A National Geographic article inspired our camping trip to Ohio’s Amish Country this month, but we had big plans to soak up more than just the beautiful autumn colors. And whether you are planning to camp or not, a weekend in Amish Country has lots to offer the whole family.
We had a few ideas of places we wanted to visit while staying in Holmes County, but to round out our touring agenda, I turned to blogger Tonya Prater who shares lots of great travel tips on her website The Traveling Praters. We had hoped to meet up during this trip, but both of our schedules got a little crazy, and we had to put that rendezvous on the back burner for now.
En route to Millersburg, Ohio, we made two stops. The first quick visit was to the Smucker’s store in Orrville. We were disappointed that the building is almost entirely a store with only a small hallway dedicated to the company’s history. We didn’t leave empty-handed, though, due to the extensive selection of Smucker’s products, because of course, “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good.” (Note: If you are traveling with a camper, the Smucker’s parking lot was not camper friendly.)
From Orrville, we cruised on over to Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio. (Fortunately this store offers an area for campers and buses to park back behind the main parking area, although Jarrett did have to back the camper in.) We had a delicious lunch at The Cast Iron Café, located inside the store. The café offered sandwiches and seasonal soups, including a butternut squash and pumpkin soup. I tried the later with a chicken salad sandwich and it was all delicious.
Lehman’s had an impressive selection of camping related cookware–we found the waffle pie iron and woof-em stick that we had been looking for!
From there it was time to head to the campground and get all set up for the weekend. Tonya had recommended that we make a trip to Miller’s Bakery in Millersburg. This little Amish bakery is quite popular–and it has very reasonable prices–so you have to go early if you want to snag their specialties, like the cheese tarts. (These were so good!) Fortunately the bakery was located about five minutes from our campground because Jarrett rolled out of bed just before 7 a.m. on Friday to be the first at the door. And we enjoyed the treats so much that he went back on Saturday to stock up on the cheese tarts. Good thing we don’t live near this bakery because it would not be good for our waist lines! But this was vacation, so we enjoyed a little indulging. 🙂
On Friday we made a stop at Guggisberg Cheese in Millersburg. This is a family-favorite cheese and an annual staple at our Christmas gatherings. Jarrett’s grandfather had a doctor’s office in a nearby town, and he would bring home a wheel of Guggisberg’s baby swiss for the holidays. If you visit the store early enough in the day, you can look through two windows and view the production area where employees are making the cheese. A few samples are also available and our kiddos discovered they loved the Amish Butter cheese–which is smooth and soft like butter.
From there we started off on our fall driving tour of Amish Country. We had found an Ohio Magazine article that recommended an off-the-beaten-path drive, so we followed most of the route and enjoyed getting away from the tourist traffic. We made a few detours to drive through Sugarcreek and then stopped briefly at Coblentz Chocolates in Walnut Creek where you can look through observation windows as the candy is made.
Because it was quite cold on our camping weekend, we ended up aborting our plans to just hang out around the campground with our friends on Saturday and went in search of warmth and fun at the Warther Museum in Dover, Ohio. I have now visited this museum three times, and I am continually amazed at the talent of wood-carver Ernest “Mooney” Warther. The Warther site is a gem in the region that you need to visit–especially for train enthusiasts. In nearby Sugarcreek, David Warther, the grandson of Mooney, has also recently opened his own site, which features his personal boat carvings. We didn’t have time to explore it, but hopefully in the future we will be able to make another trip to the region and check it out.
For more ideas on all the shopping and touring you can do in Ohio’s Amish Country, be sure to visit the Holmes County visitor’s bureau.