Holmes County Adventure Day

The first week Tom and I were back in Ohio, we had a Holmes County Adventure Day – just the two of us.  But we had so much fun, that we got Mom and Dad and went back to two of the same places for another Holmes County Adventure Day with them.

Tom learned how to make buckets over the summer and he wants to continue developing that skill.  In order to do so, he needs some of the specialized tools that coopering takes.  The best place to find old specialized hand tools is the Colonial Homestead Antique Shop, owned by Dan Raber.  We have been there several times and Tom called Dan to be sure he would have some of the tools Tom wanted.

The Colonial Homestead Antique Shop has moved from downtown Millersburg to a larger space outside town.  It was still chock full of tools.  In fact, Dan got rid of most of the antiques that weren’t tools.  Tom found almost all the tools he needed.  There were two things he wanted that Dan didn’t have.  Dan said he would look out for the barrel measure gauge, because it is very rare and difficult to find.  Tom also wanted a froe and Dan didn’t have one in stock, so he sold Tom his.  Dan was going to an big antique show later in the week and knew he could get another one there.  Now that is personal service!

After loading up with tools at Colonial Homestead, Tom told me to pick a place for lunch.  I picked Hershbergers Farm and Bakery which was close by.  When we got there, we were amazed by the size of the Holmes County operation.  I expected a bakery with some sandwiches but it was so much more.

Hershbergers Farm and Bakery has at least four separate stores in one location.  We started with the “restaurant” portion because I was hungry!  Tom and I both ordered burgers made from Angus beef raised on the farm.  The burgers weren’t anything special, but we could have also gotten kettle corn which was being popped right there, or home churned ice cream.   The food was all served from booths outside and there were plenty of picnic tables where we could eat.  While we ate, we watched a farrier shoeing a big work horse.

Next we headed to the bakery which also included a big cheese shop and candy store.  When we took Mom and Dad there, Dad was very pleased by the price of the locally made maple syrup.  Jackie had asked for an apple pie, so I had to ask her which kind:  double crust or dutch apple.  They had small pies, so I ended up getting her one of each.  We also got some chocolate chip bars and some filled cookies.  There were Amish Fry Pies and delicious smelling donuts.

Small pumpkins
Bigger pumpkins
A really big pumpkin!
Apple pies

Next to the bakery was lots of fresh produce.  In October it was mostly apples, pumpkins, and gourds.  The gourds were beautiful and they had a giant pumpkin on display out front.  Mom got some yellow delicious apples and we enjoyed those for a snack later in the afternoon.

Across the drive from the bakery was an antique store, a huge lawn chair display, and a leather shop.  The antique store looked small, compared to Colonial Homestead, but it was filled with kinds of treasures.  Tom, with Dad’s help, found another tool that Dan had not had.  The lawn chairs were perfectly situated to provide a resting place for people waiting while companions shopped.

The final section of Hershbergers Farm and Bakery was a petting zoo and Amish buggy rides.  The petting zoo was $5 per person and there was a line of parents and grandparents with children.  The Amish buggy rides were $7 per person and they would take you out to the pumpkin patch to choose your own pumpkin.  I was amazed at the size of the operation and the number of people there.  Not only were there tons of Amish working, but there were hundreds of visitors.  We even saw an Amish school children field trip!

After leaving Herschbergers, we went to Lehman’s Hardware Store in northern Holmes County.  Mom and Dad had been there before but it was new to Tom and I.  When you go into Lehman’s, they give you a map and tell you to plan on spending two hours exploring the store.  It is huge and goes on and on.   Lehman’s caters to the Amish and people looking for old-fashioned tools and home goods.  It has a national reputation.  When we were looking for a hand-cranked ice cream maker at Fort Union, Ranger Lisa told us to look at Lehman’s.

Paul Weaver carvings

Tom and I spent a lot of time wandering around the store.  We saw wood stoves and gas lamps.  Some very pricey appliances that looked like they belonged in the 1930’s.  There was a puzzle and card section.  A big tool section without a single power tool.  Scattered around the store were antiques of many different kinds but they weren’t for sale.  There were meat grinders and hand cranked washing machines.  Tom liked the book section which had the Foxfire series and other tool books.  None of the toys in the big toy and game room required a single battery.

When we went back with Mom and Dad, we spent most of our time in the Buggy Barn, which had a display of wood carvings by artist Paul Weaver.  Paul Weaver carves out of a single piece butternut wood.  His carvings are remarkably detailed and three-dimensional.  We loved admiring each carving and picking out the little details that made them so wonderful.  Lehman’s has lots of special events like this through the year.

We enjoyed both of our days in Holmes County.  Every time we go we find something new and interesting to explore.