Home Again After an Amish Country Vacation

We got home yesterday from our trek into Amish country in Ohio.  I don’t know about Jess or Dad, but I was flat out exhausted!

Here’s what our itinerary looked liked... it's long, so get ready to sit a spell while you read!

Monday, July 8th: Drove to Mount Sterling, Kentucky, and stayed the night there.

Tuesday, July 9th: Drove to Eureka, West Virginia, to pick up Dad.
                               Drove to Dover, Ohio

We ate supper at The Amish Door, which had fantastic food and great service!  The only problem is the restaurant was in Berlin, a little distance from where we were staying, and we had to drive through a BIG thunderstorm on the way there.  The rain was so heavy it was difficult to see the road, but there was no place to pull over, so Jess inched along until we finally got there!

Thankfully, the rain had pretty well stopped by the time we finished eating and had to make the trek back to the motel in Dover.

Wednesday, July 10th:

1st stop: Behalt, or the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio.  They have a circular mural in the building, and a guide explains the painting as you go around it.  I learned a lot more about the history of the Amish and the Mennonites, and even Baptists! 

There’s also an Amish schoolhouse you can tour, and the Pioneer Barn with a Conestoga wagon.  Even if history isn’t your favorite subject, those three attractions make for an interesting tour through time.

2nd stop: A hardware store that shall remain nameless.  Jess was hoping for lots of stuff like the Amish would use, but it didn’t look any different than any other hardware store, so we didn’t spend much time there.

3rd stop: Schrock's Amish Farm and Village also in Berlin, Ohio.

This is advertised as “your place for Shopping, Fun and Amish Attractions”.  What it reminded us of was some of the tourist traps in Gatlinburg, TN, with a bit of an Amish twist.  It had a lot of shops.  There were buggy rides, but all I ever saw happen was a trip around the parking lots, though they may have went further than that.

As far as the farm part goes… really?  We saw one pen with a few sheep in it, and no way a person could get close to it.  That’s it.

To us, the place was by and large a disappointment, EXCEPT for the cafĂ© at that location.  We ate lunch there, and the food was fabulous!  I had a chicken salad sandwich that was on Cranberry & Nut bread, and it was totally delicious.  All the food we got there was good.

By the time we finished lunch, it was mid-afternoon and everyone was tired so we decided to go back to the motel for a break.  Just as well we did, because a bad storm blew in, literally, and downed lots of trees.  We were sitting in our rooms without electricity for over 5 hours!

When the electric came back on after 8pm we zipped over to the nearby Bob Evans Restaurant to get something to eat.  Of course, it took them a while to get everything fired back up, but we all ordered breakfast food, so it wasn’t too long a wait.

Thursday, July 11th

I consider this as one of our most fun days.  It was certainly one of the busiest!

We started out by driving north to Kidron, Ohio.  A lot of places were still without electricity, but some were using generators for their electric power, including our destination.

1st stop: Lehman’s.  Advertised as “your shop for non-electric goods, oil lamp parts, glass oil lamps, fireplace stoves, food preservation, gas refrigerators, food processing, and Aladdin oil lamps” and “our 45,000 square foot retail store is the finest selection of non-electric technology you'll ever see.”

And I believe it.

There are more things than you can imagine in this place, and some you probably never imagined.  Though touted as the place for non-electric items, they have lots of stuff that uses electricity as well. 

Foods, beverage-making supplies, baking and cooking supplies. . . from ingredients to bowls to tableware to crocks to pots and pans. . . there are just too many things to list.  And they have the stoves and ovens, inside and outside varieties, needed to use for cooking and baking.

There are all kinds of household items, and all kinds of historical items on top shelves and hanging from the ceiling.  There are puzzles, clothing, toys, memorabilia, and just a huge assortment of stuff you would find in hardware or old-time country stores.  IT. IS. AWESOME!!!

It’s really just too much to take in at once. . . and we didn’t even make it across the street to their discount store!

2nd stop: Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen.  Located in Mt. Hope, from the number of people there it’s a very popular place!  We certainly enjoyed our lunch, and as usual the food was great!

3rd stop: The Yoder’s Amish Home in Millersburg. 

At last!  A real look at an Amish homestead!  This one had more than a gift shop… there was actual Amish homes, with the rooms furnished just as Amish people would have them.  There was a huge barn with all kinds of animals, including my most favorite, the big draft horses.

There were tour guides for each part, and there were 3 young Amish ladies in the kitchen of one house baking cookies and canning applesauce.  Talk about good smells!  The cinnamon rolls are HUGE!  It all looked tempting, but having just eaten a big meal at Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen, I didn’t try any of the goodies there.

We did go for buggy ride.  They have a little trail around a pasture.  It’s not a huge ride, but enough to get a feel for what riding in the buggies is like.

They also had a schoolhouse, and this one even had a “real” schoolteacher inside!  She was a very nice lady and answered all our questions.

All in all, it was well-worth the price of the tickets and a lot of fun.

After that we went back to the motels for a rest, but we weren’t finished!  We had one more thing to do . . .

4th stop: Amish Country Theater in Walnut Creek.

I’m not sure what the real Amish think about this theater production, but it is really funny!  They have a class-act ventriloquist, and the bluegrass band is really good. 
My very favorite part was the “Jonas Brothers” when they became the “Beachy Brothers” and did a parody of Beach Boys songs by turning the lyrics into stuff about Amish life.  It was a hoot!

Friday, July 12th: The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio.

We checked out of our motel in Dover and headed to The Wilds to meet Scott and Maria.  Once everybody was present and accounted for, we took the two-hour-plus tour, riding in the open air bus.  We’d done this many years ago, but thought it worth another trip since it was so long ago.

It was interesting, but the animals didn’t cooperate as much as I’d hoped.  Most were very far away, and even when a telephoto lens, really too far off for good pictures.  We did have some giraffes come up to the vehicle, some camels were resting by the side of the road in another area, and there were some Persian Onagers and wild deer that were close enough to see well, but that’s about it.

They have a carnivore’s exhibit area with cheetahs, African wild dogs and Dholes, but there again, the animals were so far away it wasn’t much of a look.  And in fact, we never did see the wild dogs.

After we finished the tour, we decided to go out to eat and ended up at a Cracker Barrel in Cambridge.  As it turned out, our motel was practically next door, so we didn’t have far to go!  It was so late in the afternoon we didn’t do anything else that evening but go get supper.

Saturday, July 13th: National Road / Zane Gray / Cambridge Glass Museums in Norwich, Ohio.

Dad has always been a big fan of Zane Gray, so we decided we’d go see this before heading back to West Virginia.  It was a nice surprise, and even better than we had hoped.

The National Road Museum is highly interesting with lots of exhibits depicting the progress of transportation and building roads as the pioneers moved westward.  There was a HUGE Conestoga wagon there, much bigger than the one we saw at Yoder’s Amish Farm, plus several old cars.


The Zane Gray Museum had lots of posters and memorabilia from his books and the movies made from those books. There was a replica of his study, some of his fishing paraphernalia, and all kinds of exhibits pertaining to his life.
We ran out of time and energy, so didn’t visit the glass museum, but definitely got our money’s worth out of the other two anyway!

We headed for Maria & Scott’s house, had a nice lunch there, and before we knew it, it was was time to say good-bye!  Maria was taking Caleb to pick up his car from the garage, and taking Dad home after that, and we headed out to start the trip home.

We ended up spending the night in a little town west of Lexington, before getting to the Bluegrass Parkway.

Sunday, July 14th: HOME!!!

We were both dragging by the time we made it home, but it’s always nice to make it back to your own place.  To see all our critters and sleep in our own bed again.  We got all unpacked and that’s about all we had energy for!

And now we’re back into the routine, and trying to catch up on our neglected garden and other chores!  Whew!