One more road story from 2003 -- when gasoline was cheap and diesel even cheaper. The good old days for RVers.
We arrived in Berlin Ohio just a couple of days after our week in Amana (previous post). While Amana had been very interesting as a kind of living museum, this was even better because Berlin, in Holmes County, is the heart of Amish Country. And so we learned a little bit about a way of life that was new to us. .
Our RV Park was owned by a friendly Mennonite family who told us a lot about the culture and gave us good ideas for places to visit. We learned that today Holmes County Ohio, rather than Pennsylvania, actually has the largest population of Amish people in the US, as well as a large population of Mennonites.
At the Behalt Historical Center we learned about the culture and some of the history. There is a cyclorama painting at the Center that shows the history. The Amish originated from the Anabaptist movement of the early 1500s in Switzerland. Jacob Amman, who believed in conserving traditions and in separation from the world, led a split from the Swiss Mennonites Brethren in 1693. Since they arrived in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s, they have continued to lead a simple lifestyle in accordance with their religious beliefs
Most Amish people do not believe in using electricity. We visited Lehman's, a well-known hardware store that caters to their needs. (Non-electric washing machines, many hand tools). It is interesting just to drive by the farms and homesteads and realize that there are no electric wires along the street. (And, of course, to see the horse and buggies parked in the yards.)
There are phone booths where Amish people can leave notes if they need to go somewhere that is too far by horse and buggy. There are "English" people who offer this service. (To the Amish, "English" means anyone that is not Amish or Mennonite.) A good book by someone who has done such driving for years is "Driving the Amish" by Jim Butterfield.
We had great luck buying fresh produce from Amish family-owned roadside stands. At one of these, a little girl of about ten years old took our money and made change quite well. She said she did not go to school, but helped her mother and dad on their farm. A friendly fellow who owned another stand where we went several times was very interested in the truck. This was before we realized he could have ridden in it. If we had known, Bill said he would have offered him a ride.
We enjoyed our time in Holmes County. It's beautiful country and interesting to learn about another culture.
We wouldn't even begin to say that we understand everything about the Amish people, but we know for sure that the price of gas isn't bothering them as much as it is "the English."