Have you ever been to Amish Country? Do you know what Amish are? I learned about the Amish several years ago, and was fascinated by each thing I read about them. The Amish are a denomination of Christians that are quite a bit different from other denominations! They take “in the world, not of the world” to a whole new level by not using electricity, dressing in old-fashioned clothes, and even speaking their own language!
Ever since learning about the Amish, I really wanted to visit a community where they lived. While spending a year in Central Ohio, I was surprised to learn that Holmes County, the area with the largest Amish population, was only a two-hour drive from my house! During that year I visited three times, one trip for every season except winter. While I enjoyed all the new things that each season brought, I especially loved the fall during harvest time (where everyone used horses instead of tractors!).
Upon entering Holmes County, it’s common to experience an overall relaxing feeling. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter that it’s difficult to find a wireless hotspot or are stuck going ten miles per hour behind a buggy. Being surrounded by people dedicated to hard work and simplicity allows you to prioritize what is truly important. Since millions of people come to Amish Country for this experience, why not stay someplace that reflects these values?
Where to Stay
Blessings Lodge is located within walking distance of downtown Berlin, Ohio, and is a wonderful centralized location for everything going on in the heart of Amish Country. Although it has the conveniences of indoor plumbing, electricity, and cable television, it still reflects the Christian values that are shared with the Amish.
Each room at the Blessings Lodge is unique, and my sister and I enjoyed our stay at the “Faith” Simple Blessings Cabin. It was her first visit to Holmes County and my third, but it was the first time for both of us to stay at this cabin, which we agreed was our favorite part of this getaway! The porch offered amazing countryside views (and there were binoculars to gain a better perspective). The kitchen allowed us to save money by making our own meals, and we were surprised to be greeted with Amish cookies waiting for us on the kitchen table! The bathroom featured a Jacuzzi tub, and there were enough beds to sleep up to seven people. These were just a few of the amenities. The owners did an excellent job provided special touches to make the Blessings Cabin feel like home, such as games, books, and décor that can only be found in Amish Country.
We absolutely loved the convenience and warmness of Blessings Lodge. It was a wonderful place to stay, but I also spent a weekend at Turkey Hollow Campground in Millersburg once. That was a fun experience of primitive camping, boating, and simply enjoying nature.
What to Do
No matter where you spend the night, here are some things I did in Holmes County during the day:
-Toured Yoder’s Amish Home. These two houses were previously Amish-owned, although there are still many Amish working here and in their barn. You can also tour a schoolhouse and take a buggy ride on this property.
-Ate cheese! Guggisburg Cheese is where Baby Swiss was invented, and they have a beautiful Swiss-themed shop, park, and restaurant. Heini’s Cheese a large shop where many people come here just to sample the dozens of cheeses and fudge!
-Visited the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center. I learned so much about these conservative Christian branches, and realized that the most important thing is that we all love Jesus!
-Saw animals at The Farm at Walnut Creek. There is a drive through (or wagon ride) safari where you can feed and pet all kinds of exotic animals! There’s also blacksmithing, an Amish home, and more!
-Shopped at the dozens of gift shops and restaurants. One of the benefits of simple living is that many of the things you can buy are locally-made!
Tips for Visiting
You may be wondering why I’ve only shared scenic photos of the area. Even in research, you may find photos of Amish homes, schools, buggies, and belongings, but very few of Amish people. Many Amish find it disrespectful to have their photo taken, so aim the camera away from them.
The Amish may have different beliefs, but don’t say they are “wrong” or “confused”. Like us, Amish believers love God, and know that He has called all of us to live for Him. It’s just that our individual callings might vary! Use your visit to Amish country as an opportunity to celebrate who we are in Christ!