That’s right, all my epic travels around the U.S. and the world have accumulated into the Big Daddy of them all… a trip to Amish Country, Ohio! Ok, ok, not so much, but being that I’m now mostly confined to short trips in and around Northeast Ohio, it’ll have to do, and honestly, it did quite nicely.
Here’s something you may not have known about me – I’ve always been fascinated with the Amish and what appears to be their idyllic way of living, and the Amish in Ohio Amish Country can make a pretty decent living off of attracting curious tourists like myself hoping for a glimpse into their world of horse and buggy, homemade cheese and apple pie goodness.
I met up with my parents for this trip who were staying at Scenic Hills RV Park, a nearby campground run by an Amish family. While I had some idea of the things I wanted to do and see, my main bucket list items were to ride in an Amish buggy and eat a hearty Amish meal. These turned out to be two easily accomplished goals by visiting Yoder’s Amish Home and The Amish Door.
(Photo provided by Amish Door: I feel silly taking photos of my meals anymore.)
And then of course there’s the not-to-miss Amish cheese experience. We got our kicks at the Heini’s Cheese Chalet:
We also stopped in at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center which boasts a beautiful mural that depicts the heritage of the Amish and Mennonite people from their beginnings to the present day, as well as an Amish schoolhouse, a barn with various Amish buggies and tools, and a gift shop (with a surprising amount of Amish romance novels!)
We also browsed a variety of Amish furniture stores scattered around the area and my parents ended up purchasing two Adirondack gliders for their front porch from a very nice Amish family-owned company.
After we returned from our trip to Amish Country, we continued reading up on it in the form of newspapers, crime novels, documentaries and the like. I guess when something seems too perfect, you just want to know for sure if it really is… Well folks, behind all the horse and buggy and cheese chalet’s is a community of people just like you and I with faults, hardships, gossip, crime, mental and physical sickness etc., just like out here in the “real world”.
I used to fantasize over joining the Amish community to live out my idyllic farm life/wife dreams (don’t ask!), but after our visit and further research into the beliefs and lifestyle, I know that I would shrivel up and die in such a closed-minded and closed-off society with so.many.rules. It made me even more thankful for my freedom – and my car – and my innate curiosity that can be fully embellished and explored.
With that being said, Amish Country is definitely beautiful, definitely serene (getting off the main roads and taking a drive through the backroads a must), definitely interesting and unique, and a definite must see attraction next time you find yourself up around these parts.