Staycation: Amish Country

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MILLERSBURG, Ohio – This month, Fox 8 is featuring summer staycations: Fun daytrip vacations for those on a budget.

In the heart of East-Central Ohio, Amish Country has become the go-to destination for tourists.

“It’s peaceful, lots of rolling hills, and you can come shop,” said Lorene Stutzman of Passport Amish Country. “It’s so different from what you see everywhere else in the world. It’s like stepping back in time.”

Spanning over Holmes, Tuscarawas, Coshocton and Wayne counties, nearly 4 million people visit Amish Country each year. The area’s 80 merchants, like Guggisberg Cheese, have become a sacred part of the community.

The factory, which produces 60 varieties of cheese, is home to the award-winning original baby Swiss. Patrons can watch the cheese being made on site.

“And Swiss cheese isn’t the only cheese,” Stutzman said. “They’ve got many varieties of cheese that you can chose from or the trail Bolognese, which is huge for this area.”

Many stores, restaurants and shops work hand-in-hand.

Across the road, The Guggisberg’s Chalet in the Valley features the store’s cheese.

That same cheese was brought to America by Margaret Guggisberg, who moved to America with her husband in the 1940’s. They first opened a Swiss cheese shop in the Amish community, and then in 1983, opened the Chalet.

The restaurant, now run by Margaret’s granddaughter Ursula, serves Amish foods with a European twist.

“It’s so amazing,” said Ursula. “I feel so honored to kind of carry on what they have created and to be a part of such a wonderful dream.”

Ursula said the restaurant’s most popular items include the Schnitzels, bratwurst, cheese fondue , strudels, black forest cake and apple dumplings.

Yet, the Guggisberg family has also branched out with another area hot-spot the Guggisberg Swiss Inn.

“We have a beautiful location on a hilltop overlooking Doughty Valley,” said Brittania Guggisberg, “Beautiful sunsets. It’s a lot of ambiance you won’t find anywhere else.”

Bed and breakfasts are popular in the area, but the inn features live music performers on the weekends and horseback-riding lessons and sleigh rides in the winter.

Brittania said most of its horses were rescued from bad homes.

“They know all sorts of tricks, real fun to ride,” she said. “But to be here, it’s so breathtaking. I have to stop and take it all in. It’s beautiful.”

Click here to get a great deal on your trip to Amish country.

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