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Media Information

Why Holmes County

Ohio Amish Country has incredible appeal. For our neighbors near Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh, it’s a quick day trip. This is also a vacation destination for visitors from across North America and from as far as Australia. While many come to experience the Amish lifestyle, Holmes County’s location in the fringe of the Appalachian foothills also offers charming countryside sights, outdoor adventures, and opportunities to engage with a community dedicated to self-sufficiency through cottage industries and small-scale food production.

 

It’s important to us that visitors and media have access to accurate information and authentic experiences that convey the story of Amish Country. If you are a journalist, writer, or blogger, please contact the Ohio Amish Country Tourism Bureau for story suggestions, contacts, and photos. We’ve compiled some information here to help you get started.

 

Media Contact:

Executive Director Tiffany Gerber

tiffany@visitamishcountry.com

Facts and stats

  • Holmes County: Founded 1824
  • County Seat: Millersburg, incorporated 1835
  • Total Population: Nearly 44,000
  • Amish Population in Holmes & Surrounding County Area: Nearly 37,000
  • Holmes County remains one of the largest Amish settlements in the world. 
  • It is located in northeast Ohio, midway between Cleveland and Columbus. They are both about 80 miles away.
  • The area is largely agricultural.
  • The topography consists of low and rolling hills with idyllic vistas of farmsteads and woodlands.
  • This area draws nearly 4 million tourists per year.
  • It is an integrated area of Amish and non-Amish.

 

Amish Country

Story Starters

History and Culture: All About the Amish

Although many think of the Amish as misfits dreaming of the 19th century, their history and beliefs are much more complex than that. The Mennonite faith sprang from a 16th-century Anabaptist movement during the Christian Reformation. In the 17th century, Jakob Ammann sought to invigorate the Anabaptist faith by establishing stricter interpretations of scripture and modes of living. Ammann’s practice began the tradition of adult baptism while also forbidding baptized men from shaving, advocating professions of faith, and shunning those disobedient to the doctrines. Seeking religious freedom, the Amish migrated to America and arrived in what would become Holmes County in 1809.
 

Maintaining self-sustaining farms requires dedication, skill, and commitment.

The Amish seek a closer relationship with God through the rejection of “worldly” things. The language among the Amish is Pennsylvania Dutch, but they also speak English. While their living may appear unusual in our modern world, as with any faith and heritage, each Amish church and family has its internal logic and philosophy by which to guide their lifestyle.

 

Maintaining self-sustaining farms or expanding into industries such as handcrafted furniture requires dedication, skill, and commitment. Cows don’t milk themselves. It’s valuable to remember that Amish are people experiencing a spectrum of joys and challenges, much like other Americans. Because they are a minority group, they are frequently stereotyped. And perhaps that is a part of the value in visiting this area--practicing that personal skill of leaving behind cultural caricatures in order to connect with authentic individuals. 

 

Suggested stops:
The Amish And Mennonite Heritage Center
Yoder’s Amish Home 
Troyer’s Amish Tours

Local Flavor: Homegrown Goodness

Many know Ohio Amish Country for the incomparable quality of our foods. A trip into artisanal and specialty shops in Ohio’s urban centers will often yield labels bearing our characteristic buggies. Many people don’t realize that they can go straight to the source for these awesome savories. Our cheese factories utilize local, fresh milk to create cheese in the Swiss tradition. Jam and jelly flavors might take you back to the PBJs of elementary school or provoke your tastebuds with combos like jalapeño-raspberry. You can make a day of sampling. 

 

The area has long been the source of fresh, local produce. Fruits and veggies become available as soon as seasonal weather permits. You’ll find leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, squash, apples, peaches, berries… This list goes on and on. Stop by roadside stands on local shops for homegrown produce. Millersburg hosts the Amish Country Farmers’ Market May-October. The variety of produce will astound shoppers.

The area has long been the source of fresh, local produce.

Our homestyle dinners are reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. We have more delicious local restaurants and meals than most people will be able to try in one vacation. Baked treats, including fruit fry pies, breads, danishes, whoopie pies, and cake rolls manage to fit into every visitor’s diet. There are no wrong choices here.   

 

Wine and beer-making businesses have expanded their offerings as well. While the eastern half of Holmes County remains dry, the west part of the county has invested in creating tasting experiences that highlight beautiful settings and quality beverage crafting. Live music and excellent food offerings keep these spots fresh for new and seasoned visitors. This place is a gastronomic adventure. 

 

Suggested stops:
Amish Country Farmers’ Market
Millersburg Brewing Company
Guggisberg Cheese

 

Cottage Industries: Authentic Arts

Cottage industries thrive in Ohio Amish Country. We have many craftspeople who use traditional skills and develop unique styles and products. Many of our crafts serve practical functions while providing rich decoration to daily living.

 

Quilts may be the most widely recognizable artistic endeavor in Amish Country. The area features many fabrics and notions shops to supply quilters with brilliant and textured fabrics. Quilts often have pieced geometry that represents historic or traditional design. Traditional Amish quilts tend to be dark, but you’ll see many more innovative pieced designs and quilting work in this area. Whether practiced as a social or solitary activity, quilting produces a functional work of art.

 

Other artisans in the area create through varied mediums that utilize fiber, clay, paint, wood, and even upcycled materials. Several shops in the area feature the work of local artisans. Pieces include kids aprons, pottery bowls and mugs, jewelry, decor, and apparel. Visitors might also notice Amish farms advertising baskets or brooms. You’ll have to venture down the lane to explore these crafts.

 

Handcrafted, hardwood furniture is one of our area’s most successful industries. The furniture makers use traditional techniques while engaging in contemporary design and sustainable practices. Many pieces are customizable, and our furniture stores offer excellent opportunities to discover accent and anchor pieces for family homes. This heirloom-quality furniture is made in America and supports local tradespeople. The furniture delivers longevity and peace of mind that a box of imported, build-it-yourself, particle board furniture can’t provide. Amish Country’s artisans strive to create works that express beauty that will last into the future.

 

Suggested stops:
Helping Hands Quilt Shop 
The Jenny Wren 
Homestead Furniture

Quilts may be the most widely recognizable artistic endeavor in Amish Country. The area features many fabrics and notions shops to supply quilters with brilliant and textured fabrics.

Visitor's Guide

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Get your FREE copy of the Amish Country Ohio Map and Visitors Guide. Request online and plan your trip. Or, get instant access when you download on the go.

 

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Ohio Amish Country Guide