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Scenic Hills attracts tourists

Katherine Ryder Published: September 1, 2010 8:46 AM
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As owner and operator of Scenic Hills RV Park, Sam Hershberger finds that the peace and quiet of an Amish country lifestyle is mirrored in the park.

Nestled in northeast Ohio, perfectly centered in Holmes County, Scenic Hills sits on 30 acres of Amish countryside. With its spacious surroundings and country view, tourists can relax and vacation in the comfort of their own homes.

The RV Park contains 112 total parking sites, six of which are referred to as super sites.

"The super sites have a patio and the extra elbow room for larger units," Hershberger said.

As Hershberger puts it, people like to take their homes with them when they travel. In a self-contained RV Park singles, couples and families can spend their days exploring the park, shopping or attending a benefit auction.

"A benefit auction is a typical auction where people donate the items and all the profits are given to a certain charity or organization in need," he said. "In the past we've given to the Katrina relief, various schools and the Haiti disaster." Hershberger started the business 20 years ago when the opportunity presented itself.

"The first year was a test," he said. "Just to see how the park would operate and how much interest we could generate."

After that first year the Hershberger family had the go-ahead to believe the RV Park would be a success. The Holmes County tourist attraction and lodging center brings in people from all over the world.

"Nearly the best part of owning the park is visiting with the people that come," he said. "We meet a lot of interesting people who come from all over the U.S., Canada, Australia and Spain."

According to Hershberger, the park has increased in popularity over the past five years. The facilities are especially favored by people who have reached retirement.

"We are busiest from September through the early part of October," he said. "The weather is just very nice that time of year and we have a lot of activities to offer our guests."

Apart from the recreation, visitors can dine in one of the many restaurants nearby that offer homecooking and a welcoming atmosphere. Some of these restaurants include Der Dutchman, Chalet in the Valley Restaurant and The Amish Door.

"Der Dutchman is typically the best in homecooking and the Amish atmosphere," Hershberger said. "Chalet in the Valley has a Swiss feel to it with its emphasis being on the traditions of Switzerland. Then Amish Door is more for a buffet style of eating.

"We wanted to offer a variety for our travelers."

Like all businesses, Scenic Hills has its own competition. Neighboring villages that offer similar RV Parks, such as Winesburg and Walnut Creek, work along with Millersburg to provide the best experience for their travelers.

"We all work very well together," Hershberger said. "Winesburg cannot handle larger units so they'll send travelers our way. We have a very good working relationship."

When Hershberger was 18 years old he traveled to Florida with his sister in an RV. They enjoyed the trip so much that he believed it could be something to do for a living.

Hershberger still takes trips with his family. They travel to the South, mainly Florida, during the winter months.

"We most often head to Florida to visit relatives and enjoy the warmer climate," he said. "But also it's an opportunity to see how people operate their own RV parks. We become the customer and are given a chance to see what we could do differently."

Apart from the family road trips and full-time work with Scenic Hills, Hershberger and his family also do missionary work.

"I've been to Papua, New Guinea, which is in the northern part of Australia quite a few times," he said. "I provide mechanical and financial help along with some schooling in a remote part of the jungle."

The remote jungle is a 100-mile area known as the Hauna Village.

Hershberger has also traveled to Haiti, Liberia and Africa. Through Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), which he and his wife, Mary, are actively involved in, their focus remains on disaster relief and the ability to bring help to those who are less fortunate.

"We believe we are to help our brothers in need and share our goods and services with them," Hershberger said. "When we come home from a Third World country we just have a great appreciation for the many blessings we have here in Ohio."

For more information about Scenic Hills visit www.scenichillsrvpark.com/fea_area.html. Find details about area activities at the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce or on its website http://holmescountychamber.com.

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