Each February we look forward to our little winter get-a-way to Holmes Co. Ohio. If you’ve never been there, it’s a fun experience. Amish homesteads dot the landscape amongst the rolling hills and winding roads, … and horses pulling Amish buggies cause us to slow down and enjoy the picturesque scenery. Bikes, buggies, and little children walking to school with their lunch pails are captivating to see!
Mike and I left on a Tuesday, arriving around 5:00 to the home of an Amish family- Ivan & Esther Miller, our dear friends now for about 10 years. Ivan sold us our kitchen cabinets when we build our new home. They, like we- have five girls including one set of twins. Every year, they kindly invite us to their home for dinner and an evening of visiting. This year, we took them out to dinner, then enjoyed an extended evening at their home; touring the new large addition to their fabric store, snuggling their three-week old grandson, and enjoying a slice of fresh homemade pie! Late in the evening, we said good-bye and called it a night at our quaint hotel in Berlin.
Wednesday morning- Troyer Food Show day! The day dawned bright and sunny! The event was a-buzz with store owners who sell Troyer products all over the nation. Many of the store owners are from the Amish and Mennonite background, and have bulk food stores/ deli’s similar to The Homestead. you can imagine the large, beautiful array of food! Booth after booth showcased specific products all the way from gummy’s, candies, chocolates, meats, cheeses, popcorn, jams & jellies, noodles, soup mixes, and more! We took it all in, and certainly weren’t hungry when we left the show on Wednesday afternoon.
As we left the show, we traveled around Holmes County, taking in a few shops and antique store and eventually exited off the beaten path to more narrow, winding roads for a front-seat view of Amish farmsteads and their way of life. It’s interesting to see rows of colorful dresses freeze-drying on front porches in the frigid winter air. Gardens are still at rest, but soon, the soil will be freshly tilled, seeds planted, and before we know it, the gardens will come alive with colorful flowers and vegetables.
By days’ end, we meandered our way back to town, and stopped at the Berlin Farmstead Restaurant- known for their hospitality and delicious food. The quiet homey atmosphere was nothing short of peace and tranquility. We enjoyed our dinner in quietness and low contented chatter amongst other diners. It was a fun day of nothing too pressing, just relaxation and a chance to let our minds clear for a bit from our busy lives.
Thursday morning we found ourselves heading back to the Farmstead Restaurant for breakfast (Mike’s favorite meal of the day!). As we were seated, we noticed an Amish family dining next to us. At a glance, we noticed that it was Norman & Katie Lehman and three of their grown daughters, along with another Amish couple, who was not familiar to us. Norman & Katie own Dutch country Market in Middlebury, IN, …the home of ‘Katie’s Noodles’, which are the noodles sold at The Homestead! Katie began making noodles years ago, and it turned into quite a large noodle-making business! They now make and supply hundreds of stores with their homemade noodles. Their daughters have taken over most of the noodle-making now, and when we visit their shop in Middlebury, we often take time to watch them rolling, cutting and drying the noodles through their viewing window! It’s a fun process to watch! Yes, our noodles (Katie’s Noodles) are truly homemade by the Amish themselves! -and we know Katie!
We had a little extra time before we left town, so we ended up stopping in Mount Eaton, OH at The Red Tomato Market. We’ve visited there before, and know the owners of that shop, Steve & Miriam Swartzentruber. Mike caught up with Steve while I shopped the store.
Time got away from us, and by early afternoon, we were on the road headed north about 30 minutes to visit our daughter Leandra, and husband Kevin! We spent a relaxing afternoon- Mike with Kevin on their dairy farm doing some repairs, while Leandra and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen! Catching up, and doing something I haven’t done in a long time! …making pie crusts! I guess it’s too easy for me to get my pie crusts from The Homestead! Haha! Leandra wanted to learn how to make pie crust, so we jumped into that project, and eventually turned out a fresh-baked cherry pie for supper! We experimented with a pork tenderloin on the smoker for supper, and added mashed potatoes with browned butter- something else she’s wanted to learn! It was a precious time, spending the afternoon together, preparing the evening meal. After supper, we attended church services with them in Akron, OH.
Early Friday morning found us on the road headed home. We were glad to take a little break, stopping in Indy at Riley Children’s Hospital to visit the Blume Family.
We arrive home mid-afternoon. As always, it was a relaxing little vacation- not too far from work, but yet far enough that we could ‘let it all behind’ and enjoy time together.