My older son and I were in Ohio this summer, and we decided to dedicate a day to visiting its Amish country.
Although I’d been a few times to Pennsylvania’s Amish country, it was my first visit to the community in Ohio. I’d always assumed the Ohio population was much smaller, but while there I learned they are about the same size.
We enjoyed a perfect summer day to explore the rolling hills of this rich agricultural area.
Ohio’s Holmes county – named after a War of 1812 General – is home to the largest Amish population in the state. Millersburg is the county seat. Smaller Amish communities are also scattered across another six Ohio counties.
We stopped off in Millersburg where there is an excellent visitor’s center. Here we picked up maps of the area and spoke with the helpful staff. We’ll definitely have to return for a longer weekend visit to explore more of this pretty countryside.
We stopped at a great brewery (there are plenty in this area settled by Germans) to enjoy lunch.
Millersburg’s main street is filled with shops and cafes. Thera are also excellent architectural examples of the early German settlements. The county court architecture would be in place in Germany, and the former prison is also picturesque.
We continued on the road leading to Charm, where we often had to slow down to give precedence to the numerous horse-drawn buggies and carriages, the preferred means of transport for the Amish dwellers.
The Amish began to settle in Ohio in 1808, moving from the Amish settlement already established in Pennsylvania. As we saw for ourselves, these communities embrace a wide range of customs.
Although most of the farmers we observed carried out their agricultural work without the benefits of modern technology, we did see some Amish using tractors and modern irrigation. However, we were told that these groups still maintain more conservative social and educational traditions.
Visitors can also find traditional shops and farm stands selling Amish produce, cheeses, breads, baked goods and jams, in addition to handicrafts and beautiful Amish quilts.
It’s seductive to visit this picturesque corner of Ohio, to enjoy the stunning vistas and much, much slower pace of life.
Turn off your cell phones, push deadlines from your mind, and enjoy a relaxing visit to beautiful Ohio Amish country.