August 1, 2013 – It’s already the end of summer and with schools opening in just 2-3 weeks, most of us are back home from summer vacations, but want to enjoy the last days of summer close to home. For those new to NE Ohio, we’ll post half a dozen ideas for day or weekend trips close to home in August so you can be a tourist close to town!
Amish Country is buzzing this time of year. Not only are crops plentiful with dozens of roadside stands selling pies, produce and outdoor furniture (Adirondack chairs, picnic tables), but it is a chance to peak into what life was like for Americans 100 years ago before cars and electricity and ADD causing cellphones & internet! Doesn’t that just sound heavenly? Ok, maybe just for a day!
The world’s largest Amish community is located 2 hours south of Cleveland, mostly concentrated in three counties: Holmes, Tuscarawas and Wayne, which together are known as the Gateway to Amish Country. If you want to step back in time and relax for a day at a slower pace, try one of these towns: Apple Creek, Kidron, Mt. Eaton, Fredricksburg, Millersburg, Walnut Creek, Berlin or Shreve, where some 35,000 Amish reside as it it were still the 19th century!
Lured by the rural charm of the rolling hills, lush woods and scenic farmland, the Amish moved to this region beginning in the 1800’s to flee religious persecution in Europe (Switzerland & Germany) and many locals still speak both English and Pennsylvannia Dutch. Easily identified by their plain
dress, horse drawn buggies, one room school houses and agrarian lifestyle, the Amish provide a living outdoor museum that could quickly make your kids appreciate their worldly possessions.
Known for their self reliance, craftsmanship, farming skills and family values, the Amish welcome visitors to their community including tours at working farms, family style restaurants with Amish food and shops that show off their skills in woodworking, needlework, cooking & baking.
Must sees include: Lehman’s Hardware in Kidron, where they sell new old things, mostly to the Amish community (if our electrical grid is ever compromised, at least we live close to a store that sells things that work without any electricity needed); Yoder’s Amish Home in Millersburg, where you can see a 116 acre working farm and family homestead; Heini’s Cheese Chalet, also in Millersburg, where can sample more than 60 kinds of cheeses before buying your favorites (all made with local dairy from Amish farms) and the Beholt, a 265′ mural in the round that explains the history and current practices of the Amish community at the Amish Heritage Center in Berlin.
Go hungry (Amish food is comfort food at its most basic, but be careful, the Amish work off those calories by working on a farm 12 hours a day!) and ready to buy handmade treasures such as quilts, wooden furniture & homemade cheese, jellies, jams, pies & breads.
Often asked questions about the Amish:
- What is rumspringa? – As it is rare for an Amish child to go to school beyond 8th grade, all Amish children are encouraged to leave the community and experience life in the outside world around the age of 14-16. More than 80% return to the Amish order afterwards and stay in the faith and agranian lifestyle.
- Why can’t I take photos of the Amish – due to their religious beliefs, the Amish prefer not to be photographed (consider it an act of pride, which goes against the humble way they choose to live). Most will not pose for photos, but are aware that visitors are curious, so allow their houses, farms and animals to be photographed. Just be polite and respectful!
- What is the difference between Amish & Mennnonites – the Mennonites are the less strict sect of of Amish. They share a belief system, but Mennonites embrace modern technology, wear modern clothing, and live amongst the general population, not segregated like the Amish.
If 2 hours is further than you want to drive, Geauga County , 30 minutes east of Cleveland, is home to roughly 14,000 Amish, mostly in the towns of Burton, Middlefield, Parkman, Huntsburg, and Mesopotamia. One of the best tour groups in Geauga is Ridgeview Country Tours.
Executive Arrangements is the trusted partner of many companies in NE Ohio who recruit and relocate employees into the Cleveland and Akron area. We connect their newcomers with the resources in our region to quickly acclimate and educate. For more info call us at 216.231.9311.