The thing that stinks about growing up is that weekends are not always free. If, for instance, you decide to go camping with friends, one person can't get Friday off and all of you have different jobs to do at church on Sunday, and commitments Saturday morning. In fact, that's exactly what happened when we tried to go to camping with friends of ours recently. It just wasn't going to work out (we will try again but plan out WAY in advance). We thought of a few Plan B options, and Amish country came up.
I didn't know until we moved here that about 30 miles from Cleveland is one of the largest Amish communities in the nation. Did you? So it's been on our Cleveland to-do list for awhile, and that non-camping Saturday proved the perfect afternoon for the task.
The first stop we made was to a tourist center, where we picked up dozens of brochures to get info on where things were.
The next thing we did was go to Middlefield Cheese, which is a huge cheese factory with a little shop with fun things. We enjoyed samples (and regretted not packing a cooler because this cheese was both cheap and DELICIOUS but it would have gone bad) and browsed the store.
I wanted to get these just because I thought they were neat, but I didn't. I think they would have worked just like those little marshmallows in hot chocolate though!
This is an Amish buggy with a fake horse. I guess that's obvious, huh?
We stopped by a little store with pastries and handmade items like these amazing quilts. The one with the diamond pattern next to Carrie was $1900 and said it took over a year to make. Needless to say, we bought one in each color.
We drove around for awhile, having been given maps that told us conflicting directions. It turned out that we should have arrived in Amish country much earlier than we did, since most businesses opened at 7am and closed around 4. We still got to see fun sights and it felt a little bit like we were in a different world.
This impressive horse and buggy were next on our little tour. The sign said that the wheels are 7 feet tall.
We enjoyed this general store afterward. There were bulk spices, soaps, fudge, sodas, trinkets... even penny candy!
Oh, and the parking at all of these places included spots for horses.
We stopped at Mary Yoder's for dinner. This shirt seemed especially appropriate for Carson, given that he wanted to attend Notre Dame and since we stopped by there on our move last year.
We found bonnets and tried them on. I couldn't keep a straight face and when I did, I just looked angry.
Everything was closed by that point (it was probably 6pm), so we took a departure and stopped at a winery on the way back for Carson's and my first wine tasting. It was fun!
It wasn't camping, but it was a great day getting to know our friends a little better and a day full of new experiences! Looking forward to the camping trip that WILL happen (we are now discussing a cabin in the winter which is kind of the same thing) and to more adventures!