Looking to escape the hectic rat race of everyday life? Why not take a short journey to Ohio’s Amish country? With the largest settlement of Amish and Mennonite people in the United States, its’s a refreshing look at a slice of yesteryear.
Berlin, Ohio, is an ideal place to stay and use as a jumping-off point for exploring Amish Country. Centrally located in Holmes County, it’s blessed with a variety of lodging options, as well as restaurants and shops.
A must-see attraction for those who want to learn more about the history of the Amish, is the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center, featuring the Behalt. This 265-by-10-foot cyclorama painting tells the history of the Anabaptist people, who later split into the groups Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite. It took the artist, Heinz Gaugel, 14 years to complete the mural, and it is one of only four cycloramas in North America. A small fee is charged to view the Behalt which also includes a 30-minute guided tour. A gift shop and small museum are also featured. Find out more at http://behalt.com.
Cheese making is a major industry in Amish Country, and visitors can witness the cheese making process at two different places. Heini’s Cheese Chalet provides a short tour to learn about the cheese making process which begins with the milk provided from local Amish farmers. From there, step into the country store where over 35 varieties of cheese can be sampled before buying. The store also features other delicacies such as fudge, jams, jellies, Ohio honey, meats, and more! Learn more and order online at http:// http://heinis.com .
Not far away is Guggisburg Cheese, home of the original Baby Swiss. Visitors can again watch cheese being made as well as shop in the store. Stroll the gardens and take pictures before stepping across the street to eat at the Chalet in the Valley. This restaurant, built in the style of a Swiss Chalet, features authentic Austrian and Swiss dishes. Learn more at www.babyswiss.com.
It’s a shopper’s paradise in Amish Country! Fine hand-crafted furniture, quilts, baskets, hand-sewn items, outdoor furniture, and more can all be found from one end of the county to the other. For a truly unique experience, be sure to visit Lehmans in Kidron, Ohio. This farm store bills itself as the place to find “Simpler Products for a Simpler Life.” Beyond the many Amish-made items sold there, they also feature unique items that typical stores just don’t sell. Their website is a treasure trove, too. Check it out at www.lehmans.com .
Don’t miss an authentic farm experience while in Amish Country. Ride horses, see farm animals, take a horse and buggy ride, tour authentic Amish homes to see life without electricity, or visit petting areas. Many working farms also feature markets where visitors can purchase produce and baked goods straight from the source. A farm visit is fun for everyone, especially kids.
When planning a trip to Ohio’s Amish Country, know that most restaurants and businesses are not open on Sundays. Also, shops tend to close at 5:00 p.m. and most restaurants are closed by 8:00 p.m. A slower pace of life is the norm. But, if Ohio’s back country roads and byways are where you want to be, then Ohio’s Amish Country is the place for you!
See my specific restaurant, hotel, and attraction recommendations on my blog: www.travelingteacheronline.com
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