A Summer Visit To The Holmes County Amish Community (21 Photos)

Mike Sparks, who gave us a look at the Amish community in Ashland County, OH, returns to share his recent visit to the settlement in Holmes and Wayne Counties.

Mike has been visiting and learning about the Amish for over four decades now. I’ll let Mike take it away with a little description of his background and then his photos of the early-July trip. If you haven’t been to an Amish community before, this is a great one to visit.


I lived in northern Wayne County, Ohio, from the time I was 6 until my second year in college. Although I knew there were Amish communities to the south of me, I really paid no interest early on.

In the Fall of 1975, our English teacher gave us a class project to write letters to Amish kids in Holmes County. A few of the best letters (mine included), were chosen to hop into a school van and go to the school where these Amish kids attended. That was my first real insight to the culture.




From that moment forward, after reading countless books, doing research papers in school, visiting numerous communities throughout the US and even having Amish friends….the past 42 years have become a passionate journey to learn more about the Amish culture.

Because I visited on a Thursday, the Kidron Auction (Wayne County) was going on that morning.

Both Amish and non-Amish bring in livestock to be auctioned off each week on Thursday. The little town, made famous by Lehman’s Hardware, buzzes each week when the auction takes place.

These three shots are of Amish bringing wagons of livestock to the auction.

A Swartzentruber home just south of Kidron. Although the farm sits way back off the road, they make it known for people passing what they have for sale on simple homemade signs.

Last year during one of my visits, I came across Raber’s Produce stand. I was happy to see that they had sweet corn available.

The Amish gal running the stand stated it’s some of the first picked. I was able to get 6 ears of corn, 2 zucchini, 2 cucumbers, 2 kohlrabi and 2 onions for a whopping $6.75. All of the produce is grown on their farm and is non-GMO. A great place to visit.

I ventured into Holmes County and started taking pictures of farm houses and their well-kept lawns and fields.

I tend to like to take pictures of schools. In the area, you can see the real plain, and the more new/modern. This school I would call “middle of the road” for the area.

A couple examples of Swartzentruber homes in the area. The blue doors give it away.

Also got a shot of the vegetable offerings at one of the farms. Not too many places I have seen offer homemade butter.

I always enjoy the farms/houses with laundry out to dry.

There is something about clothes whipping in the wind that brings peace to your soul.

It’s wheat harvest season in Ohio and a visit to Amish country will certainly allow one to see the old-fashioned farming method of “shocks”.

I mentioned earlier about how I like to see clothes drying on lines. This shot really caught my interest, because, unlike non-Amish homes, you see little boys’ and girls’ clothes as miniature replicas of their father’s and mother’s garb.

After looking at this shot when I got home, I call it my “postcard shot”. What more do I need to say? A very serene and peaceful shot.

Another blue door Swartzentruber house.

I have passed by this Swartzentruber produce stand many times and actually stopped last summer.

This time, it was unattended, but, being the trusting people they are, there was a sign for self-service money to be left.

This is the farm and the large garden area from which the produce comes from.

A wheat field only partially harvested.

This is from a more modern school established in 2013, one of the nicer and more complete playgrounds I have ever seen at a school.

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    26 Comments

    1. Ben

      Amazing

      The Amish are amazing people.

    2. Missing it

      We make a trip to Charm, Ohio every year. It is beautiful country and beautiful people. Try to visit the Walnut Creek Amish Flee Market, you will really enjoy it.

    3. Scott Lehman

      Wheat shocks

      There is something about harvested wheat fields, done the old way that makes me smile! It says tranquility in communion with nature to me. Wonderful scene.

    4. Loretta Shumpert

      Thank you

      Thank you for all these wonderful pictures, for taking the time. And all the commentary 🙂

      1. Mike Sparks

        Holmes County Ohio Amish

        Loretta, thank you so much for your kind words. I simply love capturing the beauty of God’s work when taking these shots. Although at times I do go to many of the “tourist” areas, I much more enjoy hitting back roads. I have been there so many times, I am to the point where I know roads will lead me to where I need to be. Thanks again for sharing

    5. Lisa Maikranz

      Directions

      We are heading to that area from Texas in 2 weeks – any suggestions or helpful hints on how to find the schools and produce/misc. stands?

      1. Mike Sparks

        Holmes County Amish

        Lisa,
        So glad to hear you will be coming from Texas to visit Holmes County. I think you will find peace and serenity. As for schools, you can see many of these on County Roads and of course back roads. Normally you won’t see them on State Highways. Because there are so many Amish in the area, there is a need for many schools. Driving on various back roads you can see quite a few after driving short distances. You will see the very plain (Swartzentruber) to the more modern Old Order buildings.

        Amish produce stands and other stores are again, more off the beaten path. The picture of Raber’s is on Kidron Road south of US 250. I believe it is just south of Harrison Road. Again, driving back roads, many Amish homes will have signs by the road as to what they are selling. Don’t get me wrong, the stores and shops in the tourist areas are nice, but if you want to truly experience the serenity of Amish Country, you have to get off the main roads. I hope you enjoy your trip and I hope these comments were helpful.

        1. Lisa, Blessing Acres Produce is run by Anna Miller and her family. It is on the backroads , 6728 Township Road 362, Millersburg. Anna and her family grow everything and make their jams and jellies. The Strawberry Rhubarb is the best. I buy a case each time I go. Be sure and check out her family cookbook. Tell her Peggy Parnell said hello. We have become very good friends. Oh , and check out her homemade greeting cards. They are beautiful

      2. Alice Rayburg

        School auctions

        Lisa, if you are there on the weekend of August 18, you might enjoy attending a school auction. “The Butler School auction is the third weekend of August at Yoder Woodworking, 21198 Swendal Road, Butler, OH. We have never been to this particular auction, but it sounds like the ones we have attended. Starts at 8:30 am, with quilts, comforters, wall hangers, new furniture, household items, misc antiques and coins, farm, lawn and garden items, shop tools, horse & livestock items, hay, firewood, lunch stand, bake sale, BBQ chicken, home-made ice cream, kettle corn, fruit stand, and probably more. For more information, contact: Marvin Yoder at 740-599-7927, Henry Nisley at 740-599-7797, Daniel Kauffnan at 740-599-5458.” They will probably not answer the phone, but will call you back. These school benefit auctions raise funds to keep the schools running. Really interesting experience! Enjoy!

    6. Donna Fiala

      picked corn

      I have a little summer place in Berlin that I enjoy two months a year. There is nothing more peaceful and relaxing that being here in Amish Country. My Amish girlfriend and I bought Incredible Corn as it came in from the field, husked it and boiled it for 6 minutes, and ate it before it was two hours old. We froze the rest. Nothing better!

      Donna Fiala

      1. True Donna, it’s hard to beat a good salted-and-buttered corn on the cob. A favorite food from childhood that I don’t eat enough of in adulthood 🙂 And no doubt you’re getting some quality corn from that source.

    7. holmes away from home

      This is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Your pictures are lovely. I was just there in mid June, it was really warm, and lovely to see all the farms in full swing. Your pictures are making me “holmes sick”. I have been visiting this area for over 30 years. I love to stop at all the roadside stands, and the farms selling baskets. I found a wonderful Swartzentruber home, that sells the best fry pies. They are located just down from the wildlife/nature centre on Alabama road, near Mt.Eaton before Wilmont. I can’t wait to go back in November for their holiday Christmas shopping weekend. Maybe a trip even sooner. Marie from Canada

      1. Mike Sparks

        A Summer Visit to Holmes County Amish

        Marie B,

        I am so glad you enjoyed my photos and glad they brought back great memories. I am certainly interested in the Swartentruber home that you purchased fry pies. Is it actually on Alabama Road? Is it north of the nature preserve? I will hopefully be going back soon and I would like to stop by.

        1. Yes, it north of the centre. It the first farm on the right hand side. Their last name is Miller..and the address is9282 alabama ave. (I took a photo of their mailbox)She makes really great jalapeño red pepper jelly too. I usually get them for gifts for christmas. When we visit in November, I order her homemade chocolates, too. You won’t be disappointed. Enjoy, marie

        2. Mike, yes, the farm is north of the centre. Its the first farm on the right hand side and their last name is Miller. She makes wonderful jalapeno red pepper jelly, that is really nice for Christmas gifts. When we visit in November, I have an order for her homemade chocolates. You will not be disappointed if you stop at this farm. enjoy and have a safe trip. Marie from Canada

    8. PJ

      Scenery

      Beautiful pictures! Very much like the wheat fields.

    9. Mike — Thanks for sharing the interesting pictures. I’ve been to Holmes and Wayne Counties several times and done a lot of driving around the rural area. I agree with what you said in your reply to Lisa. To really see the Amish areas, you’ve got to get off the state highways and away from the congested areas of Berlin and Walnut Creek.

      I was in the Wooster area last August attending the MCC Relief Sale at the fairgrounds. Before the sale, I drove around the country southwest of Wooster. In the Amish settlement in the Blacheyville Road area, I found the most interesting Amish thrift store (used items of all sorts and fresh vegetables). Have you ever been in that area?

      1. Mike Sparks

        A Summer Visit to Holmes County Amish

        Al in KY,
        I have not spent a lot of time in the area in which you speak. Normally, I will head south off Route 250 and go to Fredericksburg and then head further south or east, depending on my intuition. Most of my visit is usually spent South of Rt 250, although this last time, I spent more time north. Thanks for your comments.

    10. Wayne and Donna Ambrose

      Holmes County Amish

      Thanks, Mike, for the lovely pictures of Wayne and Holmes County Amish. You captured the beauty and plainness of the area and its people. When we return to Ohio we always make it a point to visit the area. Summer is the most wonderful time to see the “fruits of their labor” throughout the remainder of the year.

    11. Mike Sparks

      A Summer Visit to Holmes County Amish

      Wayne & Donna,
      Thank you for your kind words and insight. I have found that a drive through the back roads of Wayne and Holmes Counties can certainly be a way to set aside the troubles of everyday life. It’s certainly a place where I can find peace.

    12. Alice Rayburg

      School auctions

      We are going up to Farmerstown, OH, in Holmes County, tomorrow to the Tri-Township School Auction, which we have been attending for several years. Quilts, furniture, and so much more, along with visiting with our Amish friends make the trip so memorable. We stay overnight in our Amish friends’ home, which helps to immerse us in their culture.

    13. Thank you so much for these pictures. We go to Ohio Amish Country usually once a year. We always stay at the Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek. We have made some very good Amish friends up there. We usually go out to eat with them and then they invite us to their house. I was so excited to get to me and spend time talking to one of their fathers who was a Bishop! We also got to attend one of their daughters weddings up there. We’ve also attended an Amish wedding of one of the daughters of our Amish friends in Kentucky. Holmes County is my favorite home away from home. Planning on spending Thanksgiving week there .

    14. Zombie

      Minnesota & Indiana

      1) My friends late Dad was a Banker until his death in 1974.
      Therefore, he would obviously approve the Amish Mortgages.

      2) There are nice Amish Homes in Southern Minnesota
      near the Mayo Clinic, & Tours are welcome.

      3) Eric: my advise is Private Car Tours. Positivey:
      No taking pictures on the Amish Property.

      4) However: they will use a flip phone briefly only for a moment.

      5) Eric: It’s interesting that their phone is share on a Farm Rd.
      What if and I mean what if there are people out their that Woukd destroyed the phone book. Seriesly. How safe are the Amish?

      6) How do we know that a group of Terroist sent hindig in a bandit farm houses in the middle of no where eg: South Dakota for Example.