Monday, August 25, 2008


Monday morning our cousin Louise and her husband Steve
met Cheryl and I at our motel (I have to put in a good word
for the Comfort Inn in Dover, Ohio. Nice place, and I could
really get into the idea of continental breakfasts for the rest
of my life.) Louise had sent us an email before the trip with
some of the local points of interest and we'd picked a trip to
Yoder's Amish Home, an Amish working farm that gives tours
of the site. Louise and Steve had a few other ideas as well so
he plan was to sightsee a bit and then go out to Aunt Dot's
house that night for a family dinner.

Now I need to back track a little here. A few days before the
trip I'd twisted or pulled something in my knee so I spent
most of the trip limping and dreading walking up or down
stairs. The ironic part was that once I was up and moving on
it, it was less painful. So my mobility was not what it usually
is for some of the trip. PlusI'm not a big fan of stairs.

Steve drove while we caught up a little on family news. We
passed the spot where my Dad's car had broken down near a
brick factory on a visit back in the 70's that I'd missed while
spending the summer as a camp counselor. Cheryl pointed
out the spot where they'd sat while waiting for it to be
repaired. Once again I was impressed by the scenery:
meadows or corn fields stretching over rolling hills, herds of
cows and horses. And this was the heart of Holmes County
with the largest Amish population in the country. We saw
some in the traditional horse and buggys but there were
also Amish men riding bicycles. I am still wondering how
they keep their hats on!

We got to Yoder's at around 11am. They offer guided tours
and/or buggy rides for a price and have a giftshop which we
browsed in while waiting for our tour to begin. Our guide was
an older Amish woman dressed in traditional Amish clothes
and once we were all assembled she led us up to the two
old houses that were open to the public. We paused by the
garden before we entered the older house which was built
about the time that my ancestors John Cutter West and
Arvilla Ames were married and starting a family back in
Maine. I was struck by the thought that their home might
have resembled this Amish home in many ways while
differing in others due to the Maine climate and other factors.
We then walked down a steep flight of stairs from the porch
to make our way over to the "new" house.

Did I mention that I hate stairs?

The second house was built around the 1860's and is a bit
larger. Some adaptations had been made to modern technology,
such as battery powered lights. The house also is the farm
bakery and there was bread and cookies being made even as
we took the tour. While the rest of the group went up another
steep flight of stairs, I went back out onto the front porch
and talked a bit with another tourist, a lady from West Virginia,
as we watched two hawks circling above the fields near the
buggy ride. Then the group came back downstairs and we
joined them in the summer kitchen where I bought a peanut
butter cookie and a brownie to snack on later.

The house tour concluded, we made out way over to the barn
where some of the others in our group discovered that barns,
being what they are, smell. There were sheep, pigs, goats,
ducklings, puppies and horses of various sizes and ages,
including two huge workhorses that looked like they'd put a
lot of work in at plowing over the years. Outside there were
several dogs and puppies a kitten, and one cat that had
greeted us on our arrival as we stepped out of the car by
allowing us to pet it as humans are supposed to pet cats.
There was also a tom turkey with his hen and if one of the
group got too close the tom would puff out his chest and
spread his tail feathers which made him a perfect ad for
Thanksgiving dinner. A Spanish lady seemed determined
to pat him but eventually gave up after much puffing and
hissing from the bird.

All in all, it was an interesting tour and I recommend it for
any of my readers who might be in the Holmes County area.
But our day wasn't over yet and we were off to our next
destination: lunch!

To be continued.....

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