Amish Country

June 10, 2011

June 8, 2011 – was our 43rd wedding anniversary and we took a trip to Holmes County OH and Amish Country.  Our first stop was Breitenbach Wine cellars near New Philadelphia where we purchased some Peach Salsa and a bottle of their Frost Fire “American White Wine.”

My photos of the carriages are from the side or back because the Amish do not want their picture taken.  Young girls like convertibles – notice they are shoeless!

We visited the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin to learn more about the religion/culture.  A guide presented us with the story of the Anabaptists (adult baptism) – Amish, Mennonites & Hutterites by way of a 265-ft historical cyclorama.  Today there are about a dozen sects of Amish and Mennonites from very conservative to those that live much like we do.  The “Old Order” Amish is the largest group; they travel by buggy or as a passenger in a vehicle and do without many modern conveniences.

You can see that this farmer uses animal powered hay bailing machinery.

Becks Mills store – need a job? – picking up poop!

The DoughtyValley one room school is one of many similar Amish schools in this area (outhouse is out of view to the right).  Amish children are brought up speaking German and learn English in school but only attend through the eighth grade.  They then learn trades at home; farming wood working, etc.

One of Helen’s surprises for our anniversary was dinner in the home of an Amish family.  We ate in the very plain but comfortable home of John and Fannie Yoder.  They have a 100 plus acre farm with several buildings including a wood working building (make rockers).  They also make maple syrup.  We had salad, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, home made noodles, gravy, pie, juice and water.  They have a natural gas stove and refrigerator.  The gas is provided “free” by the gas company because it is extracted from their land (they get paid for it).

We had a good time as we asked questions and shared stories.  John is the Bishop of a group of 26 “Old Order” Amish families.  Every other Sunday a service is held in the home of one of the families (all 250 attend).  That means each family entertains the entire group once per year.  There are about 40,000 Amish in Holmes and surrounding counties.  After dinner, John took us on a tour of some of the buildings.

They have four work and three carriage horses plus a pony.

I was surprised that they used synthetic materials and even had a small solar panel that provided electricity to a battery that powered their one (high efficiency) light bulb!  There is a small stone building just out of view to the right where there is a natural spring that supplies their water.

Bailing hay in DoughtyValley–

June 9, 2011 – We were the only guests in the Lamplight B & B in Berlin where Larry the inn keeper said grace and then serenaded us with show tunes from an era now passed (e.g. Misty, Nearness of You, My Romance, etc.).

Check out the following U-Tube video “My Romance” sung by the singing waiter!


Pastoral view from our room, we were told that only 26% of homes in Holmes County have electricity.

On his way to town –

One horsepower –

Longest covered bridge (370 ft) in Ohio near Brinkhaven – Rails to Trails, was built in 1998

Mohican Valley Trail connecting Brinkhaven and Danville (4.5 miles), bridge crosses the Mohican River.

Note, it is called the “Bridge of Dreams” and you get very sleepy when you try to cross.

They say you shrink as you grow older –

People often commend Helen for following me on my adventures.  This is the other side of the coin.  On our one and a half day trip we stopped at the St Vincent DePaul Thrift Shop in Walnut Creek, the Vogt Antique (junk) store on OH 515 [our best stop; 50 lb 4 foot urn, 30 lb 5 foot iron pry bar, horse yoke, iron coal furnace pokers, and two old picture frames], Eagle Song Studio in Winesburg, Wendell August Forge, Boyd & Wurthmann Amish restaurant in Berlin, Keim Lumber in Charm, Guggisberg Cheese Factory, Old World Polish Pottery, Holmes County Flea Market, Goodwill and Save & Serve Thrift shop in Millersburg, three garage sales and finally the Danville Antique Flea Market!

Bless you St. Thomas!

One comment

  1. Sounds like a good Martin trip.We used to love to go to Amish country in our earlier Ohio days.But all those Thrift shops…Tom you are a saint,but then again with Helen those outings are never boring….Happy Anniversary.love ya guys…Irmi

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