Ohio Amish Country: It’s About Life…Plain & Simple

The Amish community is a living reminder of the principles of religious freedom that helped shape America

What comes to mind when you think of Amish country? A slower pace, rolling landscapes, quaint shops, comfort food, black buggies, and the clip-clop of horse hooves.

The first notable group of Amish arrived in America around 1730 and settled near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Today the largest concentration of Amish is in Holmes and neighboring counties in Ohio. Located in the rolling hills of east-central Ohio, it is easy to find via I-77 to the east, I-71 to the west, and I-70 to the south.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A relaxing drive in Amish Country reveals scenic vistas and charming vignettes of a simpler time and place. It is basically a living history museum of how life was 100 years ago.

Every bend in the road brings a new and delightful surprise: dense woodlands one minute, panoramic views the next; a sudden glimpse of Amish kids bouncing on a front-yard trampoline; a flock of chickens crossing the road.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Drive slowly on these back roads. Livestock lurks in unexpected places. And there’s a steady stream of people, too—on bikes, or in buggies, or just walking down the road. 

Related: A Window into a Unique World: Amish Life along the Heritage Trail

Honest, friendly, and hard-working describe the people of the area, where thousands come to experience a break from the hustle and bustle of today’s world.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Holmes County has bakeries, cheese houses, wineries, quilt and craft shops, and 80 hardwood furniture stores.

The clip-clop of horse hooves is a familiar sound in the historic town of Millersburg, founded in 1815. Millersville, the Holmes County seat, sits on the bank of Killbuck Creek and is home to 3,500 residents. Along with Berlin and Walnut Creek, Millersville makes up the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

October couldn’t offer a more perfect time to visit Holmes County. Of course, Amish Country’s pastoral landscape, complete with one-room schoolhouses and white picket fences, ambling black buggies and Belgian horses pulling plows in the fields, makes for scenery worthy of a postcard at any time of year.

But the burst of vibrant foliage on display here in autumn—countless species of leaves brandishing every shade of the rainbow, colorful treetops rising from the hills like upturned paintbrushes—serves up vistas that make both the Amish people and their surroundings seem transplanted from another century.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Amish settled in this region of Ohio because it reminded them of their European homelands. They made their living primarily through agriculture, but today the Amish cottage industry is growing. The area has a large concentration of hardwood furniture builders.

Related: Amish Country Heritage Trail

Heini’s Cheese Chalet, Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They’re also a huge producer of cheese, especially Swiss cheese, with several of their cheese houses using only locally produced Amish milk. A visit to Heini’s Cheese Chalet, home of the original Yogurt Cultured Cheese, or Guggisberg Cheese, home of the Original Baby Swiss provides a glimpse into how cheese is made. Plus, at Heini’s you can sample more than 70 types of cheese, purchase Amish foods, smoked meats, fudge, and more while Guggisberg offers 60 varieties of cheese with all the accompaniments.

Guggisberg’s Cheese, Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Housed in a charming Victorian home where comfortable rocking chairs beckon visitors, the Coblentz Chocolate Company is a destination for locals and visitors to Ohio’s Amish Country. A viewing gallery makes it possible for guests to see firsthand how the staff makes chocolates and other sweet treats the old-fashioned way. More than 60,000 pounds are produced annually at the family-owned business that has a second retail location in Berlin.

Related: Experience a Different Way of Life along the Amish Country Byway

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many farms have a small business attached, catering more to Amish needs than to tourists’ taste. There’s even an Amish Maytag repairman who specializes in fixing washers that run on gas.

Enjoy beautiful scenery, visit an Amish farm, savor homemade foods, and listen for the clip-clop of a horse and buggy, the most common sight in an Amish community. Shop for handmade quilts, artwork, and furniture in Millersburg, Berlin, or Walnut Creek.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There is so much more to see and do in this beautiful and historic area. Take time to explore this great county in beautiful Ohio. You’ll be glad you did.

Worth Pondering…

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you miss the sense of where you’re going and why.

—Eddie Cantor