We've reached the middle of October and that means we have reached the best time of the year here in Ohio's Amish Country! The traffic count on the local roads traveling through Berlin, Walnut Creek, and Mt Hope would indicate folks in the northeast are aware of this as well. The smells of Mrs Miller's Homemade Apple Butter and Pumpkin Butter simmering in the kettle seems to be almost a daily staple at this point, as we try to keep up with visitors from Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh and really all parts of the eastern United States flocking into our local markets and bulk food stores. These visitors also enjoy scoring local apple cider, pumpkins, straw bales, and baked goods.
What is it that makes this such a great time of year? The weather this time of year is absolutely perfect. The hot September days have transitioned to crisp cool mornings that give way to sunny afternoons. The sunrises & sunsets seem more prominent with vibrant pinks and oranges. The greatest part of the season though, and the area's biggest draw is the fall foliage. Our rural farming community with its rolling hills and trees create stunning views at every turn.. The back roads of Amish Country always create beautiful views no matter the season, but much more so now that the trees have begun their annual changes in color. Now every gravel back road is a journey through a vibrant painting, with all shades of oranges and reds on every side. Whether you choose to take a slow drive, bike ride, run or hike through the area, you will feel compelled to stop and survey the splendor, giving thanks to God the Creator for creating these masterpieces for our enjoyment. At times there is almost an urgency to do so in an effort to take it all in for the longest possible time, knowing that right behind this perfect season, looms the season of snow, slush and cold. Locals that are not out enjoying autumn activities such as hiking, hunting and cycling find themselves in this same urgency, trying to complete outdoor projects before the temperatures drop. This past weekend over 400 local Amish folks gathered to raise a barn in a single day. Others busied themselves with yard projects and other outdoor odds and ends. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite routes in case you find yourself in this beautiful area in the upcoming weeks.
Here are 3 of our favorite scenic back roads in Ohio's Amish Country for those looking to take in the fall foliage:
1. Township Road 366 between County Road 77 in Berlin and 515 in Walnut Creek. This road follows the scenic Goose Creek area. You will need to cross over to Township Road 406 at the halfway point to follow Goose Creek all the way to 515. This road has beautiful farms on both sides, and at times is almost entirely covered by a canopy of trees. Start at the Amish & Mennonite Information Center on County Rd 77 to begin this route.
2. County Highway 68 between Millersburg and Sautillo. This is a short winding county road with a good amount of elevation. Folks on this road will be treated to scenic views in a largely wooded area. Keep your eyes on the road though in case an oncoming cyclist is coming around the next turn. Start at the Jitters Coffee Shop in Millersburg to begin this route.
3. Rails to Trails from Fredericksburg to Killbuck. Keep in mind this is not open to vehicles, but if walking or cycling is your thing, this is a real treasure. The route is flat and other than occasional road crossings there is no danger or distraction of road traffic. You are free to take in the trees on both sides, as well as the wildlife that makes their home in the marshes and wetlands along this route. Park at the park next to the Fredericksburg Elementary School to begin this route.
Ohio's Amish Country is filled with beautiful landscapes filled with fields, meadows, and trees, and there are so many wonderful back road routes to try out. Whether you try out any of the routes above or choose to do your own exploring, you will be sure to take in incredible views while in this wonderful area. And if you're out and about in the afternoons or evenings you may even run into us, after our day of cooking up jams, jellies, and butters is complete here in the Mrs Miller's kitchen!
(Photos taken by local photographer Randy Fath)