From old-school fashion to devout faith to some of the most beautiful communities in the country, the Amish are a mystery to many traditional Americans. Their work ethic and craftsmanship are legendary, and the idea that they’ve escaped the fast-pace world for the simple life draws many a curious visitor to their communities across the country. Today, there are more than 10 Amish communities in the center of Ohio. These communities’ extreme kindness allows thousands of visitors to slip in for a visit to learn cooking, furniture making, quilting, farming techniques and, most importantly, the humble grace of a wholly different culture right in the heart of America. Pack up the car — they won’t be offended — and hit the road for a weekend getaway to Amish country and expect an experience like none other.
From Cleveland it’s a roughly 1.5-hour drive to Amish country at 75 miles or so. Take I-77 south toward Akron, then merge onto OH-21 south via Exit 136 toward Massillon. Then merge onto OH-93 toward Brewster/Canal Fulton. Turn right onto Millersburg Road/SW/OH93/OH241. Then turn left onto OH-241/Canton Street. Take the third left onto CR-77/OH-241, then turn slightly onto US-62 until you see the welcome sign for Berlin. Welcome to Amish country. Remember to be respectful of the horses and buggies. Slow down and use caution when passing them on the roadways. Here are some fascinating places to visit while you are in Amish Country.
Amish & Mennoite Heritage Center
5798 County Road 77
Berlin, Ohio 44610
Prices: free for self-guided tours/call in advance for prices on large groups
Experience the 265-foot mural in the round depicting the history of Amish life and the community’s history from times past to the present day. Enjoy artwork, gifts and books about the Amish way, which are authored by a former Amish member. Bring a picnic for your group to enjoy in one of the many shaded picnic areas. This museum will not only demonstrate the Amish struggles but help explain more about their religion and how they hold tight to their faith and traditions.
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Schrock’s Amish Farm and Village
4359 State Route 39
Berlin, Ohio 44610
Price: $5 adult buggy/train/home tours/$4 children ages 3 to 12/$9.50 adults for two tours/$4 children/$14.45 adults for three tours/$11.25 children
This old Amish farm was once home to the bishop and his family of 11 children. The house was built in 1848 and harbors an abundance of history regarding the Amish lives and struggles. Enjoy a carriage ride through the grounds of the farm, and learn about the Amish people of Holmes County. Be amazed by the peacefulness as the tour winds and turns through the woods on a small train which will take you past three peaceful ponds and through a dark tunnel. The train ride is approximately 15 minutes. Finish your visit off with a self-guided tour of a typical Amish home. Though renovated, it provides a small look into the life of the Amish.
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Helping Hands Quilt Shop
4818 State Route 39
Berlin, Ohio 4461
Amish quilts are the artwork of legends. The Helping Hands Quilt Shop was established by Alma Mullet in 1974. Her love of quilting took over her small home so her husband suggested she move her scattered collection into a vacant store front. She first started by asking for helping hands to finish her creations. It became so popular and she realized the love of her hobby was shared by others; so her business began. This shop not only boasts more than 3,000 bolts of fabric, and everything that goes with quilting, but it offers advice for your quilting projects. Browse more than 100 quilts made by the Amish community to take home the ideal souvenir.
Swiss County Lawn & Crafts
2131 State Route 39
Sugarcreek, Ohio 44681
This quaint furniture store is only 10 minutes from Berlin. Established in 1989 by the Mast family, expect craftsmanship unheard of elsewhere, visible in every piece of furniture, gazebo, swing set, lawn ornament and specialty item. Visit the shop’s gift shop, which includes crafts, home décor, candles and handmade, unique clocks. Should you decide on purchasing furniture, especially a gazebo, don’t worry about shipping, the family will built it at your house to ensure the finest quality. Swiss County also offers kits for easy installation should you not want to pay extra for assistance.
The Amish Door Village
1210 Winesburg State US 62
Wilmot, Ohio 44689
Price: from $105 to $205
Only about 20 minutes from Sugarcreek, this village offers everything Amish. From shopping to lodging to dining, this is your one-stop Amish option. Enjoy its famous broasted chicken, chicken and noodles over homemade mashed potatoes, and peanut butter pie. After eating, enjoy a day of shopping, hiking, dinner theater, and take in a carriage ride. After a day of everything Amish, rest your tired feet at the Inn at Amish Door. This 52-room Victorian-style inn is a perfect place to end your day. This Inn offers single room prices along with deluxe packages. Reservations are required.
Danielle Coots has been writing since 1996. She has published short stories and articles in many publications. Danielle loves being active in the community and providing quality information regarding current and upcoming events in the Cleveland area. She will be covering topics of travel & outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.