8/18/17 to 8/24/17
Friday 8/18/17 and Saturday 8/19/17 We left Hocking Hills around 11:00 and drove to Leith Run Campground which is near Marietta, Ohio. A short 100-mile drive. We had plans to camp in Millersburg, Ohio on the 20th and needed somewhere to stay for two nights. Leith Run Campground is in the Wayne National Forest and right on the Ohio River. It's a state run campground with no water or sewer but we did have electricity. I picked this campground just because of its location. Not because there was something we wanted to see or do close by. We just planned on relaxing for the two nights we were here. The only thing we did one day was drive around the back roads of southeast Ohio. The campground was nice but since it was a weekend it was pretty busy. Not only was it a campground but it was also a recreational area. There were a couple pavilions that were full of parties on Saturday. Plus, since it was out in the middle of nowhere, there was no cell phone service. No cell phone service means no internet. I know a lot of people like to get away from it all but we don't like being disconnected.
Sunday 8/20/17 We left Leith Run Campground around 10:00 AM and headed to Millersburg, Ohio. Just 120 miles away. Wendy wanted to camp with us for a couple days somewhere close to home and suggested this area. I tried to find a nice wooded campground but the closest state park is an hour away. So I ended up reserving a site for four nights at The Scenic Hills RV Park. It's in a convenient area to what we want to see, but there is absolutely no shade anywhere. Once we got set up we ran into Millersburg for food and fuel. On the way back we took some of the back roads to see this area's farmland.
Monday 8/21/17 I spent most of the morning studying pamphlets from the area looking for things to do. Wendy and Faith showed up around 1:00 PM and we walked around the campground to show it to them. I know that I said I like state-run campgrounds but after one night here it seems pretty nice. There are two different sections to the campgrounds. The top section looked like it was full of seasonal or long-term trailers. That section is all gravel. The lower section, where we were, had nice grassy areas between the trailers. The park is also very well maintained. There was a crew of Mennonite girls cutting grass, weed whipping and landscaping all morning. Plus the campground is located right next to a sawmill and they dump their waste wood in two different piles in the campground. We had an unlimited supply of free hardwood to burn in our campfire. For dinner, we wanted to experience some Amish style cooking so we drove to The Amish Door in Wilmot, OH. The Amish Door is a very popular place in this area that also offers baked goods, lodging, shopping, and events. It is a nice place and we did enjoy our dinner but to us, it just felt a lot like a Cracker Barrel. Another option for a real Amish dinner is to actually go to an Amish home. We saw a couple of advertisements for these dinners but you need to make reservations weeks in advance.
Tuesday 8/22/17 Our first stop today was at The Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center. We wanted to learn more about the faith, culture, and lifestyle of the Amish and Mennonites and this was the place to go. The main draw here is the Behalt Cyclorama. It's a 10' tall x 265' long cyclorama, or mural-in-the-round that illustrates the heritage of the Amish and Mennonite people from their Anabaptist beginnings in Zürich, Switzerland in 1525 to the present day. There was an Amish guide that pointed out and explained all the events on the mural. There is also a small museum to walk through with lots of displays and articles and an Amish schoolhouse and barn to see. We spent a couple hours here.
After visiting the Heritage Center we drove around the area looking at the Amish farmland. There are over 36,000 Amish that live in this area and a lot of local businesses cater to them. It was interesting to see parking spaces for Amish Buggies. The local Walmart even had a covered area for the Amish to park their horse and buggy. Later in the evening, we stopped to eat at a local pizza restaurant.
Wednesday 3/23/17 We searched the area for a place we could do some hiking and found the Wilderness Center in Wilmot, Ohio. Checking online they had a couple hiking areas. Once we got there we found out that The Wilderness Center is more of an educational park than a place to hike. They have a large building where they hold programs for the children in the local community. There's a lake with a trail around it and a couple other nature walks but what we didn't know is that they do not allow dogs on these trails. But we did find a short trail across the street where we could take Faith. It wasn't much of a hike, just a mowed path through the trees and grass but enough for Faith since she's getting too old to walk very far. There are a couple pictures below of where we parked the car. What looks like a roof is actually a large array of solar panels that they use to help power the building. After the short hike, we headed back to the trailer to drop off Faith.
After we left Faith in the trailer we took a trip to Yoder's Amish Home. The home and farm were a great place to learn more about the Amish. There was a 40 minute guided tour through two different homes, a schoolhouse and a barn on the property. The guide explained a great deal about the history and lifestyle of the Amish people. After traveling around the area we had lots of questions and the guide was glad to answer them all. After the tour, we even got to take a buggy ride. I'm glad we stopped here because we learned so much more than we did at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center.
After we toured the farm we made a stop at Sugarcreek Ohio. It's a small town that's called "The Little Switzerland of Ohio". A lot of the buildings in town have a Swiss Chalet style to them and it's home to the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock. There wasn't much to see in town but we did hang around until the top of the hour to watch the cuckoo clock. It has large figures that move out of the clock and play instruments and two figures on the left side dance around.
We also stopped at a couple Amish or Mennonite owned stores in the area. There are lots of cheese houses and furniture stores around here. Then back to the trailer to roast hot dogs around the fire.
Thursday 8/24/17 A couple things that I learned about the Amish: There are Old Order Amish and New Order Amish. I was a little confused as we drove around because we saw a farmer plowing a field with a team of horses but his neighbor was using a tractor. What I understand is that this is an individual choice. Some Amish want to live a basic simple life.
Amish houses can use solar panels to generate electricity. We noticed a lot of Amish homes with solar panels on the roof or mounted in the yard. Amish will not connect to "The Grid" but solar panels are fine. The solar panels are used mostly for lighting purposes since lanterns pose a fire risk. They also use generators to run some appliances such as washing machines.
Amish do not get driver's licenses but since no license is required for a tractor they will use one for transportation for short distances. They will also use a tractor and wagon sometimes instead of a horse and buggy.
The Amish will also use bicycles instead of horses. We saw so many Amish riding bicycles everywhere. Even the older farmer that gave us the buggy ride told me he rides a bike over four miles every day to work at the Yoder home.
The Amish women do not just take care of the house and children. We saw so many women outside using lawn mowers and motorized string trimmers.
There was a large flea market just up the road from the campground that is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Since check out time at the campground was 11:00 we went out for breakfast and then walked around the flea market for an hour or so before packing up and heading home.
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