Monday, February 28, 2011

Deals and Steals in Amish Country Ohio

This is a tough ecomomy and people are turning to sites like Groupon, Living Social, etc., for deals and steals for food, lodging, attractions, and services.  If you would like to visit Amish Country Ohio, one award-winning bed and breakfast has come up with their own "Groupon"-like deal:
Sale Dates: February 28, 2011 - March 6, 2011
Offer: 2 nights in the luxurious, Garden Gate Suite (Jacuzzi & Fireplace) plus a Welcome Package that includes a Cheese & Cracker Plate, a Bottle of Wine, a Box of Chocolates, and a Vase of Flowers specially chosen by your innkeepers.
Price: $299.99 (regular $504)
Terms:   We will sell a maximum of 50 offers; Limit one offer per household; Payment in full is due at the time you order this offer; You may redeem this offer April 1, 2011-April, 30 2012 (excludes October); Once you make your reservation all regular cancellation polices, smoking policies, pet policies, and other policies apply like any other reservation.
How To Purchase: You must order by telephone.  Call Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast at 330-674-7608.  You will receive an email confirming the offer and then we will mail you a voucher/gift certificate to present when you redeem the offer to show that you are pre-paid.
Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, an Ohio bed and breakfast,  is best known for their evening campfires and beautiful flower gardens.  They are centrally located in Holmes County, Ohio, close to dining, attractions, shopping, museums, golf, wineries, and more!
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Friday, February 25, 2011

10 Myths About the Amish from Holmes County Ohio

Every year people visit Holmes County, Ohio where the largest Amish Community in the World lives.  Many of them have misconceptions about how the Amish live.  The following are 10 myths that the owners of Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast get asked about by their guests:

  1. Amish marriages are arranged.  False.  Amish young adults date just like the rest of the world does (but they may not go to the same kind of places)
  2. Amish don't drink alcohol.  False.  Some Amish do drink alcohol.  In fact the grape arbors on their property are not just for making jelly but wine.  You probably won't find them in a bar chugging a beer, but some Amish do drink.
  3. Amish don't pay taxes.  False.  The Amish are NOT exempt from paying income tax, personal property tax, or other taxes that the rest of us pay.
  4. Amish cannot have anything to do with electricity.  False.  The Amish do not have electricity in their homes, however if they have a job in the secular world that has electricity they can use the electricity.  Not having electricity is part of what separates them from the rest of the world.
  5. Amish won't have anything to do with cars.  False.  The Amish won't own a car or even drive a car. The Amish may hire a driver to take them to the hospital or doctor or to work.  Some Amish will hire a driver to take them to a family wedding/funeral in another state.  Not owning cars is another way to separate themselves from the world, which is what the Bible says in Romans.
  6. Amish don't eat potato chips or junk food, they only eat what they grow or raise on the farm. False.  Amish are just people and if you enjoy chips and soda pop then so do the Amish.
  7. Amish have an 8th grade education and are not very smart.  False.  Think about it...Amish schools do not have sports, proms or other extra curricular activities.  Amish homes don't have TV, computers, video games, etc.  Thus, school is for learning and evenings without electricity are often spent reading.  Amish do have newspapers and keep up with current and world events too.
  8. Amish only use outhouses; no indoor toilets or plumbing.  False.  There are still Amish communities that use outhouses but many Amish have indoor plumbing and flushing toilets.
  9. Amish cannot travel away from their community.  False.  They cannot travel by airplane or cruise ship.  That being said they will hire a driver or buy a bus ticket for more than work and doctor appointments.  Some of the Amish in Holmes County, Ohio, travel to Florida in the winter for a vacation.
  10. Amish don't use telephones.  False.  The world is changing and the use of telephones in an Amish community is changing too.  Some Amish have no phones.  Others share a phone that is located in a booth in their church district or community.  Some Amish have cell phones for work but not personal use.
The information shared is based on an innkeeper experience in Holmes County, Ohio, with the Amish in their area.  Not all Amish communities in the USA follow the same practices.  When you visit Amish Country in Ohio you can take a back roads tour that will teach you more about their culture and customs.

Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Old Fashioned Sleigh Rides Enhance A Visit to Holmes County Ohio

Looking for something special to do on your next visit to Holmes County, Ohio?  This winter you can take an old fashioned, horse drawn sleigh ride.  If you have ever visited the area in the winter you will see the Amish traveling in sleighs with runners/blades on the bottom.  Many people wonder how they can experience that kind of ride.  There are 2 places where you can get a sleigh ride.  Amish Country Riding Stables takes you on a ride through the Charm countryside.    Another beautiful area is at The Farm at Walnut Creek.  At The Farm you can take a horse drawn, sleigh ride for $25 per person when you make reservations.  It is not recommended to just show up or you may be quite disappointed.  Time and space is limited.  Guests staying at Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast can request a sleigh ride with with the innkeepers and they will make your reservations for you.  Be sure to plan a multiple day stay when you visit Holmes County because there are so many things to do.  You will find fine gifts, flea markets, antiques, cheese factories, chocolate factory, wine, museums, bakeries, Amish culture, and more!
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, 6041 Township Road 310, Millersburg, Ohio 44654.  330-674-7608.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ohio Amish Country Getaway Features Famous Author

You may have visited Holmes County, Ohio, known as the world's largest Amish Community.  You may have even read books about the area by Wanda Brunstetter or Beverly Lewis.  There is another famous author, who is from the area, who writes murder mystery books set in Amish Country.  Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, an Ohio Amish Country getaway, is hosting author, Paul Gaus  March 11-13, 2011.  The weekend getaway is called 'Dinner with an Author' and the book that is featured is called 'Broken English'.

About this book:  The peaceful town of Millersburg, Ohio, in the heart of Ohio Amish Country, is rocked by the vicious murder of one of its citizens at the hands of an itinerant ex-convict.  When a local reporter covering the story ends of dead as well, with the convict already behind bars, suspicion falls on David Hawkins, father of the first victim.  Hawkins is no where to be found, not even among the protective Amish community that had taken him in as one of its own regardless of his shadowy past.

Paul Gaus has written a series of 6 books that are set in Amish Country.  While the books are fiction, the reader will learn many true facts about the area and how the Amish live.  They are quick read books and keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.   Once you have read one book you will want to read all six.  Gaus was born in Ohio and currently lives in Wooster, Ohio with his wife Madonna.  His murder mystery writing started around 1993 with encouragement  from author, Tony Hillerman.

The weekend getaways start on Friday when guests arrive and unwind.  They are free to explore Amish Country during the day on Saturday.  Around 6 p.m. they meet Paul Gaus and have dinner with him, followed by a book talk, and book signing.  "The book talks are casual and you feel like you are meeting with your best friend because Paul Gaus is so personable.", according to Carol Steffey, owner of Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast.  Details and pricing can be found on their website.  One more night's stay and a leisurely breakfast on Sunday morning make the perfect weekend getaway.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Monday, February 14, 2011

Holmes County Ohio Bed and Breakfast Talks About Amish Weddings

If you have been invited to a wedding lately you may hear talk about the expensive flowers, food, bar, band, limousines, clothing.  This is not the case with an Amish wedding.  An innkeeper from a Holmes County Ohio Bed and Breakfast shares what she has learned about Amish weddings:  "When we first moved to the world's largest Amish community we knew almost nothing about the Amish.  One local tour guide shared that in the Old Order Amish church a young couple goes to the Bishop (the head of their church) to discuss their intentions of getting married before they tell family and friends.  She said that the Bishop would talk with/counsel the couple to see if he felt that a marriage would appropriate.  If the Bishop felt the couple was a good match he would set a date to announce at church that the couple was "pledged" to each other.  Meanwhile the girl may have bought herself a bolt of cloth and started sewing herself a new dress to get married in.  The dress would be black or navy and a traditional Amish top/skirt, nothing like the wedding dresses in the outside world.  She explained that the wedding would usually take place within a month of being pledged.  The day of the wedding it all starts with a church service.  The tour guide explained that there would be an hour of singing by the congregation while the couple to be married met with the Bishop.  Next there would be a church service.  She told us that all couples get the same service...nothing personalized for them.  At the end of the service the couple would exchange vows.  After the service there would be a meal that is prepared by family and friends.  She told us that many times the mother of the bride is not at the church service because she is cooking and preparing to serve the meal but that she may come in at the end of the ceremony to see the couple exchange vows.  The couple does have attendants but unlike other bridesmaids/groomsmen there are no fancy clothes or flowers.  In fact their job is to help pass the potluck foods up and down the tables and to help clean up after the meal.  She told us that there would be no 4 or 5 tier cakes but a basket of candy would be passed up and down the tables and each guest would grab a handful of candy.  The noon time meal after the church service would have family, friends, church members, neighbors, etc.  She told us that a 2nd reception would take place in the evening.  She said that all of the single people would meet and this was an opportunity to hook up other couples.  She told us that there would be no flowers, no fancy table settings, no band, no extravagant gifts, etc.  She said that gifts are what we would usually see at a wedding shower...things to start the couple off like towels, pots, glasses, etc.
Today Amish weddings are different.  I met an Amish woman, Mrs. Miller, who told me how things have changed from the time she got married to when her daughters recently married.  Her wedding was much like what the tour guide described.  She told me that when her daughter married that there were flowers and decorations on the tables at the reception.  There was also a decorated wedding cake.  Today there are "wedding wagons" that can be rented to refrigerate salads and those that contain ovens to keep hot foods warm.  Since Amish families are so large it is nothing to find 500-700 people at a wedding.  This means having to rent glasses, plates, silverware, etc.  The bridal table may have candles, flowers, or other decorations at the meal.
If you visit Walnut Creek Cheese, they have a store/section with kitchen gadgets.  You will find a bridal registry table there where the bride-to-be can put items that she would like on the table.  Friends and family can shop their store and take items off of the bridal table to purchase for a wedding gift.
Amish weddings are still very simple, especially compared to non-Amish weddings, but people get very excited about attending them no matter how they have changed over the years."
Guests that stay at Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast in Holmes County, Ohio, can have the innkeepers map out directions to Amish owned businesses and talk with the innkeepers around the nightly campfire to learn more about the Amish culture.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bed and Breakfast Recipes Make Great Valentine Recipes

Check out bed and breakfast recipes and you can come up with a killer Valentine dinner and irresistible dessert.  Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, in Millersburg, Ohio, has a simple, no bake, dessert that many people mistake for cheesecake and it's scrumptious!  Make this for your Valentine and they'll love every bite!

The recipe: Mock Cheesecake Squares
1 can of Vanilla pudding
1 small tub of Cool Whip
12-16 Graham Crackers
1 can Cherry Pie Filling (or your favorite flavor)

How to assemble:
Blend vanilla pudding and Cool Whip and set aside.
Layer a 9x9 baking dish with graham crackers
Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers
Put another layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture
Spread the remaining pudding mixture over the graham crackers
Add one more layer of graham crackers of the pudding mixture.
Top with pie filling and chill before serving.
Make 9 large servings or 16 average servings.
(Image doesn't show the graham cracker layers; Didn't have a good angle picture)
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Berlin Ohio Bed and Breakfast Talks About Amish Education

Amish education is a topic of curiosity for guests at a Berlin, Ohio bed and breakfast.   People are surprised to learn that the Amish in this area go to school through the 8th grade and stop.  Many assume that by not continuing on to high school or college that the Amish are not very educated.  Carol Steffey, owner at Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, near Berlin, Ohio, had an eye-opening experience concerning this myth.  "I took a Naturalist class and a couple of my classmates were Amish young adults.  I was really surprised that before our instructors started teaching that they could hold up a piece of bark or a leaf and our Amish classmates knew the tree.  They identified birds, knew about soil conservation, identified flowers, etc.  My Amish classmates probably could have taught the class!  It was then that I realized what television, computers and electronic games have done to our society.  The Amish, who live without electricity, spend a lot of time reading books while the rest of world is watching TV.  They are very educated in many topics.  Amish children can thoroughly discuss things that they read about like horses.  A 5-year old neighbor told me all about different horses, how to care for them, characteristics of various breeds after having people read him books about and teaching him about horses.  A local substitute teacher told me that she has met Amish kindergarten students reading at a 2nd grade level.  It was her belief that if you tested an Amish 8th grade graduate against a 12 grade student in our public schools in subjects that both had studied that the Amish student would most likely score higher.  The teacher contributed this to the fact that Amish schools don't have sports, clubs, proms, and other extra curricular activities.  Amish students focus on learning.  She also added that the discipline in Amish schools is much stricter than public schools."  This could be a challenge to the rest of the world to turn off the television for an hour each evening and read.  Who knows what we could do or what we could become?
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Bed and Breakfast is the Better Way To Stay

Don’t Ever Stay at a Bed and Breakfast...Not.  Some people have had a bad experience with staying at a bed and breakfast and tell others, “Don’t ever stay at a bed and breakfast”.  What they don’t tell you is that unlike a hotel that offers two beds with a nightstand in the middle, and is predictable, no two bed and breakfasts are alike.  One bad experience “doesn’t spoil the whole bunch of apples”.  Gone is the day where many bed and breakfasts have lace doilies and a frilly d├ęcor.  Some are quite modern, some are rustic, some have themed rooms, some have wine cellars or pubs for beer, some have outdoor activities, etc.  You will find rooms in every color of the rainbow, some with Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, balconies, flat screen televisions, and more.  There are misconceptions out there such as sharing bathrooms.  Having to share a bathroom at a bed and breakfast is almost as extinct as a dinosaur.  Bed and breakfast owners are usually very catering to a guest's needs.  One example is breakfast.   If you are told that breakfast is from 9-10 a.m. and you ask for a 10:30 a.m. breakfast so you can sleep in or a 7 a.m. breakfast because you are there on business the innkeeper is likely to work with you.  The moral of this story is don’t let one bad experience at a bed and breakfast keep you from trying a different one.  You will be pleasantly surprised to find out that a bed and breakfast can be the better way to stay.

Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608