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In My Words: Amish Heartland Tours

Le Vonne De Bois Published: June 1, 2011 10:45 AM
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Creating unique experiences is what Amish Heartland Tours has been doing for 20 years. Many of the ideas are created from the relationships that have been built with our Amish contacts as well as suggestions from our visitors. We started 20 years ago with a one-hour back road tour for $6 per person. That same couple that took our tour 20 years ago still visits our area and brings friends.

We have partnered with various attractions such as Yoders Amish Home, Behalt, The Victorian House, Holmes County Flea Market and created tour packages which include their attraction along with our scenic back road tours. Most of our tours end with a meal in one of the 13 Amish homes we use for the dinners. It is a lot of planning, work and brainstorming, but it all seems to come together and gives visitors a unique opportunity.

This year's big event is "Dinner with a former White House Chief." This event will be held at the Holmes County Flea Market on July 1 & 2, 2011 with the dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sam Morgante, the former White House Chief, will be preparing former President George W. Bush, Jr.'s favorite Southwest BBQ chicken recipe. The event is limited to the first 75 people each evening.

The newest package for 2011 is called "Campfire-Chit-Chats & Cast Iron Stew." Each Tuesday and Friday beginning May 24 through October 2011, up to 25 visitors will be able to engage in conversation with a local Amish Family around their backyard campfire. Hanging over the fire on a tri-pod is the cast iron kettle full of homemade beef stew accompanied with fresh backed cornbread, fruit cobbler, fruit slush and homemade root beer. In addition, they are offering a buggy ride through the woods with a stop at a one-room school. A tour of the barn and workshop, playing corn hole games and children playing the harmonica will top off the evening of fellowship.

Other tour packages include " "Chuggin' thru History which features a tour of Warther Carvings, Dennison Depot with lunch and Schoenbrunn Village. Blazin' The Trail, featuring the Port Washington Road (Ohio's first state road), History and Heritage Tours, Amish Dinner and Back Road Dinner Tour and the 12 hour Progressive Meal Tour where we tour scenic back roads and have three meals in Amish homes.

Meals in the Amish homes are very popular. With the 13 homes we use, we can usually get a group of 10-55 people three to four times a week in various homes. We not only get calls from the leisure travelers, but large Tour Operators who sell on their end and bring the motor coaches in from all over the United States. We try to encourage the overnight packages if possible. The group tours are planned by La Vonne De Bois who creates the packages and arranges for the groups activities, lodging and meals during their stay. That is what a Receptive Operator does. We handle all the arrangements on our end, which makes it so much easier for the Tour Operator. Attending travel show, going on the road and meeting with potential groups are just a couple ways to build the relationships with our customers.

Reservations for any tour can be made at 330-893-3248 or visit www.AmishHeartlandTours.com.

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