German Culture Museum
Berlin, OH - Events of Wednesday, June 17 to Friday, June 19, 2015
Last week was a relatively quiet week for us. We didn't do much because it rained every day. We did need to stop at the post office Wednesday morning, so we also stopped at Der Dutchman Bakery while we were out.
More often than not, we get cream sticks at the bakery, but this time we decided to split an apple fritter. Their apple fritters are so big and so dense, neither of us can eat a whole one.
We got almost 5 inches of rain for the week, but eating out is something we can do rain or shine. When we eat out here in Amish Country, we almost always eat at Der Dutchman. Since we're going to be here all summer this year, we decided we would try at least a couple of the many other restaurants in the area.
We frequently drive through a little town nearby called Mount Hope, and we pass a restaurant located there called Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen. We were always curious about the place, so we decided it was time to give them a try on Friday.
Since we were restless from not getting out much all week because of all the rain, we decided to leave a little early and stop at the German Culture Museum in Walnut Creek on the way to Mrs. Yoder's. The German Culture Museum is located in the lower level of the Walnut Creek Municipal Building/Library right across the street from the Walnut Creek Post Office.
The German Culture Museum is another one of those places we pass all the time, but have never visited. The reason for that is mostly because the museum has limited hours. It is only open from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from May through October. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
The museum is relatively small, but it is very well done. It has artifacts and photos that detail the history of the community of Walnut Creek, which was originally called New Carlisle.
In addition to the history of Walnut Creek, the museum has a section on the history of the Amish Church. The Amish and Mennonites are offshoots of the Anabaptist movement, which began in Europe in the 1500s. The Anabaptists were persecuted in Europe by both the Catholic and Protestant churches, and it is that persecution that led to the migration of many Amish and Mennonites to America. Large numbers of them originally settled in Pennsylvania in the late 1700s. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, who was a Quaker and who was an early advocate of religious freedom.
In 1803, an Amish exploration party from Somerset, Pennsylvania, surveyed the region around present day Walnut Creek to search for a new place to settle. In 1809, Jonas Stutzman arrived from Beaver, PA, and he settled on land at the base of the hill just to the southeast of where the museum is located.
One of the prized possessions of the museum is a surrey from the 1860s that originally belonged to John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller moved to the Cleveland area as a boy with his family in 1853. Rockefeller, who went on to found Standard Oil in 1870, built his first oil refinery in Cleveland around 1863 at age 24. He bought the luxurious surrey for his family later in the 1860s. The surrey was purchased at auction in the 1930s by two Walnut Creek history buffs and stored in a barn until it was beautifully restored in 2005.
The major portion of the museum is laid out with room-like vignettes to display various artifacts.
The German Culture Museum is a gem that doesn't seem to be very well known. It is very well done and is an obvious labor of love. We enjoyed it a lot.
We spent more time at the museum than we had planned, so we didn't get to Mrs. Yoder's until almost 5:00. It was starting to get crowded, but we didn't have to wait for a table.
Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen has lunch and dinner entrees that include country favorites like fried chicken, ham steak, pork chops and country fried steak. Prices range from about $8 to $13. They also have burgers and several kinds of sandwiches for $4 to around $6.50.
There is a breakfast buffet on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and there is a hot buffet every day for $11.99 that also includes a salad bar. The hot buffet includes fish, shrimp and baby back ribs after 4:00 on Fridays. We usually can't eat enough to justify a dinner buffet, but cost of the buffet at Mrs. Yoder's was fairly reasonable so that's what we both decided to have.
The salad bar at Mrs. Yoder's isn't quite as extensive as the one at Der Dutchman, but that was okay because we were also having the dinner buffet. The only thing we really missed on the salad bar at Mrs. Yoder's was blue cheese dressing.
The dinner buffet at Mrs. Yoder's isn't as extensive as the one at Der Dutchman either, but it is a couple of dollars cheaper. Unfortunately, we thought the ribs were too fatty and they also weren't very tender. We knew the ribs at Mrs. Yoder's would be baked instead of smoked and we knew they wouldn't be as good as the ones at OakWood Grill in The Villages in Florida or as good as the ones at Central Barbecue in Memphis, but they weren't even as good as the ones Margery makes at home in the crock pot. In addition, some pieces of the fried chicken weren't very crispy and were a little greasy. On a more positive note, the popcorn shrimp was good as was the clam chowder, the potato salad, and the sweet potato casserole.
Overall, we thought the food at Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen was okay; but in our opinion, it is not as good as Der Dutchman. We're glad we took the opportunity to try Mrs. Yoder's to satisfy our curiosity even though we were a bit disappointed.
You've probably heard of buyer's remorse where the buyer regrets a purchase later. Well, by Saturday evening, Margery had diner's remorse. The disappointment of eating at Mrs. Yoder's made her wish she had those calories back so she could spend them on a fry pie from Der Dutchman Bakery instead.
By the end of last week, the weather forecast for the following week showed we might get a few nice days. In our next post, we'll tell you if we were able to take advantage of any of that nicer weather.