Details

  • DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2002)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesCultural
  • LocationOH
  • Length76 national 190 state miles
Byway Visitor Information
Holmes County Tourism Bureau - Chamber of Commerce
Statewide Byway Partners
Ohio Department of Transportation
Tourism Ohio
Spirited horse attached to a buggy at sunset
Wade Wilcox Photo

Overview

“Wilkum” to Amish Country from the hundreds of hospitality sites along our beckoning byway. Discover the cultural and historic treasures of the Amish and northern Appalachian people around the winding curves and over the hills along our scenic countrysides. Experience simple living, and the interaction of Amish and English community life along our charming country roads, taking you to a bygone era still present. Find peace in our spectacular bucolic and natural vistas in all four seasons of the year.


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Story of the Byway

The 190-mile Amish Country Byway boasts views of natural vistas along winding curves and over rolling hills. In addition, this charming country byway offers visitors a fine selection of Amish country cooking as well as sites featuring the culture and history of Amish and German people. Bed & Breakfasts, area hotels and inns offer visitors a wide variety of lodging choices because a visit to the Amish country can last two to three days. Celebrate the lifestyle of a place and people who defy modern conveniences while enjoying the simple pleasures of farm life and country living. The Amish Country Byway offers experiences that many visitors enjoy over and over again.

"Simple Living" is the heritage significance of the Amish, visible all along the Amish Country Byway. These plain people thrive here today for the same reasons their Amish ancestors journeyed here – to establish their families, homes, and livelihoods practicing their devout Anabaptist faith free from persecution, drawing from these lush northern Appalachian soils.

The Amish Country circle of multi-cultural community life depends upon and draws from the byway, home to the largest settlement of Amish in the world. Early Amish settlers were among the first white men to forge and design its path in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

One out of every six Amish in the world lives in this settlement (over 40,000). With devout religious convictions whose roots go deep into the soil, their way of life enriches and influences the life of the entire community and the visitors who come here.

The story of the Amish, their opportunity to thrive in the northern foothills of Appalachia, is not complete without the understanding of the interdependence they have woven with the entire community.

The viewshed of the byway reflects the integration of the historically agriculturally based economy of the Amish with the culture of the Appalachian people. Both came to Ohio as immigrants yearning to lay down family roots. These roots grew into a codependent community based on mutual needs, strong work ethic, strong family values, and a deep sense of belonging to these hills and valleys called Amish Country.

Holmes County and the surrounding counties maintain the largest Amish settlement in the world. Families, businesses, and related services exist to support this thriving culture. Economic growth has continued countywide.

The small businesses owned by the Amish and Mennonites have made the Amish Country Byway in Holmes County a national destination. Bulk food stores that serve the local Amish community are now unique boutiques where busses with visitors stop to buy local meats, cheeses and eat hand-dipped ice cream.

The Amish culture continues to prosper along with the economy. When people are working, and products from the farm and home are valued, the Amish and English from rural Ohio can succeed in their spiritual and familial lifestyles. Building businesses and homes, the Amish and English in this community have been investing in their future for the past several decades.

With the continued prosperity and growth of local farms and entrepreneurial businesses such as furniture-making, the Amish population is continuing to rise. With the increased population, there are more opportunities as well as pressures. When local English-owned farms sell, the Amish often purchase this farmland. Many local farms are split into small parcels, supporting the needs of the Amish family, who own horses and small livestock for personal use. Still, there is not enough land to meet the needs of growing Amish families. Since the 1980s, many Amish church families band together and seek new settlements in Montana, Iowa, New York, Kentucky, and Maine, to name a few.

The Sugarcreek 'Budget' newspaper still serves the many Amish communities across the US and Canada by the weekly publication of Amish settlement news and advice columns. One can learn about births, illnesses, and deaths through the correspondence of local community reporters in these Amish settlements, mostly with their familial roots from Holmes County, Ohio.

While fascinating, the Amish people are very friendly and approachable. Visitors are welcomed from all US states, all Canadian provinces, and over 100 countries worldwide each year as recorded at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center and other museums annually.

Driving Directions

The Amish Country Byway (national and state designations) is made of the 13 state and federal routes throughout Holmes County Ohio and west on SR 62 through Knox County Ohio to Utica. US Route 62 bisects the county from the southwest to northeast corners, traveling through Millersburg, the county seat, then west to Danville, Ohio. Map & directories of the county and the Byway are free and on display at most restaurants, lodging facilities and shopping places.

Points of Interest

  • Village of Walnut Creek - Site of the First Amish Settler in Holmes County, 1809

    In the early 1800's Amish settlers from Somerset, Pennsylvania moved west in search of fertile and cheap farmland. Walnut Creek's first permanent settler was Jonas Stutzman (1788 – 1871) who came to clear land for farming and build a log home for his family. Jonas and his wife, Magdalena Gerber Stutzman, were of the Amish faith – descendants from a group of strict Anabaptists (meaning "re-baptizer"). An Ohio Historical Marker, just south of Walnut Creek, located at the bottom of "Walnut Creek Hill" along State Route 39, identifies the farm of Jonas Stutzman, Founder of the Amish Settlement in Holmes County, 1809.
    Today Walnut Creek has several Amish Country shops and restaurants along with the German Culture Museum, open May through October.
    The Jonas Stutzman Covered Bridge is a landmark in the valley south of Walnut Creek. It’s a beautiful wooden covered bridge on County Road 145, just steps from the historic Walnut Creek Mennonite Church. Called “Stutzmans’ Crossing” by the locals, the bridge is built on property formerly owned by Jonas Stutzman. Known as an unconventional Amishman, Stutzman wore white clothing, instead of traditional dark colors, and became known as “Der Weiss” and authored a book prophesying when Jesus would come back to earth. Learn more about Jonas Stutzman at the German Culture Museum or at Behalt, in the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center.

  • Behalt! at the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center

    Behalt is a 10 foot by 265 foot circular mural called a cyclorama. One artist, over more than a decade, painted oil-on-canvas to illustrate multiple stories of Christianity within a vast timeline. These stories are depicted on the cyclorama, focusing on the Amish, Mennonites and other anabaptist religious cultures. A unique experience awaits you at Behalt – one of only four cycloramas in North America. The name Behalt, means “to keep, hold, remember.
    The Center was established in 1981 as the Mennonite Information Center. In 1989 the current facility was built on County Road 77 to adequately present the Behalt Cyclorama and provide the adequate support space for the Bookstore and Gift Shop. In 2002, the center officially adopted the present name to more accurately reflect our community and mission.
    Now in operation for more than 28 years, the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center annually receives visitors from all 50 states, most Canadian provinces, and from about 60 countries – from Australia to Zimbabwe.

  • Victorian House and Millersburg Glass Museums

    The grandest home in town, the Victorian House is a national tourist attraction as it has appeared on HGTV, featured in national home magazines, and filmed for Hollywood movie productions. The 28 room mansion is filled with period furniture and custom features. Come see it for yourself!
    Explore the only public collection in the world of Millersburg Glass, which was only produced from 1909-1912—making the glass pieces very rare. In this historical museum, you’ll find 400 masterpieces cherished by collectors worldwide.

  • Restaurants along the Byway

    Dining along the Byway, nestled in the heart of Amish Country, boasts a unique culinary experience with its Amish and Mennonite-style restaurants. These dining establishments offer visitors a taste of traditional, hearty, and wholesome fare deeply rooted in the cultural and culinary traditions of the Amish and Mennonite communities.
    The menus at Amish and Mennonite-style restaurants along the Byway showcase a rich array of comfort foods prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Traditional favorites include homemade breads, preserves, and pies. Farm-to-table practices are often observed, with many ingredients sourced from the region's fertile farmlands, contributing to the authenticity of the dining experience.
    Meals are characterized by their simplicity and reliance on classic recipes passed down through generations. Dishes often feature staple ingredients such as farm-fresh eggs, hand-rolled noodles, and garden vegetables. Hearty soups, casseroles, and slow-cooked meats are staples, providing a satisfying and flavorful experience for diners seeking a taste of genuine Amish and Mennonite cuisine.
    Family-style dining is a common practice, where large tables are laden with platters of delicious dishes, encouraging a sense of togetherness and sharing among guests. Beyond the delectable food, the Amish and Mennonite-style restaurants in Holmes County offer a chance for visitors to connect with the local culture. Friendly and attentive staff often share insights into the culinary traditions, and some establishments may offer handicrafts or baked goods for purchase, allowing patrons to take a piece of the experience home with them.
    Boyd and Wurthmann’s is Berlin's oldest continuously operating restaurant where visitors get a taste of life in the village. Nearly 20 varieties of pie are available daily along with home-styled dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once a local grocery store in the 1930’s, Boyd and Wurthman’s was recognized in 2022 by Food & Wine magazine and Ohio’s best diner. For a complete list of all the restaurants along the Byway, go to www.visitamishcountry.com.

  • Bakeries and Fresh Produce along the Byway

    Fresh seasonal produce, baked goods, flowers, and potted plants of all kinds can be found along the roadside run by local families and farms. Additionally some places like Hershberger's Farm and Bakery offer family activities like horse and buggy rides, pony rides, goats to feed and more.

  • Cheese houses in the heart of Amish Country

    In the Heart of the four county Amish Country you are in the cheese capital of Ohio. The history of these producers trace their roots to the 1800’s and back to Switzerland. The Amish and English dairy farmers needed local cheese producers to process their milk. For over a hundred years, milk was produced and processed locally.
    Many of the current cheese factories are still family owned, sometimes run by the third and fourth generations. Now the cheese factories are larger, producing tons of cheese daily, but many still use locally produced milk desired for its unique flavor.
    Currently one of the most recognized and award-winning cheese factories along the Amish Country Byway is located near Charm Ohio on SR 557, part of the Amish Country Byway – Guggisberg’s, making their world famous “Baby Swiss Cheese.” For a full list of cheese companies go to www.visitamishcountry.com

  • German Culture Museum

    In Walnut Creek, this museum features artifacts and stories of the German people who first settled in this region.

  • Holmes County Open Air Art Museum

    On the grounds of The Inn at Honey Run, the Holmes County Open Air Art Museum is a fusion of nature. The forest and hill landscape showcases original works from local and regional artists of various backgrounds, mediums, and disciplines.

  • Harvest Ridge Event Center and Agriculture History Exhibit

    Community events at the Harvest Ridge Event Center connect all ages and cultures. Not only do they offer a variety of events for every audience, but also have the perfect venue for family gatherings. From gardens to expo buildings; a rustic barn to campsites, Harvest Ridge Event Center has over 70,000 feet of exhibit space offering a multitude of options.
    Harvest Ridge Event Center is home to the annual Holmes County Fair in August. Built in the 1800’s, the Shreiner Barn is the oldest building on the property and the centerpiece of the fairgrounds. With the original foundation, walls, posts, and beams, this building was restored in 2013 — yet retains much of its original, rustic charm.
    The barn is also home to the Holmes County Historical Society Agriculture History display, which shows the history of local barns and agriculture throughout Holmes County. This award-winning exhibit features an 1861 map of Holmes County, the oldest one still in existence. A timeline spanning several centuries runs the length of the map and shows national, Ohio and local agriculture related events. Old ads of agriculture equipment and events from the 1800s were used, and the exhibit also recognizes all four of Holmes County’s Ohio Historical Markers.

  • Killbuck Valley Natural History Museum

    The Killbuck Valley Natural History Museum tells the natural and cultural history of the Killbuck Valley region. The unique collection of mastodon bones, arrowheads, rocks, and minerals tell stories of a nearly forgotten time. The taxidermy collection is a special treat for young visitors featuring birds of many species, their eggs and mammals who once roamed the swamps and fields of the Valley.
    The museum also has special and rotating displays that feature local historical stories. Open May through October and available for group visits upon request.

  • Village of Millersburg

    MILLLERSBURG is the hub of the Amish County Byway with US Route 62, State Routes 39, 241 and 83 converging on the Downtown Historic District known for its well-preserved 19th-century buildings. antique shops, local art galleries, jewelry store, toy store, historic hotel and local eateries add to the charm.
    Millersburg is the county seat with a beautiful courthouse, village lawn and several historic churches within walking distance.

  • Towns along the Byway - East

    BERLIN is known to be the heart of the largest Amish and Mennonite community in the world. In the Berlin area there are both Amish and English owned stores, eateries, quilt and craft stores, repair shops and much more.
    WALNUT CREEK is known for Jonas Stutzman, the first Amish farmer to settle in the area in 1809. Today visitors to the town will enjoy the German Culture Museum, traditional Amish hospitality and scenic vistas of the bucolic valley.
    SUGARCREEK is known as the “Little Switzerland of Ohio” and SouthEastern Gateway of the Byway. Famous for hosting the annual Ohio Swiss Festival and the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock among its Swiss themed shops.
    WINESBURG and WILMOT, the NorthEastern Gateway towns to the Byway providing a peaceful authentic Amish Country experience.
    MT HOPE is notable for its weekly and specialty livestock auctions and the Mt Hope Event Center. CHARM and BALTIC, noted for the bucolic scenic drives that surround these towns. Often noted in reviews as the ‘best scenic drives in Amish Country.’

  • Towns along the Byway - West

    NASHVILLE, LAKEVILLE, BIG PRAIRIE and LOUDONVILLE are quaint towns surrounded by English and Amish farms with scenic drives in all seasons of the year.
    KILLBUCK, BRINKHAVEN, DANVILLE and UTICA are towns along US 62 between Columbus and Millersburg with views of the scenic countryside.

Itinerary

  • Amish Country Bucolic Scenery

    Entering the Amish Country Byway along the same path as the earliest Amish settlers in 1808, come from the SouthEast along State Route 39 from Sugarcreek, Ohio. These early settlers came to America at the invite of William Penn for religious freedom. On the left about ¼ mile before turning right onto State Route 515, is the original “Stutzman” farm, marked by an Ohio historical marker. Just past the Stutzman Farm, going through Walnut Creek – a great place to eat, head north along State Route 515 towards the town of Trail, the home of Troyer’s Trail Bologna. Follow SR 515 north till you come to US Route 62; turn right to explore the quaint village of Winesburg 2 miles northeast along SR 62 or turn left to head towards Berlin, then Historic Millersburg, the center of Holmes County and the Byway.

    Along the Byway heading west on SR 62 you will find Amish owned farms with roadside stands, furniture shops, bakeries, antique stores, and cheese factories with retail shops. If you can make only one stop, plan to visit the Behalt cyclorama exhibit at the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center at 5798 County Road 77 northeast of the town of Berlin. From US 62 turn left, south, onto County Road 77. Leaving the Center turn left for 1 mile to meet back up with SR 39. Back on SR 39, drive west through Berlin towards Millersburg.

    If you enjoy history, you won’t want to miss the Victorian House & Millersburg Glass Museums in Millersburg, open most afternoons from March to October. Check the website for details. In both Berlin and Millersburg, you will find shops, restaurants, and hotels. Also, in Millersburg there is a local brewery and one of the oldest continuous operating hotels in Ohio.

    For the scenic views of both Amish and English dairy farms, drive west of Millersburg along SR 39 and explore the western half of the county before stopping at one of the three local wineries. The Byway on the western side of Holmes County weaves alongside and through the Killbuck Marsh, the second largest body of water in Ohio (second only to Lake Erie), hosting eagles as well as migrating birds.

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