Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Holmes County, Ohio
We have moved south to the heart of the Ohio Amish and are camped in a very nice campground in Berlin, Ohio. They have free WI-FI, firewood and roomy sites. This area has become a busy tourist destination centered on the fact that a large Amish and Mennonite community reside in the area. Over half of the population of the county is either Amish or Mennonite.
Here you can enjoy the countryside along small roads lined with farms and small businesses, many of them Amish. The fall is now fully coming into season and leaves are turning and falling to the ground. The Amish buggies are everywhere and the tourists, who have come to see this way of life, often seem impatient at the slow pace of this mode of transportation. While the Amish are certainly having their own struggles with remaining “plain” in an ever more complicated world, observing their efforts to live simple and apart lives does remind us that too much rushing around may not be any better.
Of course, when there is any kind of “natural” attraction, this apparently calls for converting any available historic looking structure into some kind of gift shop. How they all can stay in business is a complete mystery to me. We prefer to try to visit those locations where something might be learned rather than money spent on what will almost certainly become basement storage fodder. One of those places here is the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio. Here guides will provide you with an over view of their history and lifestyle. This center houses the “Behalt”, which is a 265’ mural depicting the origins of the various Anabaptist movements from the start until now. Well worth the visit.