TOUR AMERICA 2022, SCENIC HILLS RV PARK, BERLIN, OHIO

Wednesday, August 18, 2022

Temperature 78 Degrees, Sunshine and Partly Cloudy

Here we were surrounded by Amish and we had absolutely no idea of how they lived. Therefore, we decided that if a guided tour was offered of an Amish farm we would take advantage of it.

Well, we found one and today we decided to take the tour.

The tour is offered by Yoder’s Amish Home.

What a beautiful garden, it just explodes with color.

As we began our tour we were told that there are two houses on the farm. We were also told that though the farm is a working farm no one currently lives in either house. We were also told that the house on the right – which we would visit first – was set up in the Amish Simple style and the house to the left was set up in the Amish Old Order style. We were also told that currently in this area there are 12 Orders of Amish. It seems that if a disagreement arises between members of existing Orders and a resolution cannot be found, those that disagree simply split off and form a new Order. They may stay in the immediate area or as is happening now some are moving to other parts of Ohio, some to New York, some to Virginia, and others to Colorado.

Before we even arrived at the first house we stopped at this. Want to take a guess as to what it is? None of us knew. It is the Church Wagon. Sunday worship services are held in a different house each week. This wagon contains the pews – or in this case benches – hymnals and everything else needed for worship. At worship the benches are arranged in such a way that the men sit on one side and the women on the other. The worshippers enter with the oldest coming in first and the youngest last. A typical worship service will last about 3 hours. At the end of the service the host family is responsible for feeding everyone who attends. Everyone usually means 12 to 40 families. However, if for instance it is a special service – say a wedding – there can be as many as 700 in attendance! The service then might be held in a barn or they might rent a tent. But think about feeding all those people.

This is the typical small vegetable garden that would usually be found right outside the house. It would contain a small selection of common vegetables used in daily meals. A larger garden with a more extensive selection of vegetables would be located a bit further out in a field adjacent to the house.

This is how they sterilize the jars they use for canning. They clean them, then place them outside, upside down on a fence picket. The sun and its heat does the rest.

Time to tour the first house.

We are in the kitchen of the first house – Order Simple. The stove was fueled by either coal or wood. There was no running water in this house. However, what some did was to first find and plumb a well then build the kitchen around the pump for the well.

This is the living room. No electricity in here nor in the entire house. One pot belly stove for heat and a kerosene lamp would provide illumination.

This is the bedroom. There is no mattress on the bed. Instead, it is a sack of sorts stuffed with hay. We were encouraged to push down on it and what we found was that it was as hard as a board.

We moved from this house to the next – Old Order Amish.

This is the living room of the second house. It has a much more modern look. Notice the lamp between the big easy chair and the stove. The lamp is connected to a 12volt battery in the stand it is attached to. That’s one way the room could be illuminated. We learned though that homes that do have electricity, none are connected to the electric grid. Rather, they use solar to recharge their batteries.

Here are two other ways. The lamp in the front is attached to a propane cylinder and has a wick on top. It provided both illumination and some heat. The lamp in the back was powered by a disposal battery.

This is the kitchen, and it is used to make baked goods. Everything baked or made here is available for purchase in the bakery store. This kitchen as with the rest of the house does have running water. The stove and oven are fueled by propane.

That’s a real mattress as are the others in the house and they are oh so much more comfortable.

This would have been a typical teenagers bedroom as evidenced by the colorful dress. When questioned about how many young adults today are leaving the Amish way of life, the answer was rather amazing – 85% today chose to stay. Now how about that.

In another bedroom there was a display of typical Amish clothing. On the right is a vest that a man would wear over a white shirt when attending worship. The vest would usually use hook and eyes but no zippers to close it in the front. Zippers and belt buckles are considered too flashy and are therefore banned. The two dresses in the middle are examples of common everyday wear for women. The dress on the left is what a woman would wear to worship. The white frock was pinned to the underlying dress using straight pins, and yes, our guide said you often ended up getting stuck by the pins. It was just the way it was.

This is a man’s dress hat worn at worship. It is made of pure wool and quite expensive. During the week they will wear a straw hat during the day.

Woman’s head coverings. An Amish bonnet or head covering is called kapp or prayer covering. Amish woman are required to wear one at all times. In most cases you will only see a woman wearing a white bonnet after she is married. Black bonnets are worn by those who are not yet married.

Well, there is so much more that we learned that I just can’t remember. However, I’m now on a quest to learn as much as I can about the Amish and their way of life.

After the tour of the two houses we took a tour of a typical school house.

It is one huge room in which grades 1 through 8 are taught. After the 8th grade their formal education is finished. They believe that for their way of life there is no need to go further with formal education. However, what they are taught is far different than what you would find in public schools. They learn the basics but they also learn life skills. They learn how to balance a check book, how to run a business, how to plan meals and so much more. When they graduate they are ready for the Amish way of life.

The school year runs from August to April. Class is in session from 8:30 am to 3 pm. During the school session each grade is called forward to a table like this where they are given subjects to work on. The other students would remain at their desks and work on assigned subjects.

It was interesting to see what they typically have on the walls of the school house. For instance,

How nice it would be to see these on school room walls everywhere.

We had one more must to do before we left.

We were going to take a buggy ride!

We’re onboard and on our way. That’s Fred leading the way. Let me just say this, this would not be my preferred way of everyday transportation. Once is enough for us. It was fun to do but I can’t see doing it day in and day out. Especially in the heat of summer nor the freezing cold of winter.

Bottom line it was an interesting and informative day. We’re glad we had the chance to learn a bit about the Amish way of life and to even experience it in some small way. However, it is definitely not the way of life for us.

Thanks again for spending some time with us.  It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest. 

Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before.

7 thoughts on “TOUR AMERICA 2022, SCENIC HILLS RV PARK, BERLIN, OHIO

  1. I do find the Amish interesting, too. Though I would not want to live that way. I do agree with many of the values on which they base their lifestyle. I do know they sure can cook, and they make the best furniture. There are Amish in Missouri, too. I guess I must also confess that I have read a number of Amish romance novels. Charlotte Hubbard is one such author. I would definitely enjoy a tour like this. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  2. I always enjoy encountering Amish horse and buggys when we travel. We do not have any Amish communities in our area but there is a Mennonite community. Mennonites are similar to the Amish in many ways but they do use electricity and drive cars. The Mennonite restaurant in Montezuma is usually standing room only!

    Like

  3. When crossing into Lancaster County we have large Amish communities. I would imagine the decision to remain Amish would be difficult when one sees the English way of life. Their forgiveness and faith is so strong. They show us how we can be happy living a simple life with a strong belief in our God.

    Like

    1. What we learned is that here in Holms county within 10 years they estimate that there will be more Amish than English. When you consider that 85% of the young adults make the decision to remain within the Amish community it is an eye opener. Their faith is indeed strong and they do show us that one doesn’t need a multitude of “things” to be happy. Have a great day.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s