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Spotlight on:
Amish Country

Visiting the plain people of America's Midwest

You've seen the lights of the big city, experienced nature at its best and even gone from zero to 80 on the world's fastest roller coaster. Are you ready for a change? How about a vacation that takes you on a tour of the backroads of Ohio? Go to a place where simple values are all that matter, a place where the people don't need televisions or even electricity to be happy. Go to a place where there is old fashioned food that will stick to your ribs, where you can get hand-made furniture that you'll be able to pass down to your grandkids and visit bakeries where the pastries melt in your mouth. Plan your next trip to Ohio's Amish Country.

How to find it
Ohio's Amish Country represents the largest Amish community in the United States. It takes up about five counties in central Ohio and can be easily reached by exiting Interstates 77, 71 and 70, and that's where the big roads end. Many of the roads won't be RV friendly, so you'll want to park the RV at any of the nearly two dozen RV parks in Ohio Amish Country and then take a small vehicle to explore. Nearly half the residents of Holmes County are Amish, making it the heart of Ohio Amish Country, but neighboring counties of Tuscarawas, Coshocton, Wayne, Knox and Ashland counties also have a large Amish concentration.

Things to do
Once you find Ohio Amish Country and establish your base camp, you're going to want something to do. Of course, photographing the countryside is always a favorite, with the beautiful farms, cornfields and rolling hills in your viewfinder. However, please do not take pictures of the Amish. Having their personal pictures taken goes against their belief system.

If you love finding gems from the past, shopping for quality furniture or maybe you need a new quilt, then you'll want to stroll around the small towns that dot the map in Amish Country. There are lots of unique shops in these districts as well as antiques at the Berlin Antique Mall and the Berlin Village Antique Mall. Spend a few hours or a few days, but just make sure you have enough room to take everything home that you buy.

Cheese, Wine and Chocolate
The Amish are farmers at heart, so you'll find a lot of good food in Amish Country, including some of the best cheese in the country, fine wines made right on the premises and exquisite chocolate that will never make it back to the car, and all these treats are handmade. Stop by any of the fine cheese shops, wineries and chocolate houses prepared to taste a sample or two.

If there is a night or two that you don't want to cook at camp then you are in for such a treat in Ohio Amish Country. Nearly all the restaurants in the area make their food from "scratch" that day in a style that you'll remember from your grandmother's kitchen. No matter what you're hungry for you'll be able to find it from wings to ribs and schnitzel to strudel. Ohio Amish Country restaurants have what you've been craving. Oh, and don't forget the desserts! Homemade apple pie, or a four-inch cream puff that gushes with sweet delight. Or how about a piece of German Chocolate Cake made that morning? Dessert is always the prefect end to a perfect meal.

Down on the Farm
Ever wonder what it was like to live on a farm? Well, you have your chance to try it out in Ohio Amish Country. You can visit the Farm at Walnut Creek, where you can help feed the livestock, or go to Schrock's Amish Farm and Village, where you can take a buggy ride or go on a self-guided Amish home tour. Or visit Yoder's Amish Home, where you can experience a working Amish farm.

If you're visiting Ohio Amish Country on a weekend, don't expect to see any Amish-run businesses open on Sunday. Sunday is a sacred day for the Amish, a day to go to church and not to work. However, there are still lots of things to do. For instance, you can go to Glenmont and take a zip-line ride, or visit one of the four public golf courses in the area. How about a canoe or kayak trip down one of the nearby rivers? If you brought your bicycle, you can spend the day on the 15-miles of the Holmes County Rails to Trails.

It has been estimated that there are more horses in Ohio Amish Country than people. These beautiful beasts pull plows and buggies. They can be seen grazing in the fields or working on the farm. A few businesses in the area even offer horseback riding lessons and give guided horseback rides through the surroundings.

Back Roads
If you're still looking for piece and quiet, just take a ride and see what you can see on any of the back roads that crisscross Ohio's Amish Country. Slow down your pace and your car because you will meet up with a buggy or two.

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