April 2009 Issue
Understanding the Amish, Step Four - Stay with an Amish Family
Over the past 20 years, a few Amish have begun offering lodging for tourists. But these tend to be in separate quarters, often a dowdy house that’s no longer required for grandparents’ use. Visitors seldom get to interact with the Amish owners.
It’s delightfully different at The Farmstead B Inn B, just north of Mount Hope in Holmes County. At this unique B&B, guests are treated like family — sharing meals and trying their hand at chores in the dairy barn.
Kathy and Willis Miller, and their children Diane, 16, Krista, 13, and Timothy, 8, seem to get a kick out of entertaining visitors. They play Dutch Blitz, a fast-paced Amish card game, after supper. Sometimes, as a special treat, Diane offers to hitch up the buggy and drive the guests to Mrs. Yoder’s Amish Kitchen, a mile down the road. Some guests request a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call so they can go out to the pasture with the kids to herd up the cows and bring them into the barn for milking.
The guest accommodations are in a ground-floor apartment that’s attached to the big house, but also has its own private entrance. All rooms are plain but comfortable. The well-stocked kitchen has gas-powered lights and appliances. The large bedroom/sitting room has two queen-sized beds, covered with gorgeous hand-sewn quilts. Front windows give a perfect view of the buggy and bicycle traffic on this busy county road.
“Rush hour” occurs on weekday afternoons, when the local Amish are heading home from work. Nowadays, most Old Order Amish families depend on non-farming jobs for part of their income. Men and boys work in local factories. Women and girls work in restaurants and shops. Kathy Miller says she started the B&B three years ago so she and her children could work at home. She’s busy, especially in tourist season, and the kids have learned to respond to outsiders’ curiosity — and to ask some questions of their own.
8457 Co. Rd. 77, Fredericksburg 44627, 330/674-0603 (leave message).