The Amish Heartland Tour was a pleasant surprise and very informative. My family and I took the Back Roads Tour where we were up close to the Amish community. We drove by countless horse and buggies, homes, farms, schools, grocers, and artisan shops, while enjoying the beautiful countryside of Holmes County. This is a great trip for adults and families alike. My 3 and 5 year olds both enjoyed it, just bring the car seats. Older kids would enjoy it even more.
The Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center
The Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center is the launching point for the Amish Country Back Roads Tour. This warm and inviting building gives you access to authentic Amish/Mennonite books, and artwork. This location is not simply a tourist attraction, but gives you real access to the culture. Don’t shy away from asking questions, they welcome it.
The highlight of the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center is a stunning 265′ mural in the round, or, cyclorama depicting Amish/Mennonite history. Tour the Behalt Mural yourself, experience a live interpretive tour of the mural, or hit the quick video presentation. There are only 4 cycloramas in North America. This one being in our back yard is a real surprise treat. Read about a brief description of the origin of the cyclorama in Europe here.
The Amish Heartland Tour Bus
The 10-seater van bus was new within the last two years. It was exceptionally clean, adequately comfortable, and provided excellent viewing through the surrounding large windows. We were greeted by our tour guide Mary who was very warm and extremely knowledgeable. She was hired within the past several years after converting from the Amish faith. She now lives mostly main stream, educating others on the Amish traditions, lifestyles, and how they are people first and Amish second.
Tour Sights of Amish Country
The bus tour travels mainly farm roads from northern to central Holmes County. Various aspects of Amish living are pointed out along the tour. The tour was very interactive in that the tour guide started topics, and everyone was eager to ask questions. The Amish way of life is very much a mystery to most of the world and questions are expected when you have such great access to this culture. School houses, phone booths, case houses, purple martin bird houses, retirement living, and more are all discussed in whatever level of detail is demanded by the tourists.
Topics Discussed on the Amish Tour
The casual tour was small enough for everyone to freely ask questions of the tour guide. Sect variation, language, education, religion, funerals, electricity, solar power, windmills, loyalty, shunning, wealth, transportation, rumspringa, and communication are all topics that are covered in the two hour tour. Many myths were dispelled and mysteries uncovered.
Amish Heartland Tour Stops
The tours typically stop at two places during the 2-hour tour. Stops rotate daily. We stopped at an Amish home where baskets are sold, secretly to the tour. The Amish family makes baskets comparable to the selection and style of Longaberger Baskets. Other items for sale included home made jams, jellies, candies, and canned items, at reasonable prices.
The 2nd stop was R.W. Leather. They specialize in leather waist belts; there were hundreds for work, dress, and casual. Other items included belt buckles, harness leather, embossed items, wallets, key chains, and slippers. The leather shop was behind the counter and visible.
Amish Heartland Tours
There are several tours to choose from. Some tours include dinner in an Amish home, buggy ride, tour of one-room school house, or visit a working barn. There is even an Amish Overnight Experience. Each tour stops at various Amish Artisans’ small businesses. Prices range from $30 – 75 per person. Kids are based on age.
Contact Information and Hours:
Amish Heartland Tours
P.O. Box 462
Berlin, OH 44610
Tours are available Monday – Saturday at various times.
This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Amish Heartland Tours for the tour for review.