If you hop on the highway and head south, it doesn’t take long to end up in the picturesque countryside, where you can take a wild drive to see animals up close and get a taste of traditional Amish cooking.
Taking your toddler or young child on a day trip might seem intimidating at first. Yes you have to strategize what to pack and the day’s itinerary, but it can be done in Amish Country.
Growing up in Northeast Ohio, the communities of Sugarcreek, Berlin, Walnut Creek and Millersburg is typically the region that people are referring to when they mention “Amish Country”.
Sugarcreek is known as The Little Switzerland of Ohio, with festivals to celebrate the heritage and food to go with it. It takes about an hour from Summit County to get to Sugarcreek, which is the first place you can visit off of I-77 South.
I made our recent day trip a family event. I packed up my almost 3-year-old daughter, mom and grandma into my car and off we went for a day filled with adventure.
A drive through safari, shopping and a sit down meal were my top three goals of the day. We did it and you can too. I suggest making a playlist of fun music, books or a DVD for the drive down and back to make it a smooth trip.
The shopping options, restaurants and bakeries are endless.
When you arrive, here are some of my top suggestions on where to stop to make new memories with your little ones:
1. The Farm at Walnut Creek– This was our first stop of the day.
We arrived in the morning and got our vehicle in line to drive through what would turn into the wildest adventure I’ve ever had behind the wheel.
A Zebra, deer, cows are among just some of the animals that came up to my SUV windows.
You can buy buckets of food to feed the animals. We even got to get up close with a giraffe.
If your kids love animals, they’ll be talking about this experience for days.
2. Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen– You can’t go wrong with a home cooked Amish meal. This restaurant is a family favorite.
They serve you fresh bread with a smile. I love the broasted chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes. The food and the venue is kid friendly and affordable. I just love their peach and apple pie, because it’s the best way to top off the best meal you’ll have all week. If you’re looking to shop near Mount Hope, this is a great spot for lunch or dinner. I also recommend the Der Dutchman and Dutch Valley restaurant if you’re closer by to those restaurants.
3. Shop ‘Til You Drop– Shopping can be in the mix if your kids are up for it. We stopped by the Ashery Country Store, which is not far from Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen, where you can find so many different sweet treats.
We picked out small bags of yogurt covered pretzels, different assortments of candies and baking supplies. The prices are the lowest I’ve seen in that area, so you can stretch your spending money out a little more. Coblentz Chocolates is another great place to stop to pick out your own chocolates. My daughter loved the chocolates on a stick.
More of my favorite shopping spots:
Travel tip: Be sure to list all of the places you might want to go and check out where they are on the map before you go. It helped for me to know which places were closest to each other, so I could map out my plan for the day. Traffic and the distance between each community can eat up time, so it’s important to plan ahead.