Holmes County, OH
Berlin, OH - Events of Wednesday, May 23 to Monday, May 29, 2012
Holmes County is Ohio's Amish area, and it has the nation's largest concentration of Amish. This is one of our favorite places in the entire country because we like the picturesque farms, the family atmosphere, the friendly people and the good food. It tends to be a little less crowded than either the Amish areas in Indiana or in eastern Pennsylvania.
When we go to Ohio Amish country, we always stay at Scenic Hills RV Park in Berlin, OH. Scenic Hills has all full-hookup sites. Some are pull-throughs, and some are back-ins. The campground has no bathroom/shower facilities so all RVs must be self-contained. Some sites have 30-amp electric, and some have 30/50 amps. They do have a small laundry as well as guest rooms if RVers want to spend time with their non-rving friends.
The roads are paved and the pads are gravel. There are sites on three levels. The sites on the upper and lower levels have grass between them, and the sites on the center level where the office is located are all gravel.
There is a lumber mill next to the RV park, and there is sometimes some noise from the equipment at the mill and from the backup beepers of the fork lifts at the mill during the week, so we usually like to get a site on the lower lever because we think the noise is less. The mill doesn't operate on weekends. The good thing about having a lumber mill next door is the campground gets cuttings from the mill to provide free fire wood to the campers.
The campground wasn't very crowded when we first arrived shortly after noon on Wednesday. There were RVs scattered about the campground and there was a small cluster of 6 or 8 RVs in the row in front of us. The campground was completely filled for the holiday weekend, however.
There is free Wi-Fi that has good coverage and that initially seemed to be as fast as our Verizon 3G. The Wi-Fi did slow down as the campground filled, but we used the campground system most of our stay because we had occasional trouble getting online with Verizon. Not only that, but we were running well over the 5GB data limit on our Verizon plan. With all our research and blogging, we usually do run over 5GB, and every extra gigabyte of data (or fraction thereof) costs us another $10, so we try to use free Wi-Fi whenever we can to minimize the overage.
By the time we got to Scenic Hills and set up, Margery decided she didn't feel like making lunch or cooking dinner, so we went to Der Dutchman Restaurant in nearby Walnut Creek for lupper. We knew our stay in Berlin was going to be hard on our diets, especially after several celebrations in Pittsburgh just a few days before.
We both had the salad bar. Salad itself isn't bad for our diets; it's all the sugar in the salad dressings and in all the accompaniments like three-bean salad, rolls with apple butter, potato salad, and pickled beets that are the problem.
On Thursday, we drove around the area enjoying the beautiful spring scenery and making a few shopping stops. We stopped at Walnut Creek Cheese for some bulk herbs and spices and at Winesburg Meats for some beef snack sticks for Paul. The beef sticks are shaped like Slim Jims with a flavor that is a cross between Slim Jims and summer sausage.
We also stopped at R.W. Leather for a new, smaller belt for Paul that fits better since his weight loss. R.W. Leather is run by an Amishman who makes the belts from high quality harness leather.
There is a pet supply store across from the campground where we went to look for a new dog toy for Freeway. He keeps tearing apart the cheap ones from Walmart. We're hoping the new one we got him will last longer.
There happened to be a western store in the same complex, and Paul was able to get a second new belt to replace the western-style belt he had that was too big. Margery's old belts are also getting too big, and she got a new one at the western store, too.
We did our weekly cleaning of the motor home on Friday morning and then went out to Walmart in neraby Millersburg to pick up a few things. When we came back, Paul was checking his wallet to determine his cash situation because many of the smaller businesses in this area and the vendors at the flea markets we planned to go to the following day are cash only. He absent-mindedly placed a couple of bills on the floor beside him. When he went to pick the bills up, one of them was missing. A quick search revealed the thief hiding under the chair.
Lora and J. Michael arrived Friday afternoon and got set up several sites away from us down at the end of the row. We went down to greet them, then we had dinner together back at our rig.
On Saturday morning, it was back to Der Dutchman for their breakfast buffet that we all love so much. There are scrambled eggs with several things that can be added to them like fried onions, mushrooms, cheese and green peppers. There are also several kinds of potatoes, sausage gravy and biscuits, fried mush, pancakes, French toast sticks, two kinds of sausage, bacon, fresh fruit salad, frozen fruit slush, several kinds of pudding, cinnamon rolls, and much more.
After breakfast, we drove a short distance to the east of Der Dutchman to the Walnut Creek Flea Market. The flea market has mostly new items.
The area has two similar flea markets. The second is a few miles to the west of the Walnut Creek Flea Market and a short distance past the entrance to Scenic Hills RV Park in Berlin. In fact, we could see the Holmes County Flea Market from our site. We couldn't very well go to the Walnut Creek Flea Market and skip the one that is right next to the campground, so we went there next.
Like the first flea market we went to, the Holmes County Flea Market has mostly new merchandise, and most of it has a country flair to it.
Wendell August Forge, which manufactures hammered aluminum giftware, has a large store in Berlin. Lora and J. Michael needed a couple of wedding gifts, so we went to Wendell August Forge after we walked around the second flea market.
From Wendell August it was back to the RV park where we relaxed a while then had a delicious dinner of marinated, grilled chicken and zucchini pancakes at Lora and J. Michael's campsite.
With most businesses in the area closed on Sunday, we took time to relax. After we shared another dinner, it was too hot for a campfire so we played a couple of games around the picnic table and read.
Lora and J. Michael stayed over Monday night so they could avoid traveling on the holiday. On Monday morning, we all went to Lehman's Hardware in Kidron to look around. Lehman's sells non-electric appliances, stoves, canning supplies, oil lamps, farm implements, and other products that cater to the Amish.
Inside Lehman's, there is a mixture of antique tools and implements on display and new merchandise for sale, and it's often hard to distinguish between the two.
After Lehman's. we stopped at Heini's Cheese Chalet. They make most of their own cheese on the premesis, and you can watch it being made if you arrive at the right time. Samples of most of the cheeses are available, and there is a slow-moving line around the showroom (especially on Saturdays) as people shuffle along tasting cheese. Fotunately, it wasn't very crowded when we were there on Monday, so we were able to make our way around the samples fairly quickly. Lora bought some delicious sharp Swiss and sharp cheddar.
We relaxed on Monday afternoon, then went back to Der Dutchman for an early dinner. In addition to the salad bar, they also have a hot buffet, which is what we all had. It has broasted chicken, pan-fried chicken, ham loaf, sweet and sour chicken, roast beef, fried fish, sweet and sour meat balls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, noodles, sweet potato casserole, hash brown casserole, several kinds of vegetables, and more. The price of $13.49 also includes the regular salad bar and a dish of soft-serve ice cream for dessert with your choice of topping. Our diets were out the window, especially with all the starches.
We had a great time with Lora and J. Michael in Pittsburgh and then in Berlin. We're so glad we took the detour to help celebrate Lora's Mary Kay success, and we're glad we were able to get reservations at Scenic Hills to spend Memorial Day with them. As they headed east to go home the following morning, we headed off toward the south. We'll tell you where we went in our next post.