Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ohio Bed and Breakfast Award Amish Country

At it's annual conference held on November 21, 2011, the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association named the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast as the Bed and Breakfast of the year for 2011-2012.  This award, determined by an impartial board, along with other criteria, recognizes the member bed and breakfast that best demonstrates excellence in customer service as evidenced by guest reviews.

Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio
 Today, a licensed hotel, The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast located in Ohio's Amish Country, in Holmes County Ohio, is a tangible reminder of Ohio's rural past.  Owners, Paul and Loretta Coblentz, with the professional services of an architect, engineer, preservation resourses, and an Amish contractor, adapted the barn to meet the specifications for a hotel/bed and breakfast while maintaining the character of the original structure. 

Grand Beams Showcased in Inn's Great Room
 In all their grandeur, original barn beams extend to the inn's height of 33 feet. The dining and great room serve as a perfect reception area for friend and family fellowship or relaxation in the sitting area.

The finely appointed, 11-guestroom inn serves as an oasis for guests wishing to experience the best in hospitality and service.  The Barn Inn has long been recognized for exceptional full country breakfasts served daily along with a breakfast presentation.  Seasonal and custom packages, such as couples massages, Amish tours, Amish meals, and cheese and fruit packages are available.  Rooms range from classic standard to VIP suites with Jacuzzis and fireplaces.  Typical breakfast foods served are egg casserole breakfast, hashbrowns, locally made sausage, fresh fruit cups, cinnamon rolls, juices, coffee, etc.  Alternate breakfasts are served with consecutive stays.

Consider a stay at The Barn Inn to renew your spirits and find rest for your soul.  A guest services specialist is available by telephone 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. or you may book on line.  The online reservation status is always current.  If you are in the area, stop by to see rooms that are available for viewing.  It is best to call before coming.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 24, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gift Certificate at luxurious Ohio Bed and Breakfast

Delight your friends and family by giving them a gift certificate from the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast.  A gift to Ohio's Amish Country is simple to arrange and will "make big smiles" when given to any member of your family this Christmas!  With fine VIP accommodations and on-site owner innkeepers who share area and cultural information, your loved one will experience a gift of lasting memories.

Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast VIP Tub
 The inn features rooms for all occasions, from classic standard rooms to VIP Suites offering a heavenly hideaway for an intimately luxurious retreat.

Of Amish descent and familiar with the culture, owners, Paul and Loretta, share cultural experiences and will direct your loved ones to significant local shops and points of interest as well as secluded Amish businesses tucked away in our rural countryside. 

Barn Inn gift certificates can be ordered on line or, for more personalized service, call toll-free 877-674-7600 and one of our friendly staff will assist you in ordering in whatever amount you wish. Barn Inn certificates have a three-year expiration, are not redeemable for cash, but are transferrable; and, if you wish, can be sent directly to the recipient.

Barn Inn Breakfast Served Daily
 A stay at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast includes, in the price of the room, a full country breakfast served daily.  Breakfast provides three hot entrees, fresh fruit cups, homemade breads, locally made sausage, yogurt, juices, and sometimes cinnamon rolls or apple crisp, and more.

Wineries, shops, and eateries may be found throughout the area, and we'd be pleased to accommodate your request for a combination of gift certificates from other businesses.  Let us package gift certificates from your favorite shops like Coblentz Chocolates, Raven's Glen Winery, or one of our other local restaurants.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 19, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Amish Family, Ohio Amish Country

New Stove for Amish Family
 Today was a joyous day for an Amish family who, through the love and kindness of The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast guests and friends, have received a much needed new stove.  I was unable to get over to their house until about 2:30 this afternoon.  This new stove was already installed and the children were very excited.  They still did not have time to rinse out the reservoir and put water in it and they still hadn't started a fire, but were preparing to do that; as tonight was going to be their first night using it to make supper and for heating their home.

The family is humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of all who helped and say "Thank you, thank you."  The wife pointed out that the place inside the stove, where the wood is stocked, is two to three times larger than their old stove; which, by the way was made in 1922.

Guests of the Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast have learned to appreciate their visits with this family where they go to purchase hand-made baskets.  The children help make baskets when they are not tending to chores or doing school work.  Today when I drove in their lane, two of the girls, in their bare feet, dressed in 18th century garb, were chasing a stray cow back to the pasture.  The scene was priceless, a step back in time.

What is impressive is that the children are truly happy.  I have not found such a happy family among the "English."  They have few toys and they derive great pleasure in working together to make the household run efficiently.  Two weeks ago I got there late one night to see the father and his eldest son bring in a large load of loose hay on a wagon pulled by a team of Belgium Horses.  Probably the most important value the Amish teach their children is to become "Hard Workers."  Hard work is as much a cultural distinction as their plain clothing.

Amish parents assign tasks to their children that they believe they are capable to handling.  My husband, Paul, at about age 11 or 12 worked horses in the field before going to school and upon returning home.  I recall at about 5 years of age, my mother teaching me to wash the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.  For the Amish, work is an opportunity for fulfillment and accomplishment.  They derive great pleasure in a job well done.  Work is blended with enjoyment and fellowship as family members socialize as they accomplish necessary tasks.  Amish parents typically do not tell their children that they love them; but it is my experience that because children contribute in such a meaningful way, they know they are needed and they feel secure.  As a child, no one had to tell me that I was loved.  I knew I was loved.  For the Amish, work is fun.

Guests staying at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast are told about and directed to this Amish home.  Our guests, when purchasing have noted that the girls, ages 12 and younger, are very adept in tallying bills and making change from the sale of baskets.  While Amish children are assigned tasks, they do not work all the time.  They are provided ample time for play.

Ohio's Amish Country is comprised of about 10 different sects of Amish.  People comment to us, "The Amish help each other don't they?"  Yes, most do, but the strictest sect is tightly governed and have fewer opportunities to build their wealth.  The men may not hire a driver to go to a jobsite and they usually cannot run any power tools.  If most of this sect is poor, how can they help each other?  How can the poor help the poor?  This is why God uses people like you and I.  God bless you all!

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paper Casting

This year the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast donated a tree to the Pomerene Hospital Auxiliary Christmas Tree Festival. We created some paper cast ornaments, which were super easy to make, very fast, and a lot of fun! I used Springerle cookie molds from House on the for my molds. The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast now sells these molds, many of which are replicas of 16th & 17th Century molds found in European Museums. The Goode Wyfe paper cast mold shown above, depicts rural Medieval life, probably Swiss 14th-16th century. These are some of the nicest molds I've found.

Supplies Needed for Paper Casting
Paper casting is a great project for adults
and children.

Cookie Mold
100% Cotton Paper or Cotton Linters
Paper additive
Mold release spray
Sponge or terry cloth rags
Clean absorbent towels
Straight edge knife or stainless steel spatula

You will discover techniques that will work best for you. To the cotton linter, add some cuts of brown tissue paper or 1" pieces of brown paper bag to get a nice natural warm color. You can add a handful of yellow tissue paper pieces for a creamy off-white color. Do not add paint to the pulp as it will discolor your mold. Food coloring tends to fade in the sunlight. Always remove the casting from the mold to dry. Do not expose this brand of mold to prolonged moisture. Tea used for some of the water will give your mold a very old-fashioned look. In some of my castings, I used both tea and brown tissue paper to create an olde-world look.

Prepare the mold, making sure it is clean and dry. Spray mold with release spray (Don't breathe fumes). Spray the mold every 3rd or 4th time it is cast. Place your mold face up on a cloth on a firm surface.

1. Prepare the pulp: Experience will teach you how much water to put with pulp and paper. In a blender pour 3 cups of water or tea/water combination. Next combine 1/4 cup of loosely packed pre-shredded cotton linter for a 3x3" size mold. Add 1/2 tsp. Paper Additive to blender. (Additive will make your casting stronger). Blend pulp mixture on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Blend longer if lumps remain.

2. Using a mesh kitchen strainer, drain water from the pulp. Save the water in a bowl for the next casting. When reusing water for subsequent casts, use additive only every third blending. Do no press the pulp into the strainer. If it is too dry it will not cast into the delicate details of your mold.

3. With your fingers, place about a 1/4th layer of watery pulp onto your mold being sure to cover the entire carving
allowing it to extend to the very edge or beyond and even over the edge of the mold. Make sure that there are no thin or bare spaces on the mold.

4. Extract the water: Gently push the pulp into the carving with fingers. Cover pulp with rags or sponge and blot out excess water. Make sure to press firmly over the detailed areas of your mold to ensure they will appear on your casting. Continually use dry paper towels to remove moisture.

5. Remove casting: When toweling no longer soaks excess moisture, gently turn mold over onto a dry surface. With a small sharp knife gently push back the edges around the entire edge of the mold. Very carefull, use the knife to gently release the casting from the mold. Place the casting on a counter or flat surface.

6. Deckling the edges: At this stage your casting is very fragile and will tear very easily. Controlling the tear of "deckled edge can be tricky. To help control the tear: Apply gentle pressure to the eara you wish to retain with a dull knife or spatula edge as you use a tweezer to pull away tiny pieces of pulp to create a deckled edge. Be extremely careful to not remove more pulp than desired. Work slowly and gently.

7. Dry the casting overnight. Drying time may vary dependin on the humidity or temperature. A cookie cooling rack works well for this by allowing air to flow on both sides. Large pieces tend to begin to warp after drying for several hours. When the mold is half dried, I place a light object on each side so that it dries flat.

If, in the morning, I find that a piece is warped, I often find that I can gently bend it into place; however, if it is really twisted, I dip my finger tip in water and gently moisten the casting on the back side (using minimal moisture). In a minute or so I am able to shape it into place. A slight twist is no problem, as it will glue flat when applying it to a base. Remember, if you are not happy with a casting, simply place it back into the blender!

Cotton Linters, Paper Additive, and the Mold Release can be purchased from House on the Hill or from Arnold Grummer's.

I have also made cookies with these Springerle molds. They are truly almost too pretty to eat! A small recipe booklet is given with the purchase of molds.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Amish Youth, Rumspringa

Mural at Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center
 We, at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast are often asked about Rumspringa, a term, literally translated, meaning "running around."  Life dramatically changes for the Old Order Amish young person upon turning 16 years of age.  The entire family and community realizes, that upon reaching 16, the teenager will experience freedom they've never before had and parents have little or no jurisdiction in their teenager's social life.  Unlike the New Order Amish church, the Old Order church does not provide any structured social leadership for their youth.  Parents, who, they themselves experienced Rumspringa, ask few or no questions as their youth seize this "Rite of Passage."  In the Old Order and stricter sects, youth who, as children, were tightly disciplined and governed and have made few decisions on their own, now have weekend freedom without supervision and no curfew.

Rumspringa, for the most part, relates to weekends.  In day-to-day living, parents maintain their control of the family. For example, parents have a voice in what kind of job their young person has and how they spend their money.

When one joins the Amish church, they commit themselves to submission to God and accountability to the brotherhood and the ordnung.  The ordnung, usually unwritten, is an agreed-upon set of rules prescribed by the church that governs behavior, dress, and the implementation of, or the forbidding of certain technologies and worldy influences. Only when a young person over age 16 is a church member can they be disciplined.  Once a member, violations of the ordnung will result in disciplinary action.

Depiction of Amish Wedding at Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center

Rumspringa is not the same for all and does not necessarily mean wild parties, alcohol, drugs, or getting a car. It is simply a term referring to the time period from age 16 until they join the church when a young person is free to socialize, unrestricted, with the young people.  Many Amish youths, especially New Order Amish youth, wish to please their parents and elders and maintain an exemplary lifestyle, participating in youth volleyball games, singings, and other wholesome community and social activities.

For others, Rumspringa offers an opportunity for unsupervised weekend socializing, parties, or "whatever."  Because they are not church members, parents and the community believe they cannot tell them what to do.  Parents and church leaders, who they themselves in their youth, experienced Rumspringa, believe that they cannot forbid it; and the youth would say, "You did it too."  In the Amish society, whatever was done by past generations is considered acceptable.

Enjoying Each Other's Company in Mt. Hope

Amish youth can choose when they will join the church, not if they want to join.  It is the expectation of the parents that their son or daughter will join.  Most often Amish young people join the church in preparation for marriage.  The parents will not give them a wedding and the church will not marry them if they are not members.

The New Order Amish, who embrace salvation, are more committed to addressing the moral and religious concerns of their youth and emphasize more accountability to God for high moral and spiritual standards.  Even though embracing salvation as a free gift, the New Order youth still must follow the traditional expectations of the society - keeping the traditional dress forms, the German dialect, horse and buggy transportation, and a commitment to basic Amish ideology.

Whether Old or New Order, the Amish are concerned that their children and grandchildren not drift into worldly ways.  Holmes County Ohio is the largest community of Amish in the world.  For in depth research material, visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio, enjoy the 25' historic mural, and avail yourself to the vast resources of books available for purchase.

Mr. & Mrs. Joe Keim
 We support Ministry to Amish People, MapMinistry.org  This is the best organization we have found that is giving positive direction to those who leave the Amish.

Consider a stay at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast where owners, Paul and Loretta will answer your questions about rumspringa.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ohio Amish Restaurants

 We at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast recommend any of the following restaurants for your dining pleasure.  When planning a visit to Ohio's Amish Country, consider one of the many Ohio Amish Restaurants in Holmes County, Ohio. Holmes County also offers many other types of dining options; however, these are the Amish style options available.

Boyd and Wuthermann Restaurant in Berlin, OH
 Located in the heart of Berlin you will find Boyd & Wuthermann Restaurant, a name that it has held for more than 50 years. Dining here is a step back in time. This is where many of the locals go for very traditional food at a very fair price.

Farmstead Restaurant, Berlin, OH

Farmstead Restaurant, located one block North of Main Street in Berlin, is now under the ownership of Dutchman Hospitality, offering the same fare as Der Dutchman located in Walnut Creek and Dutch Valley Restaurant in Sugarcreek. The Farmstead features a salad bar as well as a hot food buffet, Monday through Saturday. Der Dutchman offers a hot food buffet as their special Monday through Thursday in the evenings at the cost of $12.99.

Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen, Mt. Hope, Ohio
 Don't miss dining at Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen in Mt. Hope, located across the road from the Mt. Hope Auction Barn. There you will find many interesting sales including their weekly, Wednesday livestock, produce, and flea market. Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen offers a salad bar and speciality hot food buffets throughout the year, often adding new entrees to their food bar.

Another favorite is the Inn at Amish Door located in Wilmont, offering a salad bar, bakery, banquet center, and seasonally offers an evening dinner theater.


Beachy's Country Chalet in Sugarcreek offers typical Amish fare Monday - Saturday.  They feature daily specials and homemade pies, and sell handmade quilts.

Cindy's Diner, located in the center of Berlin, serves delicious home-cooked meals in a 50's style atmosphere. Featuring daily lunch specials, homemade cream pies, Amish date pudding, and 24 flavors of ice cream! Home to the "Berlin Burger" and "Diner Dog."

Miller's Dutch Kitch'n
Enjoy a leisurely drive to Baltic where you will find Miller's Dutch Kitch'n offering authentic Amish cooking. Miller's features the area's largest menu variety, the lowest prices, excellent desserts, and banquet facilities. Their specialty is broasted chicken, unmatched by any other restaurant!

Have dinner in Switzerland any day! The Chalet in the Valley features numerous European dishes along with traditional Amish favorites and an unmatched view of Amish Country.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 14, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Country Christmas, Berlin Ohio

Christmas Tree Festival, Millersburg, Ohio
 The 2011 Christmas season is heralded by many events in Berlin, Ohio and the greater area.  Experience a country Christmas at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast when you attend the 4th Annual Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns Sunday and Monday, December 4 & 5, 2011.  The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast of one of the many fine inns on this year's inn-to-inn tour.  Sunday tickets are sold out; however, a small number of tickets for Monday are still available.

A forest of beautifully decorated trees will be on display at the Warther Museum Christmas Tree Festival November 12-20, 2011, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., $5 admission.

Holidays at the Mansion may be experienced November 19 - December 31, 2011 with a self-guided tour through the Victorian House Museum, 484 Wooster Road, Millersburg.

On November 25, 2011, residents and visitors will gather in Berlin, Ohio, to witness the appearance of Biblical characters instead of Santa in this nativity parade.  A pagent of peace with donkeys, camels, wisemen, shepherds, Mary and Joseph and many carolers will herald the holiday season.  A gingerbread man and Frosty the snowman will delight the children with showers of candy.

Historic Millersburg, Ohio
 Soiree Saturday will signal the beginning of the holidays in downtown Millersburg, with festive shopping from 6-11 p.m. on November 26, 2011.

Journey to Bethlehem - December 2 and 3, 2011, 4 - 8 p.m. - A free holiday event the entire family will enjoy.  Stops at various business portray the historic events of the birth of the Christ child. Request that you register by 7:30 p.m.  Call 877-893-2926 for questions.

Christmas Candlelighting in Roscoe Village as they cheer in the season on December 3, 10, & 17, 2011.

Enjoy a quiet, old-fashioned Christmas in Zoar, December 3 & 4, 2011. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.

Shopping Under the Stars in Berlin, Ohio December 12, shopping until 7 p.m.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Swartzentruber Amish

Circa 1922 Stove in Swartzentruber Amish Home
Today was an exciting day at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast.  For over a year we have been sending guests to a Swartzentruber Amish basket home located only about three miles from us.  After realizing the condition of their stove, Paul and I decided to make it a Barn Inn project to collect money to replace their circa 1922 wood-burning stove.  I asked the mother how much a new stove costs.  She said about $2,400, but she said, we may just have to buy a used one.  She said this one they bought used years ago, but "It's falling apart and the hot water reservior no longer holds water, and I'm afraid the oven door will fall off onto the children."  We began telling our guests about it and in two weeks guests have contributed $2,537.06!  Praise God!  It is truly miraculous.  We were hoping to have collected enough money to purchase it by Christmas but now they will have it before Thanksgiving!  It will be delivered and set up Thursday, November 10, 2011.  When I asked the children what is bad about their old stove, they showed me how, when they opened the oven door, it falls off onto the floor.   Today I went to Troyer's Repair, an Amish stove sales and service shop on SR 241 between Millersburg and Mt. Hope.  What a joy it was to purchase a brand new stove for them!

Amish-Made Baskets
 We have been sending guests to this home to purchase handmade baskets which is their main source of income since they lost their entire herd of cattle to a disease about two years ago.  They are a family with nine children.  This is probably the happiest and most cohesive Amish family I have ever met.  The children are friendly and are eager to work and contribute in the day-to-day operation of the family.  Their young girls can total up a customer's bill and make change better than most other little "Worldly girls."

The Swartzentruber Amish, named after a leader, are the strictest of the local Amish.  Governed by the hand of the church and their bishop. The Swartzentruber follow very restrictive guidelines for living; some of which include no hiring of drivers to go to a job site, minimal or no use of power tools.  They use a saw run by a gas motor.  They do not have refrigerators or rent freezer space, nor do they carry the slow-moving triangle on their buggies.  Farming is with work horses.  It's not unusual to see young boys drive teams of horses. To learn more about the Amish, follow the ministry of Joe Keim, who both he and his wife, were raised Swartzentruber Amish and have a great love for their people. 

Come to The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast where, at breakfast time, we share about our culture and community.  In a followup blog, I will share photos of the new stove after it is installed.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 3, 2011