Day 4: June 19, 2012
Touring Amish Country
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There are bus tours, which start at 8:00 AM, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Someone figured out that we could get in the group picture fifteen minutes ahead of the first tour. That was actually a pretty good idea but 7:45 sounds so much earlier than 8:00.

As is typical of LHA conferences, there were bus tours planned going both east and west on the Lincoln Highway. Standard procedure has been to have all participants tour both directions either by the whole group going one direction one day and the opposite direction the nest or by having half the group go each direction on one day then switching the next. Since many attendees had seen much of the nearby Lincoln Highway via past conferences in Ohio and neighboring states, something a little different was done this year. On each day, one bus toured the Lincoln, going west on Tuesday and east on Wednesday. A second bus did a tour that didn't entirely ignore the Lincoln Highway but which was focused on something else. On Tuesday this focus was on the area's large Amish population and that's the tour I opted for.

Our first stop was at a furniture factory/showroom. There is plenty of information available on the Amish and I suggest that anyone unfamiliar with them check some of it out. I won't even attempt to describe this complex and admirable Christian sect beyond explaining that all Amish orders shun the use on technological advances to some degree. Green Acres Furniture uses electricity but only that which they generate themselves. The company is not connected to the power grid. Almost all of the wood they use is harvested and sawed locally. Oak, maple, and cherry are commonly used although a couple slabs of local walnut are displayed. Anyone purchasing custom made furniture can select the actual pieces of wood to be used. Some power tools are used in the construction but no real automation. Green Acres will artificially "distress" furniture to make it appear aged and used. That is, of course, all done by hand and a customer sometimes comes in to personally add marks before a piece is finished.

Our on bus guide and narrator was Mark Pringle. Sorry that I have only the back of his head in a photo. Mark wrote a book on the Amish titled Back Roads & Buggy Trails. I have the book but could find nothing about it online. When I told Mark I thought I had his book and described it for verification, he said. "You must be pretty old. It's been out of print a long time."

ADDENDUM: Jun 23, 2012 - When I got home, I discovered that the book I was thinking of, while bearing the name Back Roads & Buggy Trails, was authored by Lorraine A. Moore. It has a copyright date of 1998. Perhaps Mark's book was published in earlier pre-web times. I'm still pretty old, though.

Our next stop was at an Amish home; actually two Amish homes. The house on the right was built in 1866 and the larger house on the left was built by the next generation in 1886. Both are unoccupied but furnished. Mary, who was raised Amish but left the order, was our guide and was able to answer every question put to her. There were Amish girls baking in the kitchen and hot fresh-from-the-oven treats cooled on a table. In the next room there was a table filled with previously baked item. Cookies were 50 cents a piece. I got two. Shoulda got more.

Lunch was at Mrs Yoder's Kitchen where an endless supply of delicious food was served family style. Sorry I got no pictures of the food but I was pretty busy eating.

Kauffman's Country Bakery and Heini's Cheese Chalet are across the road from each other. At the Chalet, you can peer into the cheese making plant but the day's cheese making was already done when we were there and workmen were busy cleaning the equipment.

Lehman's is one of those stores that's hard to describe. In supplying the Amish community, they have developed an inventory of non-electric items that others find useful but can't find anywhere else. There are the big things like wood-burning cook stoves and gas powered washing machines. And there are lots of smaller things like kerosene lanterns and lamp chimneys. Some of the space near the ceiling serves as a museum of sorts with various displays. I especially liked the wild variety of hand pumps.

Back in Canton, the cruise-in was getting started by the time we returned. By coincidence, the Marmon Club's Mighty Marmon Muster was happening in Canton this week and a half dozen of the rare cars took part in the cruise-in. There were also eleven Corvairs and two Ford woodies. The fellow with the '46 has owned it since 1959 and, although it's been stored for many years, it's never been restored. Engine and running gear repairs have occurred but that's pretty much it. Love it. I also like the wood interior in the '49.

One end of the cruise-in was practically in front of the Canton Classic Car Museum where conference attendees got free admission and everyone got a discount. I very much enjoyed the museum but, since I've been there a couple of times in the past, am skimping on posting photographs.

When the book room first opened after Tuesday night's banquet, it was jammed and getting photos was a challenge. Though there was still plenty of traffic, there was a lot more open space tonight.

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