We were treated to an overnight tour of Holmes County area and the local offerings for Christmas. Our lodging, about as far from Amish as possible. The Carlisle Inn in Sugar Creek (one of many) includes the following reality versus what some people might expect…(modern temperature control instead of hand fans or burning dung; satellite tv instead of stories around the fire; hot tub and pool instead of butter churning; etc.). Might have enjoyed a simpler excursion of fire and barn raising, but the resort option is wonderfully relaxing in a quiet and comfortable setting. Just be sure to leave room in your trunk for cheese/chocolate/canned goods and time for quilt studying.

'Bout that…we loaded our own trunk up at a few recommended spots driving through the area…the following places contributing to our vehicular cornucopia.

The Ashery http://www.asherycountrystore.com: Stopped there once on the bike, its much bigger now. Bagged candies of every stripe, soup mixes, pastas, meats, and loads of spices, and on and on. We left with caramels, dried fruit, pickled mixed veg and sweet cauliflower, and on and on.

Heini’s http://heinis.com: “Where the cheese is make.” And it is. You can tour to actually see it being made and take home whatever sets your curd. Nearly every one of the copious options has a Tupperware of samples so you can toothpick your way to classics or surprises. Candy, fudge, cured meats, mustards and jams are also found in wide varieties.

Crafts and supplies galore at The Lone Star Quilt Shop for, well, quilts...and boots...and ice skates...and guns; Wendell August’s local mega-mart forge gift shop https://www.wendellaugust.com/location/berlin_oh; and the handiwork of Earnest Warther http://www.warthers.com: with intricate carvings (we didn’t do the tour) and kitchen cutlery. We had a great and relaxing time.


Dutch Valley Restaurant
 Berlin, Holmes Cnty, Ohio        Date of Visit  10/16/15         

So our accommodations at The Carlisle Inn were awesome. We had dinner Friday night “on campus” at the Dutch Valley Restaurant and Bakery. Not as awesome. The service is much less friendly than we experienced at Boyd and Wurthmann and the food was ghostly pale in comparison. The place is huge and packed and frenetic. We got a basket of soft rolls which were accompanied by apple butter and the new to me peanut butter spread. Things declined after that.



Rolls Were Fine

Steph had the broasted chicken dinner. The chicken was juicy. That is all. The breading doesn’t taste of anything, if the mash is real and not instant I would be shocked, and the gravy has the consistency of tar pits. It came with a side of corn, which was relaxing in a bowl of snotty something like the microwave in the bag butter sauces.

I tried the buffet, since it had everything Steph ordered and included the salad bar. The salad bar actually won the day easily. The greens were fresh, the toppings typical and the bound salads okay. Even the weirdly colored and textured egg was alright.

The second plate included the broasted chicken (fried), the baked chicken (also fried btw), a piece of ham, roast beef, mash and corn. Chicken same. Corn same. Mash same. Ham had some of that viscous goop all over it and was still dry and chewy. The beef was better in texture and flavor but nowhere near our lunch version.

More Commercial Versions Of Same Spreads

Chicken Looked Pretty Good But Needed Flavor

Instant (?) Mash With Not So Viscous Gravy

Not Sure What Is All Over Kernels But Not A Flavor Enhancer


Salad Bar Had Some Interesting And Fresh Options. Yellow Egg Anyone?

The Other Chicken On Buffet Wasn't Better

Same Stuff As On The Corn?

Beef Was The Redeeming Protein

Pie ended the meal and was fine but found wanting again. Steph had the Dutch apple ala mode. They only had a half a slice left, probably a good thing, but they were nice enough to not charge us for it. I was intrigued by the grape pie. It was interesting. The thick purple goop was good. It was unique to bite into whole grapes, which are so texturally different than your more typical fillings. The dough was mealy and didn’t add anything except for a way to hold the filling together. Nothing I would wake up craving at 3:00 a.m. but not bad.

While we were headed out the door, as they were closing, the ladies working in the fresh bakery were loading the shelves with plastic wrapped bread for tomorrow. Having worked in a scratch bakery, I would never call that fresh. Ever. I might be wrong, I might be a snot, the place was packed til close and again at lunch the next day. But if it’s me, I’ll happily stay at the Inn and enjoy the popcorn and continental breakfast, but I’ll venture into the country for lunch and dinner.

Dutch Apple Was Standard

Grape Pie Interesting But Neither Compares With Our Pie From Lunch



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