Winter, spring, summer, or fall, it’s always the right season to visit Ohio’s Amish Country.
Ohio’s Amish Country isn’t just Holmes County. The surrounding counties (Tuscarawas and Wayne come to mind) also offer plenty to explore. A good GPS unit is a must to get the most out of your experience. Sometimes the best connecting roads are the back roads, and a road map just won’t cut it – Amish Country roads are often of the “one-lane pretending to be two-lanes” variety. Play it safe and invest in a good navigation system.
Additionally, on a weekend excursion, you’ll want to focus your time in a few key areas. Don’t try to see everything! It takes a lot of time to get from point A to point B in Amish Country, so quality must be recommended over quantity, lest you spend all of your time in transit!
Find a “Home Base”
In my experience, some of the best lodging options are often the local Bed and Breakfasts or any number of family-owned cabins and lodges scattered around the area. One of my all-time favorites is the scenic Sojourner’s Lodge in Dundee, Ohio. The location is a bit out of the way, but the accommodations will not disappoint. The suites are spacious, comfortable, and well appointed for a weekend stay (or longer!)
Another local standard is the Inn and Spa at Honey Run, located just outside of Millersburg. A little larger and more upscale than some of the alternatives, this has been a treasured romantic getaway spot for area couples for decades.
Things to See and Do
The choices can be overwhelming! First, make yourself a promise that you won’t get upset when you don’t get to everything on your itinerary. Set a few broad goals and have fun! Here are a few suggestions from the last time my wife and I stayed at Sojourner’s Lodge:
Day One: Start by heading over to Tuscarawas County. Be sure to take a few hours to visit the Breitenbach Winery in Dover. The award-winning wines are a local favorite, the tour is brief but enjoyable and interesting, and a small café serves some pretty decent fare for a quick bite to eat. Like white wines? Try the Frost Fire. And when was the last time you tasted something as exotic as a “Dandelion” dessert wine? These specialty wines, along with all the old standbys, make for a worthwhile stop.
From there, work (and eat!) your way back to the lodge. It’s just a short drive to Sugarcreek, where you can tour the Alpine Hills Museum or a number of other attractions. If you’re there a month after Labor Day, you might even catch the Swiss Festival! Amish Country is also known for its furniture shops, and Sugarcreek doesn’t disappoint in that area, either.
Walnut Creek makes a nice way to end your day – cheese, chocolate, and gifts abound! Make sure you save some time to enjoy a nice relaxing evening at the lodge, however. They’ve got a fire pit and a short walking trail for you to enjoy. Curl up by the fire, hop in the jacuzzi, or just pop in a movie and you’ve got the perfect end to a perfect day in Amish Country.
Day Two: Time to explore more of Holmes County! Charm, Millersburg, and Berlin (in whichever order you choose!) should be on your radar now. There’s something for the whole family to discover. My parents have always loved Keim Lumber in Charm. Since my wife and I go straight for the food, we love the unique samples and huge selection at Heini’s Cheese Chalet, just northeast of Berlin off of Route 62. But if furniture and food don’t do it for you, there are plenty of museums and shops in all three of these Amish Country locations to keep you busy!
Another relaxing night is in store for you at your “home base.” Relaxation is a must during any trip to Ohio’s Amish Country!
Design Your Own Experience
The great thing about the above suggestions is that they are just that – suggestions. You can aggressively plan your itinerary or just wander in and out of each quaint little town, content to go where each day takes you. Find out what the locals already know – Ohio’s Amish Country is an absolute treasure.