The hamlet of BERLIN is one of the busiest in all of Holmes County. Before the Amish became the main attraction, Berlin was known for being the first village settled, in the early 1810's. These early settlers found fertile soil and an abundant water supply necessarey for plowing and planting their crops.
Berlin has grown commercially. Main Street is lined with craft and specialty shops, offering everything from antiques, and furniture to dolls, quilts, pottery and folk art. Numerous bed-and-breakfast establishments have sprung up in recent years, while a variety of restaurants offer traditional Amish cooking, pies and pastries.
All in all, I find Berlin and the surrounding Holmes County a very charming place to visit.
After we toured the Behalt and the Amish and Mennonite Cultural Center, we also toured their one-room Amish Schoolhouse
Our visit to a one-room Amish school was led by Mark, an Amish teacher working summers as a guide to the school. He teaches in one of the 155 Amish one-room schools in Holmes County. His 23 students ranged from first to eighth grade, using a practical curriculum. He liked the fact that he had the same students year after year, even his own children.
After 4th grade, reading was intergrated into the curriculum rather than teaching it as a class. He showed us the textbooks that he uses, and we "chatted" about the differences and similarities of our teaching experiences, finding much in common.
What a delight it was for two retired teachers to converse with a young Amish teacher for about 30 minutes, relating our mutual love of children and teaching. I think that we sparked his interest when we told him about our retirement system in Illinois!
The school tour can be added on to the Behalt tour for a small fee, and it is well worth it.
Monday-Saturday 9-5 year round
June-October: Friday and Saturday until 8
CANNOT TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS INSIDE BEHALT (my photos inside are post cards)
This entry was written by Jill Martin, who traveled with me to Ohio
"Always travel off season! We two were the only guests at our visit to the Amish & Mennonite Cultural Center which began with a video about Amish-Mennonite life & followed by a tour of THE BEHALT (meaning "to keep"), a cyclorama completed in 1993 by artist, Heinz Gangel.
The circular mural (10-feetX265-feet) depicted the history of Christianity from the Cruxifiction to the Viet Nam War, telling the story of the ANABAPTIST FAITHS, including the Amish, Mennonites, Brethren, & Hutterites.
The first of these people were the Waldensians in the 12th c AD. Their story is shown in reds and oranges, symbolic of their persecution. Early Protestants, Wycliff & Luther, were shown in Zurich, and the first adult baptisms of 1525 led to martyrdom for early Anabaptists (re-or adult baptisers).
Mennonites were led by Jacob Menno in 1536 from Germany and Switzerland to Holland. In 1683, after a concord with Quaker William Penn, they left Holland for Pennsylvania. In 1693 Amish and Mennonites separated over the concept of "shunning". Some Dutch Mennonites went to the Ukraine; these later left Russia for Northern US & Canada, and their trip is depicted.
Toward the end of the visitor's circular walk about the room, contemporary Anabaptist heroes, Daniel Gerber & Ruth Wilting, were killed in 1963 while helping the sick in Vietnam. This happened to many of the Historic non-violent faiths. This past year, Amish volunteered to rebuild New Orleans. The churches of the non-violent faiths today have 1.2 million members in 63 countries.
The style of the cyclorama enables so much to be contained in the space by painting in a transparent technique one scene over another so that a man's legs can be seen over a college building for instance.
Our cyclorama tour was directed by a knowledeable and personable Mennonite man."
There is a wonderful gift shop here also.
DO NOT TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE AMISH PEOPLE: I used a brochured photo for this tip.
While in the Berlin, Ohio, area in Holmes County, be sure to visit an Amish home and farm. A good one to select would be Yoder's Amish Home. There is a 116 Acre farm where you can see a working kitchen, take a buggy ride with an Amish driver, tour two homes (1866 Amish Home and 10-room present day home) with local guides; for children, there is a farm animal petting. There is also a gift shop with handcrafted dolls and other gifts. At the bakery, you can purchase "goodies"
New in 2004 is the tour of a one room school house.
There are covered picnic areas if you wish to have a picnic lunch.
Yoder's Amish Home was not opened to the public until 1983. The guides give the history and customs of the Amish as well as an explanation of the faith.
Open: mid-April through October
$2.00 children 12 & under
Buggy rides $2.50 adults, $2 children
Total Tour takes between 1-2
While visiting Holmes County, Ohio, be sure to go to beautiful Millersburg to tour Victorian House Museum run by the Homes County Historical Society.
This 28 room Queen Anne style home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and once you see it, you will know why it is a museum.
NOTE: YOU CANNOT TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS INSIDE SO PURCHASE POST CARDS. MY INSIDE VIEWS ARE POST CARDS
This lovely Victorian home was built in 1902 and was restored between 1971-1974. Its huge front door is 8 feet by 4 feet and is called a "funeral door"! The ceilings are 10 feet tall, and there are 97 windows in the house. Steam heat is used via the original radiators, but there is a new boiler.
The house is 6,000 square feet large, and the light fixtures in the house were designed to operate on gas and electric. Since most of the original furniture was sold at an auction.
Millersburg Glass is displayed because it was produced several blocks to the north of the house for a short time around 1909 (considered "Queen" of carnival glass).
This home served at one time (1907) as a sanitarium! In 1909, the home was sold to the Lee family, and the hyoungest Lee daughter (Lena) lived there until 1971, living the last 30 years of her life in just two rooms!
In the third picture, you see the lovely "white oak staircase that features 78 hand turned spindles and carved acorn finials. It was designed in Europe and then brough here and assembled by one of the craftsmen". In the parlor is a gorgeous hand painted ceiling with original plaster roses and a square piano..
You take a self-guided tour of all 28 rooms, even the basement. There's a third floor ballroom, leaded stained glass windows, rich fabrics and gleaming wood...just marvelous.
Under 12 FREE
I had read but did not understand until I experienced the fact that Berlin (pronounce it BER-lin) is, indeed, the busiest spot in all of Holmes County.
Before the Amish became a popular attraction, Berlin was remembered as the "first village settled in the early 1810s in Holmes County". Also, it was the location of the first factory in Holmes County (Braden and Hassock Farm Implement and Iron Company).
Berlin, Ohio, was named after Berlin, Germany. Early settlers discovered the fertile soil, natural spring water, and water sources for power from a sawmill and gristmill.
NOTE: Do not take photos of Amish except from the back.
Today (because of the interest in the Amish and Mennonite communities), tourist shops are abundant...antiques, quilts, pottery, furniture, folk art, and dolls, to name a few. Also available are bed-and-breakfast establishments and "down home" restaurants.
The Amish Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania settled in both Tuscarawas and Holmes Counties. Today, Jill and I noticed that Holmes County remains an "Anglo" community, most originating in central and northern Europe (Switzerland, Germany, and France).
Even though Berlin is busy, there is still a "pastoral quality" prevails.