Berlin, Ohio: Reconnecting With My Roots in Amish Country!

amish in ohio country farm

My trip to Berlin, Ohio, also known as Amish Country, was so rewarding on a personal level.

I learned at a young age that I was descended from someone who apparently founded an Amish settlement in Pennsylvania in the 1800s.

So when the state of Ohio and Holmes County invited me to make a stop in Berlin, Ohio, the heart of Amish Country, I knew I had a great opportunity to get to know the local Amish and Mennonite communities and to reconnect with my roots.

My last name is significant in the Amish world. Surely there had to be some distant relatives living in the area.

Berlin, Ohio is a fascinating place. If you’re considering a visit, here are some things you need to know.

Tips for Visiting Berlin, Ohio – Map and Driving Distance

Where is Berlin, Ohio on the map? It’s centrally located in the state, slightly more to the eastern side.

berlin ohio amish country map

You can see that it’s centrally located between three major metropolitan areas. That makes it an easy drive for many midwesterners.

Berlin is about a 90-minute drive from Cleveland, two hours from Pittsburgh, and just under two hours from Columbus.

Berlin isn’t a huge town, so you can see it all in a day. But there’s enough to do to spend a weekend if you like.

The city has a handful of hotels to handle the visitors. Traffic can get backed up at times during the summer tourist season, since all the roads are only two lanes.

Berlin is about six hours by car from Chicago, making it one of the best weekend road trips from the Windy City.

Meeting My Relatives in Berlin, Ohio

Holmes County, Ohio is home to around 38,000 Amish residents, making it the largest Amish community in the world.

As part of my visit, I hooked up with Amish Heartland Tours for a backroads trip around the area.

When my guide heard that I was curious whether there were any folks in the area with my last name, she knew just where to go.

One of the things Amish Heartland Tours offers is the chance to have a meal with an Amish family, and there’s a family with my last name that participates in the program.

It was too early for dinner, but we headed over there to say hello. The family welcomed us and chatted with us for a bit.

As a recreational volleyball player, I was particularly interested to hear that their daughter plays volleyball, which is popular in many Amish communities (do a YouTube search if you’re so inclined.)

Amish Country and Berlin, Ohio provided me with a special personal moment.

After I mentioned my last name, they brought out a copy of the Family History book, an incredibly-detailed book that lists the entire lineage. It didn’t take long to flip through and find my grandfather’s name. Wow!

We confirmed that this family and I share a common great-great-grandfather, which produced smiles around the room.

It was a really nice moment to realize that the unlikely pairing of this Amish family from Berlin and this restless travel blogger were family.

More Amish Country Content!

While many people think of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as the heart of Amish Country, Holmes County and Berlin have a larger population.

That’s why Berlin is the true home of Amish Country, and a place you may want to consider visiting when you’re in the Midwest.

Click to read about how to find authentic Amish experiences, and visiting the famous Heini’s Cheese Factory in Holmes County.

These posts describe how the Amish and Mennonite communities in Berlin, Ohio live, how they feel about tourism, and how you can visit the Amish in Ohio responsibly.