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Planning your Amish country day trip
What do you think of when you hear the words Ohio Amish? Perhaps you think of a simpler way of life. Horse-drawn buggies, summertime straw-brimmed hats for men, and white bonnets for women. Maybe you think of homemade mashed potatoes and a fruit pie that melts in your mouth. I have taken many day trips to Amish country with my girlfriends making memories and having a blast. As a matter of fact, my most recent trip was only a few days ago. What is so special about Amish country that you would want to spend an entire day? Read on, and you will find out!
Your delightful day starts here
Our day began at 10 am in Millersburg, OH. We went to the Yoder Amish House, located at 6050 OH-515. The barn was built in 1885. One of the homes on sight was built in roughly 1868. There are currently no Amish people living in the homes, but it is a working farm with animals on sight, a kitchen in full use (yes, you can buy freshly baked goods at the end of your tour), a one-room schoolhouse, and Amish men provide a horse and buggy ride on the property.
This tour is a must!
The visit begins in the gift shop where you purchase your tickets for the tour and buggy ride. The tour begins from the gift shop, leading you to the barn. Our tour guide was a deeply knowledgeable Amish man. He discussed the history of the barn, and of the animals in which it housed. In addition to learning about the animals, we of course were allowed to pet them all. I pet horses, goats, baby goats (so darn cute!), saw one foal who was only 1 week old and another that was 2 months old. It was the first time I had ever been so close to a baby horse!
Of course, there were also chickens and a few barn cats. The cats were adorable and joined in the tour as they followed us the entire time. Once back outside, we saw a Peacock wandering around, ducks, and a huge turkey that was not quite sure what to do about us. For those of us who did not grow up on farms and lived in cities our entire lives, this part of the tour was most enjoyable! Towards the end of the barn tour, we met the working horses, Belgian Draft horses. They were massive in size and absolutely beautiful! After the barn tour, we were handed off to an Amish historian who led us further along.
Amish culture and history
We were led up a hill and learned about the different Orders of the Amish. Turns out, there are several that are along a continuum from conservative to more inclusive among the English culture. The most conservative still live today as they did in the 1800s. Orders on the other end of the spectrum may use electricity via generators or may drive. We toured 2 houses on the property, each one reflects the way of life from a conservative Order to a less restrictive Order. In the 2nd house, there was a working kitchen with a lovely Amish woman baking fresh breads, dinner rolls, pies, and cookies. It was the best room in the house as it smelled absolutely delicious!
Interesting way of life in Amish country
We continued to learn about Amish clothing, education, weddings, Sunday events, and day-to-day living. The Amish way of life is not as “easy living” as it may seem. Living off the grid may have many benefits, but conveniences sure do differ. At the end of the tour, we were left on our own to visit the one-room schoolhouse. They still use them today, placing grades 1-8 altogether. Not all Amish Orders use these schools, and participants are typically between 10-20 students total. If you want to learn more about Ohio Amish, visit my post entitled “Amish in Ohio – the Best Kept Secrets”.
Finally, we ended our visit with a short horse and buggy ride on the property. Our driver Ray put up with our barrage of questions. I enjoyed the ride but could not imagine giving up the luxury of a car with heat in the winter times.
A final note about the tour. They say on their website people who use wheelchairs could visit and participate in most of the tour; however, the person pushing the chair would have to be able to maneuver the chair uphill, in tight quarters and uneven grounds. It would not be easy, but it is doable. This entire tour and visit lasted approximately 2 hours.
Let us be honest. Food is the real reason we like to visit Amish country, right? I mean, mashed potatoes that melt in your mouth. Green beans tasting of bacon, homemade dinner rolls, and fresh meats of your liking. During the height of the lunch hour, you can expect to wait for 20 minutes (give or take 10). If you can eat during the off hours between 3p-5p, the wait times are much less. The following is what we did next.
After the Yoder Amish House, we headed back towards Walnut Creek. Along that main road, there is a Der Dutchman, shopping, and Coblentz Chocolate Company. We took the opportunity to buy some chocolates before deciding on where to eat. I encourage you to visit their site, as they have such a wide variety of chocolate treats! If you decide to follow this itinerary, their physical address is 4917 Walnut St Walnut Creek, Oh, 44687.
Once we finished loading up on chocolates for later (I mean now), we decided to have lunch at one of the delicious Amish restaurants called Berlin Farmstead Restaurant. There are other Amish country kitchens, and all serve the same delicious homemade foods and desserts. You have the option of the buffet or choose off the menu. Since we knew the main reason for coming here was for the pie at the end, we decided to share a sampler dish, so we had room for dessert. No matter what you order for dessert, it will be delicious. One of us ordered a fruit pie and I had a chocolate peanut butter cream pie. It was so rich and delicious I could barely finish it. But, no worries, I did.
Time for shopping
With our bellies full and smiles on our faces, it was time to do some serious shopping. There are plenty of Amish furniture stores with gorgeous pieces and a price tag to match. Our goal was to browse and search for unique finds.
We spent the rest of the day on Rte 39 in Berlin, OH. On that stretch of road, there is an enormous flea market (Holme’s County Flea Market), Country Gatherings, the Village Gift Barn, Zinck’s Fabric Outlet, Helping Hands Quilt Shop, Moxie Fashion and Furnishings, Sol’s in Berlin, and the Gospel Book Store. These are just a smattering of Amish stores in which to visit. Continuing east towards Sugar Creek you find another batch of antique stores, a general store, and other stops. Pretty much, whatever you are looking for, or not looking for, you are sure to find!
Should you travel directly south of Berlin for another 10 plus minutes, you will arrive at the Guggisberg Cheese Factory, another one of my favorite places. For those of you who love fresh, homemade cheeses, this is a MUST stop!
Amish country travel tips
Visiting Amish country is a fun, relaxing way to spend a day or weekend. Yet, we are not the only ones who enjoy this type of adventure. Due to the draw of the lifestyle and high-quality furnishings and foods, the popular stops are typically very busy. Finding parking can sometimes be frustrating, but, as long as your patience holds, all will be fine.
One final tip! Ok, a few tips. Bring cash, as not all restaurants and shops accept other forms of payments. Plan your day wisely, as most places (other than restaurants) do not open until 9 am or 10 am, and many close between 5p – 7p. Should you want to have time to explore all the stores on your list, you might need to break it up into 2 days. However, Amish celebrate Sundays as a day of rest, church, and community. Amish-owned stores and restaurants are all closed on Sundays. Should you decide to stay the night, consider Amish cabins or treehouse lodging! A few examples can be found in this article “Travel after COVID 19 – Ohio Tree Houses”.
I hope your day in Amish country ends up being as fun and filled as mine! If you want this Amish itinerary in a quick format to bring with you, it can be found here. Happy travels!
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