20 Snapshots From My Holmes County Visit (Updated)

Following up 8 Snapshots From My Lancaster County Visit, here are 20 photos from my recent stay in Holmes County.

The weather was on the gloomy side, and though my trip was short, I managed to pack a lot into 24 hours.

That included 9 or 10 visits (some with old friends, some with new ones). My friend Rich Stevick was along with me for the bulk of it as well.

In between visits I am usually snapping photos of things I find interesting. These are more or less in chronological order. I hope you enjoy.

A honey stand at a Swartzentruber Amish home. No honey though.

Outside the Country Pantry, an Amish-owned market in Wayne County.

Horses wait for their owners outside an Amish food store – Country Hills Market – just down the road from Country Pantry.

A Swartzentruber buggy travels through Fredericksburg. Compare these minimal visibility markings with those of the Swartzentruber community in North Carolina.

Holmes By-Products, the local rendering plant which was the topic of a recent post. An Amish friend took me by the place. The smell was present but not as bad as it can be.

One of the main streets of Millersburg at night. I enjoy strolling around this little town.

Visiting the Budget newspaper office in Sugarcreek. Rich and I had a nice meeting with the paper’s publisher, Milo Miller.

Rich and I stopped in again at Boyd and Wurthmann Restaurant in Berlin. This was our lunch stop last year.

I think if we repeat it next year, it’s officially tradition, right?

Getting started.

While there we bumped into John Schmid and his friend Phil Sarlo. I enjoyed meeting the both of them.

John is a well-known musician who is especially popular with Amish and Mennonite people. He is a self-taught PA Dutch speaker.

Phil is a banjo player and artist. He gave me this card and a personalized sketch of my name, which he also does for Amish children in their schools.

Here is a video of John playing “Mei Vadder un Mudder sinn Deitsch.”

Our next stop was my friend Myron’s place, which is where we got the “I Am Thankful” poem.

A tractor hauls a church wagon to its next destination.

Visitor parking outside Pioneer Equipment, the horse-drawn equipment maker which we looked at here last month.

Rich and I stopped in in the morning and spoke with Milan, one of Wayne Wengerd’s sons, who is in charge of sales. I hadn’t seen him in some years, and this time he had a full beard.

Milan was happy to show us the new Pioneer IWS efficiency solutions products. He took us around the building pointing out where the heavy-duty implements are used to improve workflow.

Later we met with Wayne for a chat in his office, and saw his library with many many books.

Notice anything odd about this picture?

Hershberger’s Farm & Bakery had closed early as it was the day before Thanksgiving.

I got my Thanksgiving pies, pecan and black raspberry, at Der Bake Oven in Berlin instead. They were good!

Swartzentruber homes as the day draws to a close.

An Amish cemetery on top of a hill.

My last stop before leaving was another Swartzentruber farm which had a sign outside advertising rag rugs.

I had noticed this place earlier as Rich and I drove from stop to stop.

I drove up the dark lane to find the traditional two homes on the farm, one the farming family and the second the dawdis’ place.

Can you make them both out in this photo?

Several knocks on the door of the first home brought no response, though I could hear a child crying inside. So I went to the next home, where as in the first, a single oil lamp provided a meager glow through the window. This happened to be the right spot.

I apologized for coming after dark (though it was probably only about 5:30), inquired about rugs, and they asked me to step in. This Amish grandma and grandpa were busy cutting up turkey on the kitchen table for the next day’s meal.

Grandma started pulling out rugs, showing me many different color patterns, some of which were surprisingly bright (I remember a pastel-ish Easter version and I think one with autumn colors, which were obviously made for non-Amish buyers).

I settled on one with darker hues more traditional to the Swartzentruber Amish. This rug was the more puffy variety, unlike the knotted one I bought last year at another Amish home. Update: I’ve added a photo. As you can see it is predominantly dark – though there is a lighter section, which has some light pattern to it:

The kind lady informed me that people liked to put these in the bathroom, use them as cozy “pet rugs”, or even hang them on the wall. With that I thanked them and let them get back to the turkey, as I had hours yet to drive.

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    1. City Slicker

      Daniel’s Amish Collection - Fine Furniture

      No wholesale – No retail

      So, Daniel; how’s business?

      1. Bingo! Good question. Rich and I weren’t sure what’s going on there. They do have a website which appears willing to sell: https://www.danielsamish.com

        1. Jeff Baker

          Daniel's Amish Furniture

          Maybe it means you can’t walk in and buy furniture at that location?

    2. Doug Douglass

      "No Wholesale. No Retail."

      Does this mean they make furniture only for the Plain?

      1. They have a website so I don’t think it’s that.

    3. Richard Traunero

      Holmes visit

      We love that area. We get Hershberger Fry Pies at Planktown Country Market. Have you ever been to the Planktown/Shiloh area, Erik? I read the “I am Thankful” poem to my family at Thanksgiving dinner this year. A visit to Boyd and Wurthman is always called for when in the area.

      1. Sounds like you know the good spots Richard. I once drove a Holmes Co. Amish friend to visit some Old Order Mennonites in the Shiloh area. We stopped at a large general store one of them owned. Do you know the one I mean? I’m happy to hear you shared that poem.

    4. Geo

      I get it

      No wholesale no retail?? Funny in a sense but the meaning is plain. They sell what they made, not what they bought and marked up, thus no retail. There’s one price for everyone whether for one or a dozen items, thus no wholesale. It’s charming in it’s straightforward simplicity.

      1. I like that explanation if that’s what they mean, though I wonder if the sign confuses more people than it convinces to stop in 🙂

    5. Kathy Baumbusch

      Other Shops in Holmes County

      Have you done any articles on Amish fabric or quilt stores in the Holmes County area? My favorite is Lone Star Quilt Shop in Millersburg. I love to look around in there, and the ladies are so nice. Also Mt. Hope Fabric Store, they sell quilting cottons, Amish clothing fabric, and premade prayer kapps. They have glass cases showcasing a beautiful display of all types of kapps that the local Amish church districts and Mennonite churches use. They don’t have the strings sewn on them, though, I guess the ladies have to do that on their own.

      I also like the Ashery bulk food store. They’ve undergone an expansion in the last few years, their selection is great. Can’t remember if you showcased Miller’s Bakery near Charm; every time I go I usually have to wait for a parking spot to open up. Their apple fritter are sooo good, and huge!

    6. Roxanne


      I live in LOudonville (which is in both Ashland and Holmes County). Can you tell me what road the Swartzentruber farm is on that sells rugs? Thanks!

    7. Yoder in Ohio

      Good post Erik! Glad to see pictures from our neck of the woods!

    8. KimH

      Rag Rugs

      My great grandma and her sister in law used to make those rugs.. a friend of mine sells the rag rugs, quilts & other items for the home that she gets from a Schwartzentruber friend.
      I won a quilt on Keeping Up With the Amish on FB that she made & I’ve bought 2 rugs like these from her that matched the quilt and one that is much longer that is the length of my beds width.
      It’s much nicer to step out on them in the cold morning than it is a bare floor.

    9. Eriks trip

      I know that Don Burke also does travels into Amish country in different areas and I have made personal contact with him. From what I have seen and read from Don Curtis I really would like to make contact with him if he would be willing to contact me through email and then I would send him my phone nbr. So I would be able to visit with him. I believe would be able to a lot to talk about or interest to both of us. Especially since I understand that his son Mark has made the transition to the Amish. Hope you had a great Christmas. Thanks for your help in this Erik. Blessings

      1. Marcus below is correct Andy, sadly Don did pass away in 2017:


        Do you know his son Mark? Don often shared Mark’s contact info here. Mark is in the Belle Center, OH community.

    10. Marcus Yoder

      Don Curtis

      I believe Don Curtis passed away several years ago. He was in his 90s
      Marcus Yoder

    11. ref Don Curtis

      I am sorry to hear that I did not know, even so if you know of a way that I might be able to contact his son Mark I would appreciate it. If not that will be alright also. Blessings and Happy New Year.