Ohio’s Amish Country: Walnut Creek, Sugarcreek

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Visiting Ohio’s Amish Country will help you appreciate modern-day conveniences, as well as the people who choose to live without them.

Scenes like the one above are common: a young boy working the fields, riding aboard a horse-drawn plow.

Amish schools are everywhere, since most Amish schoolchildren either walk or ride a buggy to class.

Ah, yes.  Another convenience the Amish choose to live without: indoor plumbing.

I visited Holmes County twice.  My first visit was on a Sunday, which looking back was somewhat foolish.  Of course, since this area is heavily influenced by the Amish beliefs, almost every store, restaurant, and gas station was closed.

As a side note, some of the pictures on the next few pages were taken on my first visit, the others are from my second visit, on my return trip to Pittsburgh.

If you stay on the main road (US 62) through Amish Country, you won’t see much.  Take any side road and you’ll instantly be transported back 100 years.  I recommend taking this loop: from Berlin, take Rte. 39 through Walnut Creek, Sugarcreek, and Dover.  Return via a small backroad that passes through Winfield, Barrs Mills, and Trail.  Remember to drive slowly, and watch for horse-drawn carriages along the route.

 

Their culture may be difficult to understand, but you will appreciate one thing about the Amish, they’re friendly!  Almost every time you pass a buggy, you’ll receive a wave and a smile.

Walnut Creek, Ohio

Walnut Creek is located at the intersection of Ohio Rtes. 515 and 39, south of US 62.

The town of Walnut Creek makes for a great stop in Ohio’s Amish Country.  The town offers antique stores and a great Amish restaurant (which I’ll mention more about on the next page).  And, wherever you stop, you may find yourself parked next to a horse and buggy.

I probably annoyed this guy.

Remember while photographing horses is OK, taking pictures of Amish people isn’t.  The Amish forbid photographic images, based on several Bible passages.  Of course, not all Amish adhere strictly to the old beliefs, so if you’re unsure, just ask.

The town of Walnut Creek is perched on a hill overlooking the Genza Bottom Valley.  It’s an incredible view, even on cloudy days.  Unfortunately, my photos simply don’t do it justice, because of the lack of sunshine.

Walnut Creek is home to the Der Dutchman Amish-style restaurant.  Expect big portions of perfectly prepared chicken, ham, pork, and roast beef.  Everything’s a treat here, even the vegetables.  Every meal starts with a delicious basket of different breads, and should end with a slice of cake or pie.  Start your mouth watering now, by visiting one of the restaurant’s notably un-Amish features: its website.

Sugarcreek, Ohio

While there are plenty of worthwhile stops to make in Ohio’s Amish Country, I made only one more, in the town of Sugarcreek.  And I’ll admit, the main purpose of my stop was to take a picture of this strange radio tower, made from a converted old water tower.  I thought my eyes were deceiving me at first, but sure enough, someone decided to slice the top off the water tower and stick a radio tower out of it.  Doesn’t it look like something out of a cartoon or a cheesy spy movie?

The town also had an interesting, although poorly maintained, cemetery which dated back more than a century.

When you’re ready to leave the Amish Country, head northwest on US Rte. 250.  The route ends at Sandusky, the final stop of the Bridges and Backroads trip.

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.

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