Our Trip to Holmes County, Ohio

I married an Ohio farm girl. That stands to reason, because I had transferred from Texas A&M to Ohio State and was majoring in horticulture. But we had never been to Holmes County, Ohio. On all of our trips back to see family and friends, and in two years of teaching just an hour west in Shiloh and Shelby, we had never visited this county that’s home to the largest population of Amish anywhere in the world.

But business took me up in the general area several years ago and we decided to make a trip of it. It was early September and fall was just beginning to appear in the foliage. We started our visit in the county seat of Berlin. It’s a bustling little town that’s a mixture of modern America and old Amish and Mennonite farms, people and stores.

Some of my favorite photos…

As we stood on this hilltop south of Berlin I realized that a 360-degree photo would be just as beautiful from any direction. The farms are pristine – not one speck of trash. And not one electrical line to be seen. Click image for larger view.
You know you’re in the right place when you see this farmer out plowing his field. Click image for larger view.
It’s difficult to imagine farms of this size being maintained by the original horse-power, but they are. Click image for larger view.
There was no trick to my photo. It was just an unusual formation of clouds over an unusual swoop in the land. But it made for a pastoral scene. Click image for larger view.

Continued Below

You can’t miss the overlap of old Amish lifestyles and modern America. Patience is the byword as all share the same highways. Click image for larger view.
Photos: You’ll marvel at the families riding throughout the county – to stores, to gatherings, to school, to church, in all kinds of weather, all in their buggies. Click image for larger view.
Old stores line the street of Berlin. It’s obvious that storekeepers appreciate flowers. Click image for larger view.
I took this photo of goldenrod just for myself, but as I was cropping it for you this week, I noticed something over the lower door. They may ride in buggies, but these kids still play their hoops! Click image for larger view.
The farmer rode by while I was taking this photo. He had 8 hefty horses. He greeted me as I waved and gave him a big thumbs-up for this gorgeous scene. Could it be any prettier! And when barns like this are built, dozens of Amish men join together and do an old-fashioned “barn-raising.” They build it, start-to-finish, all in one day. Click image for larger view.
By comparison, here is a historic old barn that’s stood for many decades. Click image for larger view.
Somewhere in my notes I have the date that this building was last used as a school, but I believe it was back in the 1940s. You can still picture the beautiful children in their crisp outfits heading into their school days. Click image for larger view.
Click image for larger view.
Photos: If you’re ever up in that area, you must stop by Lehman’s Hardware in nearby Kidron, Ohio. We lost ourselves there for four hours looking at wood-fired stoves and kerosene lamps, old-fashioned toys, hand tools and sewing supplies. Amish and Mennonites are renowned for their cooking, and every last type of kitchen and houseware supply can be found in this unbelievable store. It’s as big as our big box stores, but there is nothing electrical (except limited lighting, cash registers and computers – perhaps operated by the Mennonites). Click image for larger view.

Here is their fascinating website. Prepare to enjoy it! And take a look at their slide show of Amish Country photos!

Posted by Neil Sperry
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