Okay, autumn is in full swing right now, into the weekend and into next weekend…drum roll…here are my top favorite drives to get in some amazing colors while soaking in a lot of Amish ambiance. So as you drive through color-cloaked valleys of crimson and orange, you can stop at road-side stands selling freshly-made cider, late-season squash, or plump pumpkins. Autumn in Amish country is one word: amazing.
And, I know, I know, some of you will disagree with my list, but these are my recommendations. If you have any, feel free to add them in the comments section below. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this on the computer, you have at least rudimentary mapping knowledge, so you can enter these places into your GPS without me needing to give super specific directions:
ADAMS COUNTY, OHIO - GRACES RUN ROAD TO BURNT CABIN ROAD: Adams County is sometimes known as “The Little Smokies.” This county is honeycombed with hills that burst with color in the autumn. While you really can’t go wrong anywhere in this area, my favorite drive is to catch Graces Run where it comes off Route 32 and then travel east. You’ll pass over the gorgeous Harshaville Covered Bridge and get a sense of the area’s rich history.
PEARISBURG, VIRGINIA - Travel on Virginia Route 42 from Staffordsville to Bland. Midway through the route you’ll stumble upon the The White Gate Amish community located in wide green valley of farmland and old homes in the extreme southwestern corner of Giles County. The mountains come alive in a riot of colors as we approach the fall color peak. While here you’ll want to explore this fascinating and fun Amish settlement.
NEW - WAYNE COUNTY, INDIANA: Get a taste of Lancaster County,PENNSYLVANIA by cruising through this bucolic slice of east-central INDIANA (The Amish moved here from Lancaster County bring many of their customs and traditions with them, like gray buggies)...start on US 35, take Carlos Road to Morgan Creek Road to Bockhofer and continue on to US 27. You'll pass Amish businesses, farms, and plenty of color-splashed trees. End your drive at the Amish-owned Fountain Acre Foods on US 27 just south of Fountain City.
NEW - ROSS COUNTY, OHIO Ohio State Route 41 from Bainbridge to Sinking Spring. You'll pass through gorgeous hill country cloaked in color. Stop at the Country Crust Bakery in Bainbridge and JR' General Store, both Old Order Mennonite businesses. Then head to Sinking Spring. Once in Sinking Spring, head west on Sinking Spring Road and explore the Swartzentruber Amish community.
KNOX COUNTY, OHIO: Brinkhaven to Killbuck. You’ll pass by the 340 long “Bridge of Dreams” which you can walk onto and enjoy the clip-clopping of buggies as they race by on nearby US 62. Don’t mean to be stuck on a covered bridge theme, but in autumn they really do make for wonderful color backdrops!
HOLMES COUNTY, OHIO: Route 557 from Berlin to Charm, Ohio. I’ll be honest, trying to pick one single route in the whole Holmes County area to recommend is tough. Just go off the main roads and enjoy. But if you can’t go but one spot, pick up Route 557 just west of Berlin and head south to Charm and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of Amish ambiance and autumn colors. And before you turn onto Route 557 be sure to stop at Sharp Run Farm Market. The owner, Lloyd Miller, is Amish and he's a great guy. I really like him and his family. Sharp Run has plenty of kid-friend activities if you are looking for somewhere to take the kids or grandchildren.
LANCASTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: Like Holmes County, trying to pick just one drive is tough. But this is one I highly recommend for some autumn and Amish beauty:
Take PA 772 east through the rolling hills and farmland to US 30. Jog east on US 30 to PA 41 South. Follow PA 41 South to Christiana and then get on PA 372 West.