek is known as “Little Switzerland of Ohio”. Time to hop in the Griswald mobile and set your destination to see the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. It is a historical landmark and in the Guinness book of World Records. Stop at the Farm At Walnut Creek for a wagon ride, meet and greet all types of animals, feed a few and learn a lot! It is great family fun! Another favorite place is the Alpine Hills Historical Museum. As of this posting, admission is free but they do request a donation. It is a great place to learn about Swiss local culture with interactive displays, it is a great way to spend a few hours of your time.
If you prefer shopping and want to find some Amish made items, don’t miss the Walnut Creek Amish Flea Market. It is an indoor event so rain or shine you’ll have a good time. Another great museum recommendation is the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum. Even if you aren’t a steam engine fanatic, it is well worth your time. The 60-90-minute tours have earned 5-star ratings on TripAdvisor! Finally, for the best weekend adventure in Sugarcreek, you may want to log onto the Swiss Valley Tours site for upcoming events.
Walnut Creek, OH
The first stop you’ll want to make in Walnut creek is at the Coblentz Chocolate Company. You can watch them make the chocolates then buy them fresh! You’ll start salivating as soon as you walk in the door. Next on the list is the German Culture Museum . They are currently closed for the season and will reopen in May of 2020. What is a weekend getaway without shopping for Amish made quality products? The Walnut Creek Antique Mall has something for everyone. Finally, after shopping for antiques, make another stop at Walnut Creek Cheese. They have not only dairy and meats, but kitchenware’s, produce, groceries and a café among others! One more place for a memorable shopping experience is Carlisle Gifts. It’s a Victorian style shop with 3 floors of unique items. Take the spiral staircase as you soak in the atmosphere of time standing still in our modern era.
In addition to the big standouts, don’t miss out on places you may pass along the road. Located in Fredericksburg, OH, you will find the Ashery Country Store. If you’re staying in the area, it’s a good place to load up on groceries for your Airbnb or for food on the go. Located in Kidron, OH is the famous Lehman’s store. Just telling you what is inside won’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself. It is loaded with items made by the Amish, for the Amish, and for those of us who want to live simpler lives. It is a one of a kind store for sure!
Next, you’ll want to take a short drive to Orville, OH, where you’ll find the Smucker’s store. They have free samples, recipes and family events. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours of your day. Finally, as a peaceful and educational family activity, spend an afternoon at the Wilderness Center. Their calendar is full of upcoming events.
In conclusion, you have no excuses to not grab the family, the girlfriends or guy friends, and take a long weekend in Amish country, where you’ll find the best kept secrets in Ohio. For ideas of how to book your flight to Ohio or for more lodging ideas, click this article to find the top 5 best travel planning sites.
Leave me a comment if you’ve been to any of these places and what you recommend the most! Sharing is caring!
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If you’re interested to learn more about Amish culture, here’s a list of a few books to get you started. Enjoy!
The Amish of Holmes County: A culture, a religion, a way of life by Jon Kinney
Plain Answers about The Amish Life by Mindy Starns
Born Amish: Life Before the Ex-communication by Ann Stoltzfus Taylor
My People, the Amish: The True Story of a Father and Son by Joe Keim
A History of the Amish: 3rd Edition by Steven M. Nolt