Nice lady haunting one of many graveyards we discovered in Ohio's Amish
A couple of years ago, Ms. Brugger & I headed up to
Ohio's Amish country
—specifically, the little town of
(accent on the first syllable), in Holmes County
out with her folks, Delmar
, who enjoy visiting there on
a regular basis (see
"Hanging With Bigfoot, and Other Amish Tales"
). Once again, over these past few days, we did this thing, having taken a bit
of time off work for the occasion. We headed out Thursday morning for the
roughly 350-mile trip, and—much to your surprise and mine—I found myself hunting
a number of geocaches along the way. The most interesting was probably a
historical location in Virginia, just shy of the West Virginia border, known as
Shot Tower Historical State Park
It's a 75-foot stone tower that was part of an ammunition works in the early
1800s. The cache there (GC7DZXF
) was placed by some folks known as "The Shenandoahs,"
whose caches I
have found from Virginia to South Carolina. Their hides frequently lead you to
intriguing locations, and this one was no exception.
Old Shot Tower viewed from the trail around the location
I-77 viewed from the trail overlook near the Shot Tower
Rather than ride in silence or listening to tunes, we availed ourselves to the
audio book of Paul Tremblay's Bram Stoker Award
Head Full of Ghosts,
which lasted us the entire northbound trip and fair portion of the southbound.
I've had it on my Kindle for far too long, thanks to a book queue I may never
actually get through, but I must say I'm glad Ms. B. felt inclined to treat us
to the audio book, as it made for superb-quality riding/driving time. The
narrator, Joy Osmanski
, nicely brought the characters to life. I've not
read any of Paul's other novels as yet, but I think his
Cabin at the End of the World
will be priority in the upcoming queue.
This little piggy went to (the Amish) market...
for the last time.
Upon our arrival in Berlin, we settled in at
, where we had stayed on our previous visit. Del & Fern were apparently
starving and anxiously awaiting our arrival, for they immediately hustled us off
to the nearby
Boyd & Wurthmann's
restaurant, where we had dined several times last time around. This was the only
meal we had there on this trip, and it was a good one, with Swiss steak, Amish
noodles, and green beans for all of us but Del, who tore into a chopped sirloin
steak. We spent the rest of the evening in traditional Brugger fashion: sipping
wine and watching TV with Del & Fern in their hotel room while riding out a
terrific thunderstorm complete with tornado warning (apparently, a tornado did
touch down and cause severe damage not very far away). We prevailed and then
went to bed.
Last time around, it wasn't particularly cold in Berlin. On this trip, the
warmth wasn't very, and the cold very much was. On Friday and Saturday, we had
flurries of snow off and on, though none of it stuck or caused any travel
issues. And it made for some fun geocaching. Friday morning, I accompanied the
gang on some high-powered, Brugger-style flea marketing and antiquing. Then Ms.
B. and I headed out to nearby Sugarcreek
for a visit to
Silver Moon Winery
, which we had enjoyed, albeit briefly, on our previous trip. I did snag a
couple of caches on this noble endeavor, I am happy to report. It was out here,
while traveling the aptly named Spooky Hollow Road, that we found ourselves
passing through the mysterious, legend-haunted community called "Winklepleck."
By the grace of God, we survived both the winkles and
Sheep appeared very happy to see us.
For dinner, we opted for the Berlin Farmstead
, a very short distance from our home away from home (actually, it's safe to
say that, in Berlin, just about everything of commercial nature is but a short
distance from our home away from home). Now, I will say I loved the food
here—"broasted" chicken, grilled vegetables, and creamed corn—but on this night,
it was particularly crowded, and as for their system of seating patrons...there
was none. The foyer was filled with ravenous people, and although the pair of
young Amish women ostensibly overseeing things inquired as to the number in each
party and dutifully wrote said number on their official number-taking tablet,
they proceeded to seat only whoever happened to be standing closest to their
station at any given moment. After a while, we took it upon ourselves to go
stand close, and thus we managed to sit down. Some folks, I'm not so sure about.
Now, this place has clearly been around for quite some time. I don't know
whether this brand of not-even-slightly controlled chaos is SOP, but I'd sure as
hell hope not. Based on the quality of the food, I'd really like to dine there
on a future trip, but I'd not
be willing to go there hoping I might
actually be seated based on my proximity to a couple of pairs of thoroughly
We spent the rest of the evening in traditional Brugger fashion: sipping wine
and watching TV with Del & Fern in their hotel room, this time sans terrific
thunderstorm and tornado warning.
A massive hornet's nest, thankfully uninhabited,
on old grave marker
Saturday morning saw us venturing forth to nearby Walnut Creek
purchase delicious foodstuffs at the big Amish market there. Afterward, the
Bruggers were determined to press on with the requisite antiquing/shopping, but
I jumped ship and headed out to the more remote, scenic corners of Holmes
County. I managed to find a host of small, damn-near ancient graveyards, not to
mention their attendant geocaches. At one little boneyard, I managed to leave my
hiking stick behind, though I did not realize it until the next
which is where I really could have used it. Here, at a woodland hide called "Panther's Hollow Overhang
), as I was making my way down a particularly steep, slippery embankment, my
feet managed to get away from me. Next thing you know, I'm whooshing down the
incline toward a rocky ravine. I grabbed a handy tree, only to have it laugh at
me and rip off a portion of anatomy on my right hand sufficient to cause
prodigious bleeding and a wee bit of stinging. Seriously, it was merely a flesh
wound but a most annoying occurrence, given that a hiking stick in the hands of
someone less absent-minded might have made a meaningful difference regarding
favorable v. painful outcomes.
A cheesy outhouse at Guggisberg Cheese Works
A nice little graveyard, where I managed to leave my hiking stick behind
Different graveyard, more graves
For Saturday dinner, we opted for pizza at
East of Chicago
, which was pretty good. We spent the rest of the evening in traditional
Brugger fashion: sipping wine and watching TV with Del & Fern in their hotel
room, again sans terrific thunderstorm and tornado warning, although I did
suffer a minor migraine, which wasn't exactly the most pleasing turn of events.
I reckon I can count my blessing it wasn't one of those killer headaches that
occasionally knock me for a loop.
And this morning, after an apparently non-existent long weekend, since we just
bloody got to the place, it was time to say our goodbyes. I tell you, I don't
recall a spell of days that ever passed so quickly. We were there, and then we
weren't. At this point, we have all arrived home safely—I even with my hiking
stick, since we went out to retrieve it prior to hitting the highway. After
finishing up A Head Full of Ghosts
on our return trip, we put on
the audio book of my Ameri-Scares
West Virginia: Lair of the Mothman
, which I had yet to listen to. I must say, I'm very pleased with the narration
by Tim Lundeen
. If he is available to narrate more of my books coming out
on audio, I should like to request his services. Check out the audio book from
Yep, it was a fast, fun weekend, marred only by how damn fast
was. Well, that and the migraine. But hey, we survived the madness known as
A hat for every occasion
Well, Brugger always has had a thing for older men.
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