Travel With Kids: Holmes County

We spent the last four days in rural Ohio [specifically, Holmes County]. At first, we were a little dismayed by the winding roads. There wasn't a Target, Starbucks, fuel station, or freeway in sight. (We didn't even have a cell phone signal for most of our trip!).

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When we pulled into Whispering Hills RV Park, we sighed a great sigh of relief. The park is beautiful to behold. Masterly cared for, the campground is both modern and quaint, active yet also serene. We walked through the woods. We swam. We played miniature golf. We held kittens, watched bunnies and goats, and experienced the dark skies of an Ohio thunderstorm.

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On Tuesday night, we had dinner with an Amish family. Amish Heartland Tours coordinates these spectacular Campfire Chit-Chats. Essentially, we met a group of 10-25 people at an Amish home for stew and cornbread outdoors around a fire. From 6-9pm, we ate and laughed and sang songs. Our girls were absolutely enchanted by the night. There were kids everywhere (Amish families tend to have big families, between 5-10 kids) - jumping on trampolines, planning in the sandbox, running carefree in their bare feet. There were plastic cups of homemade root beer and sticky hands holding on to messy S'mores. On the drive home, Tim stared ahead into the milky darkness as the girls nodded off, "I could almost move right into the Amish community. Just for a year."

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We also both solemnly agreed that our next house must have a backyard with a fire pit...so that we can invite friends and neighbors over for stew and cornbread.

If you want a vacation full of hustle-and-bustle, look elsewhere. If you want to relax - slow down - soak in the quiet...Holmes County may be just the spot you're looking for.

Have you ever been to Holmes County (or Ohio in general)? What did you like/not like about it?

* Special thanks to the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce for providing a campground spot and tickets to the Campfire Chit-Chat.

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25 comments on “Travel With Kids: Holmes County”

  1. My family and I just recently moved to Tucson...from Ohio. Holmes county was one of our favorite weekend get-a-ways. We loved sampling the cheese at the Guiggisberg (sp?) cheese factory, taking the kids to the petting farms, driving through the rolling hills, biking on the "buggy" trails, eating amish food served by amish waitresses...and just taking a step back in time. That was our last weekend away as a family in Ohio and it was a good one!
    I am so intrigued by your journey you took for a year in your RV. I would love to hear that all conspired...

    1. Welcome to Tucson! Summer is a rough time to move in, but...I think you will absolutely love it here. :)

      How old are your kids? Do you have any questions about Southern Arizona? I'd be happy to share recommendations for parks, libraries, medical providers, etc.

      On that same note, have you seen TucsonTopia? My husband and I run that site, along with a team of five writers. It's all about where to go and what to do in Tucson: http://tucsontopia.com.

  2. Stephanie, because of this post we are headed to Holmes County! We are driving from Nashville to Buffalo, NY and stopping here along the way!! Looking forward to it.

  3. I lived not far from Holmes County until my early 30's. I love the area and it will always be home in my heart. I wish I could raise my children in the area I was raised - the values and morals are so much more in line with mine and my husband's than where we live now. Unfortunately, the job market there isn't great.

  4. My dad is from Ohio and my grandparents lived in Akron so we visited there a few times. I wouldn't choose to live there, I love my mountains on the horizon! I also don't care for the humidity... ;)
    I do remember one spectacular thunderstorm though when I watched lighting fork into 3 pieces and hit the ground out across a field!

  5. Don't you just love vacations? My family recently returned from a two week vacation to Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, and back to Wisconsin. The change of ace was o exciting and renewing.

      1. Yes. We saw Yellowstone, Thermopolis, Devil's Tower,
        Mount Rushmore, and other sights along the way. We had a blast, and our 2 and 4-year-olds did really well! I hope you all have fun!

  6. I've never been to Ohio but have relatives who live near Columbus. I'll have to tell them about Holmes county!

  7. Hello Stephanie and family~ On behalf of the Amish family as well as Amish Heartland Tours, we enjoyed your company at the Campfire Chit-Chat. Your girls "fit right in" with the Amish children as they played in the sand box and interacted. It was interesting to learn more about your mission/journey and travels to see where the Lord leads you. Its obvious, you have a love for family, children, travel, writing, etc. WOW! Looking forward to reading your blog on a weekly basis. God's Blessings along life way!

    1. Hello La Vonne! Thanks so much for commenting here! You were a WONDERFUL host and clearly very knowledgable about the Amish culture. I'm delighted that we were able to attend the Campfire Chit-Chat last week and I will continue to highly recommend it to to other travelers.

  8. I actually lived in Ohio for a few years when I was a pre-teen. We lived up in the Cleveland area - so much culture, and snow and music! Never have visited Holmes County but I do love spending time in the Amish communities around us here in Missouri

  9. This post gave me goosebumps...it made me feel like I was there with you! I love that you ate stew, cornbread and sang songs. What was the biggest impact that the Amish made on you, that you would consider living in the Amish Community for a year?

    Ohio is a great state, like Michigan it has so much to offer i.e. lakes, the beautiful green trees and grass and amazing country that is quiet and peaceful. I love visiting the Mid-West!

    P.S. I love how big the girls smiles are in the pictures...you can tell that they are having fun!

    1. Although it would be an interesting social experiment, we wouldn't really live among the Amish for a year. There are things that are both appalling and appealing to us about the culture...but, in the end, we choose technology and education and freedom. :)

  10. This sounds good for the soul. We need something like this soon! We are headed to Michigan at the end of August, and I hope it's a retreat of sorts. Those times are good. Very good.

    1. I hope your time in Michigan is refreshing + renewing for your whole family. Are you flying or driving?

  11. We live in Ohio, but have only been to the Holmes County region once. I love it out that way in Ohio. First, I love the outdoors and there's a lot of activities to do outdoors. We especially enjoyed hiking some trails. Secondly, I love all the food available out there!

  12. Seriously Amazing!! Would be wonderful to experience what you guys are experienceing. I am so happy for you guys. Can't wait to see you again and have some backyard fires of our own. :)

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