Buggies and Beyond

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Doyle Yoder

There are so many things to do in Holmes County that a visitor may

not know where to start. That’s why the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau has created a variety of themed “trails” to help guests plan their visits, said Tiffany Gerber, executive director of the chamber.

“We’ve identified some trails based on the calls and interests people inquire about at our office,” Gerber explained. “For example, we have a thrifting and antique trail because a lot of people who come here like to go to the thrift shops. We have some wonderful shops mapped out on postcards for them to follow. And most people will add their own stops along the way.”

The “Do It Yourself” trail includes compelling retailers like Lehman’s Hard- ware and Keim Lumber while a culinary- themed trail includes wine, cheese, coffee and chocolate shops.

“And, of course, we have our literal trail — the Holmes County Trail — which is open year round for bicycle enthusiasts and walkers,” Gerber said.

Whether you’re visiting quaint shops or peddling through nature, Holmes County offers a diversity of compelling experiences with and without traditional Amish themes, Gerber said.

“A lot of people come to take in the Amish lifestyle, but the Holmes County experience goes beyond buggies,” she said. “You can come and visit a farm and feed animals, and by that evening you can have a farm-to-table dinner in downtown Millersburg with a glass of cider and do a million things in between that maybe you

didn’t expect. You might see a live show or walk an open air art trail or rent an e-bike and explore the back roads. We truly have something for every age and something for every interest.”

Surprisingly, for some visitors, even on Sundays.

“Downtown Millersburg is active on Sundays,” Gerber said. “We call it the ‘tiques,’ meaning antiques and boutiques, and many of those shops are open on Sundays. You can complete your visit with dinner at one of Millersburg’s restaurants and pubs. There also are some pizza shops with Sunday hours in Berlin.”

The Amish Country Theater in Berlin and the nearby Ohio Star Theater in Sugar- creek offer live, wholesome, family appropriate entertainment. Starting Wednesday, May 15, Ohio Star Theater will present “Ruth,” the first Amish Sight & Sound production offered between Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Branson, Missouri. The multimedia Sight & Sound productions bring powerful stories from scripture and history to the stage and screen.

“Sight & Sound is one of the most popular attractions in Pennsylvania Amish country,” Gerber said. “For the first time ever, they’re letting one of their shows play at another theater.”

For those who enjoy perusing museums, the Victorian House and Museum and the David Warther Carvings Museum are two interesting attractions.

Meanwhile, visitors who wish to delve into the history of the Amish culture may want to make the “Behalt” cyclorama at the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Millersburg their first stop, Gerber said.

“When somebody walks in our door and says they aren’t familiar with the Amish heritage, that’s where we send them to get a complete overview of who the Amish are, how they worship and how they live,” she said. “Now, because of a new partnership between the chamber and the Amish Heritage Center, you can find a lot of other Holmes County and Amish Country tourist information there as well. Our new tourist information center is located right inside the public area of ‘Behalt.’”

“Behalt” is a 10-by-265-foot circular oil-on-canvas mural that explains the history of the Amish and Mennonite people going back to the Reformation in the early 1550s.

“It takes visitors panel by panel to the creation of the Anabaptist religion during the Reformation, through their persecution by the Catholic and Protestant churches, their movement around Europe, how they arrived in and moved through America, and transitions into who they are today — what their daily life is like, what their worship is like and what their education is like,” Gerber said. “It’s a visual timeline that tells the Amish story in 30 minutes or less.”

To get a trail map or find more information about Holmes County, you can visit the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau at 6 W. Jackson St. in Millersburg. You also can visit HolmesCountyChamber.com.