Vacation Time in Amish Country, Ohio
After an extremely gruelling semester at college, I was so exhausted it felt like I was on a constant roller coaster ride. I told my Mom about this and she suggested that the family take a much-needed vacation. She told me that Dad was also feeling a little rundown so a getaway would be perfect for all of us. She announced to us the next day that our destination was Amish Country, Ohio.
I thought at first that it was a weird choice, but after hearing Mom rave about the place, I got curious and a little excited, too. My vision was of a place far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city plus all that home-cookin’ made from scratch – totally without all those fast-food fare of burgers and pizza. Dad was all for it, too so we hitched up our ride and off we went!
Amish Country is made up of 5 counties; Holmes, Adams, Geauga, Wayne, and Tuscawaras. It is the home of the largest Amish settlement in the world, with almost 60,000 Amish people living and working there. Since farming has been on the decline due to land scarcity, most of the Amish are into small businesses such as furniture shops, variety stores, leather goods, local cheeses, bakeries, antique shops, and many more. I can’t wait to see all of these!
Our first taste of the Amish was served up to us as soon as we reached our accommodations. The Barn Inn combines Amish country charm, intimacy, comfort and privacy with all the modern comforts of an all-American home – a private bath with tub and shower, in-room refrigerator, complete HD satellite, and even WiFi throughout!
We booked the Memory Lane room and the Country Charm room because maximum occupants for each room are only 2. Mom and Dad had one, and I had the other one to myself, for which I am extremely grateful. I sorely needed the rest and relaxation whenever I can get it. They have adjoining doors, however, so we are really not too far apart from each other.
Both rooms had a queen-sized bed, an extra-large whirlpool, double-wide shower, a full-size sofa, a rocker recliner, a gas fireplace, WiFi, and HDTV. They were elegant, spacious, and utterly comfortable, with the bonus of a patio that gave us a view of the stone fountain, farm animals, and park within the grounds of the inn. We haven’t been 24 hours there yet and I feel my energy slowly creeping in.
Our first real taste of Amish fare came at breakfast. The Amish-style cuisine included their famous Baked Oatmeal, stuffed French toast, oatmeal pancakes, quiche, pastries such as maple-iced cinnamon rolls, and fresh seasonal fruits. All were made from scratch using locally-sourced ingredients, from the bread right down to the sausage from a butcher just up the street. We filled up on almost all of them, getting ourselves ready for our Amish adventure.
Amish Country Scenic routes
To gradually ease me into our journey, Dad decided that a drive through Amish Country’s most scenic routes would be our first order of business. Amish Country’s Byway is 160 miles of designated roadways that took us through rolling hills, quaint homes and B&Bs for a preview of quiet country living.
I felt as though time stood still in that part of the world, with all the fresh air and country smells all around me. We could have gone for hours just driving along, but our stomachs jolted us back to reality. Back to the Barn Inn for dinner and some sleep, with all of us eagerly anticipating our next venture.
Next up is the Victorian House Museum. This elegant 28-room Victorian home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is full of history about Ohio’s largest Amish settlement, complete with glassware, furniture, and period pieces on display. It absolutely took us back to the early 1900s and gave us a different perspective on Ohio’s Amish roots.
Continuing with the laidback approach, a visit to Amish Country Riding Stables for a bit of easygoing horseback-riding through some of Ohio’s beautiful countryside was arranged. The view was breath-taking! We rode at a pace that just about made me feel a little stirred and eager but calm and carefree at the same time. I loved it.
As we wound down our journey, shopping took up most of our attention. We visited Yoder’s Bargain Store, where we found glassware, cookware, work gloves, and a whole lot of trinkets that cost only pennies compared to a traditional store. It is where the Amish buy their goods judging from the number of horse and buggies tied up outside. I adored the quaint atmosphere of the store, where no credit cards are allowed, only cash. And they don’t even have a cash register!
High-quality leather goods such as boots and shoes were what Raber’s Shoe and Saddlery had to offer. And since they also cater to the Amish, they also have custom-made horse saddles and shoe repair services.
Walnut Creek Cheese was Mom’s must-stop destination. And, I must say, it was totally worth it. All those homemade baked goods made my mouth water with their oh-so-delicious smells, everything fresh from the oven. Mom went nuts about all the cheeses, fresh jams and jellies, kitchenware items, and even Amish cookbooks. Dad almost had to tear her away or she would have bought everything! We even had some shoo fly pie that the Amish are well know for.
Our final stop was at the Depot at the Middlefield Historical Society, a 1930s ice cream parlor that serve old-fashioned sodas and sundaes and heaps of your favorite flavor. No doubt a refreshing way to break up our Amish visit.