Friday, December 23, 2011

Did I See Amish With Cell Phones in Holmes County?

Today when you visit Holmes County, Ohio Amish tourist attractions you may see some Amish with things that you did not expect such as cell phones, gas lawn mowers, etc.  In our ever changing world the Amish must make adaptations for their life needs.  These changes must be approved by their church leader, the Bishop.  These changes are not adapted in their home because they don't want to harm their family structure or upset their community.  They are used with limits for business...for instance, a Bishop may allow cell phones for work purposes but at the end of the day they must turn them off until the next work day.  The Amish that you see with these modern items are usually the Old Order or New Order Amish.
There is a group of Amish in Holmes County called Swartzentruber.  They are the most conservative group in the County.  They refuse power tools or to hire a driver to go to work.  They usually make a living from farming, basket making, or quilt making.  The Amish basket makers that you see in the northern part of the County are usually part of this group.
One place to get your questions about the Amish answered correctly is from the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center/Behalt.  You can also learn about the history of the Amish there.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Wine Tasting Weekends Help Beat the Winter Blahs

If you are looking to be the Winter blahs then check out wine tasting weekends in Ohio.  Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast in Millersburg has their own tour bus.   They offer weekend packages for wine lovers.  You check-in on Friday and unwind.  Saturday afternoon you board the bus for an escorted tour where you can taste wine, listen to music, participate in cheese tasting, and take a winery tour.  The highlight of the evening is a 5-course dinner with a glass of wine to accompany each course.  For pricing and additional information visit the website of this Ohio Amish Country getaway.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ohio Weekend Getaways include Annual Pajama Party Sale in Berlin

If your girlfriends are looking for Ohio weekend getaways in January don't miss the annual Pajama Party in Berlin.  It started several years ago with Country Craft Cupboard on Main Street in Berlin, Ohio.  They opened their doors at 6 a.m. to customers dressed in their pajamas. There were "bouncers" at the door and if you were not in pajamas then you could not enter.  During the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. there were huge discounts, such as 40% off merchandise, and refreshments.  It didn't take long for other Berlin merchants to jump on board and make this an annual event.  They usually open at 7 a.m.  Some people really get in to the pajama party by putting curlers in their hair and wearing big, furry slippers.  Some ladies come in groups with matching PJs or slippers.  The deep discounts are from 6 a.m. - 9 a.m.  When the stores open for regular hours at 10 a.m. they some times offer smaller discounts.  This is a fun weekend for mothers & daughters or a girlfriends getaway.  The 2011 date is January 28.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spice Up Your January with a Murder Mystery Weekend in Ohio

This January when you start to get cabin fever visit Holmes County and participate in a murder mystery weekend in Ohio.   Although you'll be staying near Berlin you are going to feel like you are in New York's Little Italy.  The scene is an Italian bistro where the owner has been murdered.    You don't have be a professional actor to participate, simply someone who likes to have fun.  The murder mystery is called Pasta, Passion & Pistols.  As a guest you will play a murder suspect.  Your bed and breakfast owners will provide all of the information that you need to portray your character.  The mystery is played in rounds where you will be served a progressive meal.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Berlin Ohio Lodging Explains: Who Came 1st Amish or Mennonites?

A common question at our Berlin, Ohio lodging establishment is, "Who came first, the Amish or the Mennonites?".  Most people assume that the Amish came first and the Mennonites broke away for more religious freedom, but that is not correct:

  • In 1525 the Swiss Anabaptist movement began.  This religious sect believes in adult baptism.
  • In 1536 Menno Simons started the Mennonite church
  • In 1694 Jacob Amman broke away from the Mennonite church to start the Amish church.  He did this mainly over issues with communion and excommunication.
  • In 1730 the Amish started to migrate to the Eastern USA
  • In 1808 the first Amish settle in Sugarcreek, Ohio
  • In 1809 Jonas Stutzman became he first Amish settler in Holmes County
  • In 1824 Holmes County was founded
  • In 1913 the Swartzentruber Amish formed. They are the most conservative Amish living in Holmes County today
  • In 1927 the Beachy Amish Mennonite formed.  They are the most liberal Amish living in Holmes County today
  • In 1966 the New Order Amish formed
When you visit Holmes County, Ohio you can learn more about the history of the Amish and Mennonites by touring the mural, Behalt, at the Amish & Mennonite Information Center.  You can also take Amish Culture tours when you are a guest at Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast on their own tour bus.  This bed and breakfast can also arrange for you to have dinner with one of their Amish neighbors.

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bed and Breakfast Gift Certificate Buyer Beware

Every Christmas season people research gift certificates for bed and breakfasts for that someone special and every year people buy something that they didn't realize.  There are different ways to purchase bed and breakfast gift certificates:

  • The easiest way is to buy a certificate for a bed and breakfast that is valid at only that bed and breakfast.
  • Bed and Breakfast directories will market to the public that they have thousands of bed and breakfasts offered on their website.  They also tell you that they sell gift certificates.  They don't clearly explain that their certificates are NOT valid at all properties on their website.  The directories take a commission from the B&B owners that accept them so not all properties participate in the gift certificate program.
  • Some Bed and Breakfast directories have books for sale in major book stores that offer to get a night free.  The offer is usually to purchase 1 night and get the 2nd night free.  Many purchasers don't look at the actual offers.  For example, a Colorado ski resort area is not going to honor the certificate in ski season.  Nor is an Amish Country bed and breakfast going to honor the certificate during their busy summer/fall season.
  • Marketing companies will offer books in discount warehouses.  Like the previous example most of the properties make their offers for specific days (ie Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) or specific seasons (ie not valid during the busiest, most popular time of year)
The bed and breakfasts are not limiting the offers to try disappoint the person receiving the gift certificate, but they have expenses to participate in these programs.  Some directories charge as much as 30% commission to the B&B or they have to pay advertising costs to participate in a program.

The moral of the story:  You are not always getting a better gift certificate from the company that tells you have you many choices vs. one specific bed and breakfast due to the restrictions on each offer.  Do your homework and find out what the restrictions are.

This blog is not intended to distract the reader from purchasing a bed and breakfast gift certificate, but to encourage you to read the fine print before purchasing the offer to make sure you are getting what you thought you were purchasing.

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

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Bread Among Bed and Breakfast Recipes

If you want to make a special Christmas morning breakfast, and save yourself some time in the process, try this Christmas Bread that can be baked in a bread machine.  This will give more time to focus on the main course and other dishes.



  • 1-1/4 cups warm milk (70° to 80°)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup candied fruit
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • In bread machine pan, place the first 7 ingredients.   Select sweet bread setting and bake according to bread machine directions.
  • Just before the final kneading, add the raisins, candied fruit, and lemon peel. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over cooled bread. Yield: One 2-pound loaf

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

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ohio Amish Country Getaway offers Winter Special Rates

While no one is anxious to travel around Ohio in the winter months, some of the best travel bargains are to be found.  In Holmes County, an Ohio Amish Country getaway is offering winter special rates on the weekdays.  In addition you will find specials at restaurants, discounts at gift shops, and bargains all around Amish Country.  In January, you will find inventory clearance and Christmas clearance just like the big city stores.  While most of the shops close around 5 p.m. during the winter months you can choose a room with a fireplace and/or Jacuzzi to relax after a day of shopping.   By the time you have finished your breakfast you will find that all main roads have been plowed/salted and you should not expect any problems traveling the main roads.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Berlin Ohio Bed and Breakfast offers December Discounts

If you're finishing up your Christmas shopping and you're looking for lodging discounts then check out this Berlin, Ohio bed and breakfast.  Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast is offering discounted rates through December 22, 2011 to help guests save money while Christmas shopping in Amish Country Ohio.
These lodging specials are available Monday - Thursday for specific guests rooms.  Click here for complete details.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608

Monday, December 5, 2011

8 Holiday Activities in 2011 on your Amish Country Vacation in Ohio

Visiting Amish Country for a vacation in Ohio offers many activities for many personalities, but during the 2011 holiday season there are special holiday activities to partake in:

  1.  Victorian House Museum, Millersburg.  Tour this 28-room Victorian home in Millersburg that is all decked out for the holidays.  It is open from 1 - 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 1 - 8 p.m. on Friday - Sunday.
  2.  Millersburg Candlelight Church Walk.  This event will be held on December 9, 2011 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.  Learn the history of participating churches, see them decorated for Christmas, indulge in some refreshments and explore Millersburg.
  3. Shopping under the Stars, Berlin, Ohio.  December 9th the Berlin merchants will stay open until 9 - 10 p.m. offering special discounts, refreshments, and some great Christmas gift ideas.
  4. J.E.Reeves Victorian House Christmas.  Home to Dover's first millionaire, this historical home is decked out for the holidays and offers an interesting tour.
  5.   Tis the Season Christmas Store.  There are special events at this year-round Christmas store for the holidays.  December 10th the Steinbach Nutcracker creators will be featured at Tis the Season.
  6.  Christmas Candlightings at Historical Roscoe Village.  This has become an annual holiday tradition for many families.  Experience the tree lighting, caroling, decorations, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, etc.
  7.  Childrens Christmas in Historic Millersburg.  Become a kid again with crafts, cookies, & Santa.  Merchants will be open later with special sales and refreshments.
  8. Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree.  Pine Tree Barn in Shreve, Ohio, has a gift shop, restaurant, and tree farm.  Hop on a horse-drawn wagon and head out in the field to cut down your own tree.  Visit the gift shop for Old World Christmas ornaments and other holiday decor.

When you come to these holiday activities be sure to check out the shops for Christmas chocolates at Coblentz Chocolate Company, gift baskets at our cheese factories, holiday baked goods at our bakeries, and a bottle of wine from one of the area wineries or wine tasting showrooms.

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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 Christmas Gifts to Purchase in Holmes County Ohio Amish Country

If you are struggling with Christmas gift ideas then be sure to visit Holmes County, Ohio.  It is home to the world's largest Amish community and many unique and wonderful gifts.  Here is our suggestion of 10 Christmas gift ideas:

  1. Visit Wendell August Forge for some unique metal gifts from bread platters to chip & dip plate to vases and more.
  2. Amish Country Essentials has all natural soaps, bath salts, bath bombs, and other homemade products to pamper someone special with.  They can even put together a gift basket for you.
  3. For the garden lover in your life visit Bowden Bells where they make one-of-a-kind recycled garden art.  There are ornaments, bird baths, bells and more.
  4. L & E Star Candles is an Amish-owned business with hand-carved candles.  In addition to carved candles there are poured candles, holiday angel candles, lighthouse candles, etc.
  5. For the chocoholic in your life be sure to visit Coblentz Chocolate Company.  This local family-owned business has mouth-watering holiday gift boxes and baskets our you can build your own.
  6. P. Graham Dunn is the place for inspirational gifts.  From wall art to table art and home decor they have creations for everyone's taste.
  7. Stop by Heini's Cheese or Guggisberg Cheese Factory for a gift basket full of locally produced cheeses, jams, chocolates, and more.
  8. The "wine snob" in your life if sure to love a gift from Breitenbach Wine Cellars.  They are Ohio's 2nd largest winery and they offer award-winning sweet, semi-sweet, and dry wines.
  9. Carlisle House of Gifts in Walnut Creek is full of gifts.  You will find floral decorations, candles, soaps, lotions, hand bags, jewelry, Thomas Kincaid items, and other home decor items.
  10. For the quilt or country lover on your list you must stop by Swartzentruber Quilts.  These Old Order Amish sisters not only make bed quilts but placemats, potholders, wall hangings, and more.
These are just a few of the unique gifts that you can purchase in Holmes County, Ohio.  When you come to shop consider an over night stay at a bed and breakfast.  Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast has a weekday Christmas Shoppers special room rate where you will save $36 on your room from November 28 - December 22, 2011.  The innkeepers will be glad to map our many more places to purchase unique or unusual Christmas gifts for you.

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