Holmes County, OH Part I: Getting Settled
Berlin, OH - Events of Thursday, August 16 to Sunday, August 18, 2012
Our drive on Thursday was about three hours, which was longer than the previous two drives of only an hour and a half, but less than our preferred maximum of four hours. Our destination was Berlin, OH, which is in the heart of Ohio's Amish country in Holmes County.
By the time we hooked up the car and went to the dump station, we didn't get on the road until well after 10:00 AM. Therefore, by the time we also made a fuel stop, we didn't get to Scenic Hills RV Park until almost 2:00 PM. Scenic Hills is a well-kept RV park just to the east of downtown Berlin. It is run by a nice Menonite couple who work hard to make the campground a pleasant place to stay.
Scenic Hills has full hookups. There are no bathroom or shower facilities, so it is for self-contained RVs only. There are a mixture of pull-throughs and back-ins, and a mixture of 30-amp sites and 30/50-amp sites. Transmitters for the free Wi-Fi are located at numerous spots around the campground, so reception is good. The W-Fi is also fairly fast, which was a good thing because, although Verizon cell service seemed OK, the Verizon Broadband was a little spotty where we were located on the lower sites. We had our external, roof-top Wilson antenna hooked up to our Pantech modem, but we don't have an amplifier so we couldn't always get online with Verizon.
The roads at Scenic Hills are semi-paved (tar and chips), and the pads are gravel. As we have explained in previous posts, Scenic Hills has sites on three levels. The upper and lower levels have grass between the sites and the middle level is all gravel. The spacing between most of the sites isn't bad for a private campground, although a few sites are a little close together.
We like to get a site on the lower level because there is a lumber mill next to the campground, and we think the noise from the equipment at the mill is less on the lower level. Fortunately, the lumber mill shuts down at 3:00 PM, and it doesn't operate on the weekends.
The nightly rate at Scenic Hills for a regular site is $30, but there are discounts for stays of 3 nights or longer. We are going to be at Scenic Hills for 4 weeks, so we got the monthly rate of $525.
Since we are doing a little less traveling and staying longer at each stop this year, we are making a lot of those stops in our favorite places. Holmes County is definitely one of our favorites because we love seeing the neatly-kept Amish farms, the horses and buggies and all the bright flowers that are everywhere in summer. We also love the delicious food that is available.
As we said, we didn't arrive until almost 2:00. Margery usually packs sandwiches for us to eat on the way if we think we will be arriving at our destination much after 1:00, but she didn't this time. Therefore, shortly after we got set up, we went to Der Dutchman restaurant in nearby Walnut Creek to have their salad bar for lupper. In addition to plenty of delicious salad fixin's, the salad bar also includes things like chicken salad, ham salad, three bean salad, pasta salad, sweet 'n' sour carrots, pickled beets, and much more.
Der Dutchman has about half a dozen restaurants in Ohio that specialize in Amish-style cooking. The same company also owns Das Dutch Essenhaus in Middlebury, IN, and they recently opened a new location in Sarasota, FL. Sarasota is a favorite winter vacation destination for Amish and Mennonites from all over the country.
You'll be hearing more about Der Dutchman because we'll be eating there several times while we're in Berlin. We will have to try to pace ourselves so we don't blow all the progress we've made with our diets, especially since we will be heading to Pittsburgh soon for our annual doctor checkups. We have both reached our final goals, and we have each lost around 30 pounds.
After leaving Der Dutchman, we swung past Winesburg Meats to get some beef snack sticks that are like a cross between Slim Jims and summer sausage. We only got two packages on this stop (one dozen sticks per package), but we'll definitely be getting more for the freezer before we leave Berlin.
Paul went to Keim Lumber in the nearby town of Charm, OH on Friday morning while Margery stayed back at the motor home. Keim Lumber is a huge home center that, in addition to the usual building supplies, also sells a nice selection of fine hardwoods including many exotic varieties. They have an enormous selection of tools and an extensive stock of hardware items that go beyond what you normally find in Lowe's and Home Depot. Paul spent almost two hours just walking around checking out what they had to offer.
On Saturday, we went back to Der Dutchman for their breakfast buffet. Although they serve the buffet every day, we are in the habit of going on Saturday because that's when we used to go when we went to Berlin for the weekend from our stick house in Pittsburgh. That's also when we go when Lora and J. Michael meet us in Berlin for the weekend.
The breakfast buffet at Der Dutchman includes scrambled eggs, a couple of kinds of potatoes, French toast sticks, mini pancakes, oatmeal, fried mush, sausage gravy, biscuits, bacon, breakfast sausage (sometimes links, sometimes patties, sometimes both), smoked sausage, cold cereal, several kinds of pudding, fresh fruit salad, frozen fruit slush, cinnamon rolls and more.
After breakfast, we did the other thing we traditionally do on Saturday in the Berlin area, and that was to go to one of the two area flea markets. The Holmes County Flea Market is located just down the road from Scenic Hills. In fact, you can see the building from the far end of the campground. The other flea market that we decided to save for another time is the Amish Flea Market, and it is located in Walnut Creek to the east of Der Dutchman.
Both area flea markets have mostly new merchandise, and much of it is country-style decorative items.
As we have mentioned before, just about everything in the area is closed on Sunday. We spent most of the day relaxing and watching the NASCAR race. We'll let you know what else we find to do in our next post.