Yoder's Amish Home: an authentic experience

Katherine Ryder Published:

For the past 26 years, Eli and Gloria Yoder have managed one of the most authentic tourist attractions found in Ohio Amish country. As Ohio houses the largest Amish settlement in the U.S., Eli and Gloria wanted to bring something to the area that locals and tourists alike could appreciate and learn from. "We've done a fair amount of traveling in Pennsylvania," Gloria said, "and there are many tourist attractions in that area. However, at the time when we renovated this farm there wasn't much for visitors to do." Even though times and progress have changed that, Yoder's Amish Home still maintains a very popular place to visit. According to the business' website Yoder's Amish Home opened to the public in 1983. "We have strived for authenticity and want to share our knowledge and heritage with you. Friendly and knowledgeable guides will take you on conducted tours through the two houses and a barn full of farm animals." Authenticity is a large priority for the Yoder family. "Something we always try to maintain is our authentic farm," Gloria said. "It's a real farm and we're still able to have it open to the public." Eli stresses that he would never want to commercialize the business. "When we bought the place and sought out to renovate everything we had a few Amish bishops who suggested that same idea " that we not commercialize," Eli said. Among the barn tour and house tours, Yoder's Amish Home also offers its guests to go on a buggy ride. Part of the non-commercialized idea is that the Yoder family does not want to exploit the Amish or their lifestyle. "Our focus is to share our lifestyle of the area with (our guests) so they can appreciate the area and the lifestyle more," Gloria said. Over the years, Gloria marks the business' biggest success as its authenticity. Eli regards it also as its attraction. "Our busiest times of the year is summer and fall," Eli said. "The majority of our guests are here from word of mouth. People enjoy coming and they tell others about it. That's what has kept us so successful." Yoder's Amish Home runs a minimum of 24 tours a day. Each tour is approximately 30-40 minutes long. The business is located at 6050 Ohio 515, Millersburg. For more information call 330-893-2541 or visit www.yodersamishhome.com. Barn Tour The barn tour will take you through our 119 year old bank barn. The barn is always the center of an Old Order Amish homestead. Our barn, built in 1885, is no exception. Visit during the spring and you'll be sure to see many newborn farm animals. Children especially enjoy the baby bunnies, lambs (we often have twins and even triplets), Beagle puppies and colts. Our friendly guides will gladly get the babies out for you to hold. While in the barn, be sure to look up. The unique architecture includes hand hewn beams and pegs. They don't build barns like this anymore. The barn swallows love the barn. Look carefully and you just might see a few new little ones waiting for a meal from mom. Guided Tours If you have questions about the things you see in our area, or have heard or read different things you are unclear about, our tour is for you. Our local, knowledgeable guides take you on a 30-40 minute tour through both homes on the property and the barn. Your guide will explain a great deal about the history and lifestyle of the Amish people. Since Holmes County has the largest population of Amish anywhere in the world, this would be a great place to start your trip. Then, as you are traveling about the area, you will have a better understanding of what you are seeing. Buggy Rides We wouldn't think of you coming all the way to visit us without the opportunity to take a ride in an authentic Amish buggy! Our drivers are all members of the Amish church and enjoy talking with all of our visitors! The ride takes you out around the hay field, about 3/4 of a mile. We want to give you a chance to see how our people get around the beautiful countryside of Holmes County. And you can sit up front and experience the ride, right beside the driver. Enjoy your ride! Field Trips Tour Yoder's Amish Home for your next school field trip. Our tour is adaptable to all grade levels as well as special needs students. Our knowledgeable, local tour guides take your class through two homes and the barn where we encourage all to hold and pet the animals. The tour explains the history and lifestyle of the Amish people, and is geared toward the age of your students. This fits in well with your studies of different cultures and people. While at Yoder's Amish Home, take a buggy ride, too! We have authentic buggies and Amish drivers. Also, weather permitting, we offer a horse-drawn hayride. Hop onto our open hay wagon for a fun ride down the lane. We use a team of large workhorses to give your class an idea of how the Amish use these horses for field work. There are many picnic tables available for you to eat your packed lunch, plus a new pavilion to be used if the weather is unfavorable. Restrooms are on the premises as well, and we have a small gift shop for purchasing souvenirs.

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