Sunday, August 22, 2010

Amish Country

Did you know that Ohio has the largest Amish population in the world? I honestly did not know that until I moved here. If I had to guess, I would have said that place was somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Holmes county, just 1.5 hours northeast of Columbus, is home to some 40,000 Amish people who have lived and thrived there for the last few centuries. Their lives today is not very different from the lives of their ancestors who settled here long ago.

We drove from Columbus, using Route 62, to get to Millersburg (what looked to be the middles of Holmes County). Silly us, we chose Sunday - their rest day - to visit the Amish country. The people there laughed when we asked about the Amish... Wrong day! They said.

Well, we didn't really need to go into shops or restaurants or anything like that... We just wanted to be in the Amish country, to see the buggies go by, to say hi to a few of the folks whose lives are so admirably self-sufficient, and so very sustainable.

The Amish do not use what we all take for granted today: electricity, computers, cars, any motorized machines. They grow their own food, and communicate with each other via community newsletters.

If you would like to find out more about the Amish way of life, I recommend a great little book, The Amish Cook. The photographs are outstanding, and so are the stories, and recipes included.

Well, as you can see from my photos, we were lucky to have passed a few buggies, and waved to a few friendly folks who waved back with beautiful smiles. But it took going out of the beaten path, for sure, to really get into the Amish landscape. Don't expect to see these horse-drawn buggies in the middle of Millersburg!! I would not be riding through town like that either...

We will go back again, maybe not on a Sunday next time, and take in more of this part of Ohio (and the world!) that I consider a little gem.

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