Weekend Trips: Discover a new world on the backroads of Amish Country
There’s more to see off the beaten path in Ohio’s Amish Country.
“Visitors come to Amish Country seeking new experiences, such as sharing dinner with an Amish family, picking pumpkins, riding in a buggy, or relaxing in a rocker at sunset. The area offers a chance create and savor authentic moments. Folks return for those memories and take home new ones each visit,” said Shasta Mast of the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce.
With the help of a GPS system or a friendly local, visitors can find pottery, homemade candles, baked goods, a walking trail with artwork and a lot more. Along any back road, signs for Amish-owned businesses ranging from furniture to honey to small general stores can be found.
Miller’s Bakery in Charm is an Amish-owned-and-ran bakery.
“It’s an Amish Country insider’s favorite,” said Kurt Kleidon, president of Kleidon & Associates. “Their cinnamon rolls are highly sought after, and they usually sell out within an hour of being open.”
The bakery sells a variety of pastries, cookies, breads and pies as well.
Also in Charm is Guggisberg’s Doughty Glen Winery at the Guggisberg Swiss Inn. The inn also has horseback riding available.
“We are the only winery actually in Amish Country,” said Julia Guggisberg, owner. “The others are all outside of it.”
As a small boutique winery, they only produce eight wines, but they are award-winners, and are named after the horses on the grounds and the bottles have their photos.
“We like to incorporate the inn, riding stables and winery,” she said. The family produces the fruit on the property to make the wine, which includes 8 acres of grape vines, with about 5,000 vines and 500 raspberry bushes.
In Sugarcreek, Lamp and Light Candle, located on County Road 114, is owned by four Amish sisters, Esta, Katie, Elma and Iva. The store welcomes customers with a reminder that photos are not permitted in the store, as per the Amish faith. All of the candles are hand-dipped in a variety of styles, including carved bow candles, squares, balls, pillars, cake and jar.
The candles also include many different scents. The store is located next to an Amish schoolhouse, and visitors may see children outside playing next door.
In Millersburg, the Holmes County Open Air Museum runs on the property of the Inn at Honey Run, a resort and restaurant. The walking path leads up a hill and features outdoor artwork stations along the way. “It’s a truly unique experience,” said Kleidon.
Outside of Millersburg in Big Prairie is Holmes County Pottery. A local artist has a small shop outside of his home that houses all of his unique pieces. “It’s museum-quality work,” said Kleidon.
A drive outside of Berlin to Baltic will lead visitors to a truly Amish Country experience – a visit to a local country store where many of the Amish do their shopping. Hershberger Country Store, owned by the Roy Raber family, is one of those. With more than 8,000 items in stock, the store houses kitchenware, camping supplies, school supplies, books, gift items, baby items, hardware, essential oils, ice cream freezers and more.
Visitors can get a new experience and feel for the area just by taking a back road or two and exploring the businesses found within.