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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend in the Heartland

Ohio Amish County

It seems so long ago now - coming off of eight weeks of rotating viral infections, Corbin's transition to daycare, Christmas celebrations and two big snows - but Lee, Corbin and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We celebrated with PopPop's family and enjoyed catching up with his sister and her family.
Then, for the weekend, we headed north to Amish country to meet my sister and our niece and nephew. I had never been to Amish country, but with her usual attention to detail and eye for adventure, my sister planned a fun and packed day.

The drive up through Chillicothe was beautiful - crisp (a little cold) and blue skies as a backdrop to the fall colors. The view as we traveled over the rolling hills and through the winding country roads reminded me of the reasons I love Ohio. And how exciting to crest a little hill and come upon our first Amish buggy right in front of us!

After a hearty if chaotic (three hungry kids) lunch and some antique browsing, we headed to
Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center. The highlight of the center is Behalt Cyclorama - a indoor 265 foot mural in the round. It was moderately well-executed if a bit melodramatic. WARNING: Not for faint of heart or the very young! The mural tells the story of the Anabaptist people who were persecuted for centuries for their beliefs. As such, the moral contains many and various images of church leaders being martyred. The tour guide spoke for about an hour and described said images in detail. Corbin, of course, is precociously verbal and has giant ears. At about the mid-point of the tour, while the tour guide was commenting that the beheading image she had paused on was just a singular example intended to represent the countless acts of violence perpetrated on the Anabaptists Corbin enthusiastically called out "Violence!!!". So - you are warned.

Next we toured the other featured stops at the Heritage Center.
The schoolhouse, where reading primers used stories about learning to drive carriages to teach grammar and spelling -

Yes Ma'am!

- then the barn and the Conestoga Wagon (invented by an Amish pioneer - who knew!).

Outside the Barn

Next we headed to Lehman's , a giant general store full of old-fashioned goodies. Just the wooden toys and the clothesline supplies sent my heart atwitter! It makes my top three list for funky, rambling, unique but giant shopping adventures, right up there withJungle Jim's and Powell's Books.

Shopping at Lehman's

Little Amish Guy

Next, more yummy comfort food and a quick trip up to Victorian House in Millersburg, Ohio. It was one of the best architectural restorations I've toured - all done by historical society volunteers and even including the basement. Unfortunately, as the house had gone through several hands, very little of the furniture is original but each room contained different antique treasures from throughout Millersburg and many rooms were splendidly decorated for the holidays with too many Christmas trees to count. If you are a fan of historic homes definitely put this one on your list. At a minimum, take the virtual tour on their website.
We left the Millersburg under cover of darkness, with Corbin asleep in the backseat, footy pjs and all.


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