Thursday, October 23, 2014

Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns Brings Twelve Days of Christmas to Life

The 7th Annual Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns is arguably the Amish Country Lodging Council's most anticipated event of the year. Featuring twelve inns and bed and breakfasts from the area, this tour is an excellent opportunity to see the best of what Amish Country hospitality has to offer. Though not on tour this year, the Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast is still an active part of the Cookie Tour, with Loretta's one-of-a-kind quilt headlining the event.

The Amish Country Lodging Council created the Christmas Cookie tour of Inns as a fundraiser for local charities, and a way to showcase the unique styles of local innkeepers. Since 2008, the event has raised $75,000 for various organizations across Amish Country. This year, proceeds from the tickets (which go on sale November 1st) are LifeCare Hospice and the Holmes County Education Foundation. The Lodging Council hopes to raise $30,000 this year.

Loretta Coblentz and the rest of the Barn Inn staff have been deeply involved with the Cookie Tour since its inception, being part of the tour each year until 2014. Instead of being on tour, The Barn Inn is being featured through Loretta's hand-made, completely original quilt made of individual squares of each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. These quilt squares will serve as markers in the form of large banners outside each inn on the tour for the entire month of December. In addition, we are encouraging people to stay with us if they plan to take the Cooke Tour. If you reserve one of our rooms and make note that you are going on the Christmas Cookie Tour, you will be given a complimentary copy of our Festive Favorites cookbook, which includes many delightful cookie recipes for any occasion.

Tickets for the Christmas Cookie Tour go on sale November 1st. We highly encourage you to buy your tickets as soon as possible, as they will sell out quickly. The 2013 Cookie tour tickets sold out in only a week's time! Don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to see the absolute best of what our innkeepers have to offer in Amish Country.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What Keeps the Amish Society and Religion Intact

Many guests to the Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast ask the question, "What keeps the Amish religion and society intact?"  The Amish are a distinct cultural and religious folk society with both social and psychological characteristics they hold in common.  It is a society that is based upon deliberate and willful choices by members to join in a union of agreement to a specific Ordnung.  Their society is maintained by harmony that is ennobled by folkways, mores, traditions, and religious beliefs.

Amish Barn Raising
The German word "gemeinschaft" aptly describes the Amish.  "Gemeinschaft" is an association of individuals who maintain common sentiments, tastes, and attitudes; a society characterized by a strong sense of community, identity, close personal relationships, and a strong commitment to tradition.

Early Amish Homestead in Holmes County Ohio
 Because there are so many facets to this society, it would be impossible, in one post, to give little more than an introduction to this subject.  The Amish are both a society and a religion.  All of the Amish, irregardless of their sect, are distinctive in maintaining a doctrine and practice of nonconformity to the world.  The primary scripture verse on which their religion is based is a verse from Romans 12:2  "...Be ye not conformed to the world...."  Reference is also made to the verse; II Thessalonians 2:15  "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."  My husband and I embrace these same scriptures, but define them differently than the Amish do.  We would describe the kingdom of God as a spiritual kingdom, fought in a different way.  Referencing the second verse, we believe the Apostle Paul was speaking about a tradition of faith, not how great grandpa harvested his crops.

Amish Farmer Holmes County Ohio

 Undoubtedly there are numerous reasons why the Amish are maintaining their numbers and see continued growth.  I will present some ideas here.

1)  Many are happy and content to stay Amish.  They enjoy their common bonds, fellowship, and see their church as the true church of Jesus Christ.

2)  They might feel like they are betraying their forefathers if they were to leave.  There is almost never an Amish church service where they do not mention their forefathers, those who, during the Reformation, gave their lives for the sake of Christ.  Always stressed is, "Honor thy mother and father."  Those contemplating leaving suffer many stern admonitions from those around them.

3)  The Bann und Meidung.  These words in English mean excommunication and shunning.  In English, the Amish do not use the word shun, but rather "Avoidance."  The meidung, or shunning is applied in different ways depending on the church, the community, and/or the family.  Some shunnings are dictated by the church, other shunnings (avoidances) are mandated by the family. The Bann (or Bonn as the Amish call it today) has, since the 1600's been the source of many divisions within the Amish and stricter Mennonites.  The bon is an effective way of dealing with the nonconforming member, thus removing him from social relationships and community status.  No longer does this person have influence on the church, thus aiding the church to remain socially isolated from the erring one.  Additionally, there is great influence by the majority.  It would be socially unacceptable for a member to defend the "Erring soul."

Examples of things an Amish person could get excommunicated for:

a) Attending a more liberal Amish or a Mennonite church.

b) Attending revival meetings or Bible studies and not making a confession for it.
c) Noncompliance to church rules, which could be almost anything.
d) If they commit an actual Biblical sin and refuse to repent.

My husband, who was raised Amish, says, that while he was never told this is so many words, he believed that if he ever left the Amish, he would be condemned to hell.

For more information and DVDs visit American Experience.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
October 19, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Holmes County named in Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves Worldwide

Although short, National Geographic’s article on the best places to see fall foliage worldwide included our very own Holmes County in the heart of Amish Country.  The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast is a great place to stay if you’re looking to see the changing leaves, as it is conveniently located between Millersburg and Berlin. We at the Barn recommend the southeast corner of Holmes County for the most picturesque countryside, south of Berlin and Charm.
Autumn is often the busiest season in Amish Country; visitors from around the world come to experience and indulge in all that the Amish and their wares have to offer during the harvest. Locals and tourists alike have admired the beautiful array of colors that paint the rolling hills of Holmes County for generations, so the affirmation of its beauty by National Geographic is a welcome accolade. 
The excerpt in the list, which also includes locations in New Mexico and California, reads: “In the heart of central Ohio’s Amish Country, maple, oak, and the iconic state tree, the buckeye, hang over narrow roads that meander through wavy fields of corn. Drive under the boughs of bright reds and yellows, sharing the road with horse-drawn carriages of the Old Order Amish and stopping at roadside farm stands along the way.”

The Holmes County Chamber of Commerce has provided a link to the article on their website to highlight its importance. It can also be found here. Additional pictures of autumn in Amish Country can be found here.

The Barn Inn's Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

This fall, these Pumpkin flavored steel cut oats are one of the new menu favorites of Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast guests. This gluten-free dish is a lovely departure from standard oatmeal, and we are posting this recipe upon multiple requests. This recipe serves 4-6 people, but we serve ours in 6 oz cups.

Loretta’s Pumpkin Flavored Steel-Cut Oats
1 tbsp butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water
1 cup milk
½ cup applesauce
1 tsp salt
1 cup pumpkin
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp honey

Melt butter in large sauce pan. Add steel cut oats. Brown the oats (be careful not to scorch), then add water.  Simmer approximately 15 minutes before adding remaining ingredients on low heat. Be careful, because steel cut oats tend to cook over if left unattended and make a large mess. Because I have a gas stove, I begin cooking this two hours in advance of serving time. I start it, and let it sit on the pilot light, and the pilot provides enough heat to slowly cook the oats. About a half hour before serving time, I add the remaining ingredients and cook until the oats are soft. Serve with toasted almonds, brown sugar, and milk.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Amish Country Ohio October Events

Mark your calendars! There are plenty of fun fall activities taking place in Amish Country Ohio this month. As the leaves begin to change and the air gets cooler come stay in one of the cozy guest rooms at the Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast and take in one of the many fall festivities taking place only minutes away!

Antique Festival in Millersburg, Festivity in Charm, & Yoder's Amish Home

Family Night at Hershberger's Farm & BakeryOctober 3, 2014. Join Hershberger's Farm & Bakery for an evening of food, pumpkin picking, and free pony and buggy rides. Call 330-674-6096 for more information. Location: 5452 State Route 557.

Apple Butter Stirring at Yoder's Amish Home - October 4 & 11, 2014. Come help the Yoder's make Apple Butter! When you visit, you can take a turn stirring the butter and even take a sample! 6050 State Route 515.

Apple Fest at Schrock's Amish Farm & Village - October 4, 2014. Visit Schrock's Amish Farm in Berlin on Saturday for an evening of fun activities and music, free wagon rides, a petting zoo, homemade ice cream & apple dumplings, kettle corn, and schnitz pies. Amish Country Bluegrass will be playing from 3:00 pm - dark. Location: 4359 State Route 39.

Holmes County Antique Festival - October 4-5, 2014. Two days of antique market, arts and crafts, 5K race, parades, and free entertainment in Historic Downtown Millersburg. For more information email:

Charm Days - October 10-11, 2014. During the annual Charm Days event, enjoy sales from the Charm vendors and much more! Keim Lumber will be open Friday from 7am. - 7pm. and on Saturday 7am. - 12 pm. Bring the kids for the Wooly Worn Derby, which is always a must see!

Fall Festival at The Farm at Walnut Creek - October 11, 2014. The Farm at Walnut Creek will be open at 8:30 am. and will not close until dark. Come join in the fun: food, fall decorations, horseshoeing, broom making, pumpkin slingshot, and much more! There will be activities for all ages! Emery Stutzman from Dundee will demonstrate farrier & black smith techniques. Location: 4147 CR 114.

For more upcoming events click here for our calender of events, or call The Barn Inn at 330-674-7600 for information on events in the area. 

Submitted by: Elizabeth Beam
October 1, 2014