Friday, May 09, 2008

Holmes County

Yesterday we headed up to Holmes County to visit the Amish Community which was a mixed experience.
To date, our tomtom has been one of the best investments ever. We've used it in Europe and it has more than payed for itself over here in the USA. The map reader (that would be me) is happily relishing her redundant status!

ahhhhh this is the life

Yesterday however, tomtom added an extra hour onto our journey. Instead of taking us to Berlin, we were miles out making our drive a total of four hours. What we had come to see, was the much advertised 'Amish Flea Market' at Walnut Creek which boasts 500 sellers under one roof.
Upon entering the building we were confronted with the biggest lot of trash I've ever encountered not under my kid's beds. No kidding. Firstly (should anyone think I'm being too harsh or critical) the majority (98%) of the sellers were not Amish. Secondly, if I'd wanted to buy football gear, star wars figurines, nasty jewellery, dream catchers, pictures of Marilyn, skull ornaments or any of the other plastic junk, I'd simply have visited one of the many flea markets near where we're based, thus conserving the fuel budget.
On the ground level, we did happen upon a booth manned by a couple of Amish ladies selling lovely American country stuff (also found just up the road) BUT upon closer inspection, the rugs were made in India, the quilts imported from China and the lovely wood carvings all had the same woodworm holes and knots in the same place. Turns out they were moulded resin. The tie dyed lady with the rasta hat had brought her stuff over from Nepal. Great items in another setting.
I asked a couple of sellers, one Amish, if there was any non imported, hand made, authentic crafts being sold here. They stated that they didn't know and for me to ask at the information desk. We then went upstairs to find stall after stall of more fairground rubbish :( I passed another Americana store and inspected the quilt label to the embarrassment of my dear family. The owner yelled out that she'd give me $2 off the $20.00 price. I explained that I wasn't looking for a price tag but to see if this item was also imported. We talked for a bit and basically this was just another flea market. Why it was plugged as the genuine thing is anyone's guess! What would you think?

Things did pick up as we drove a couple of miles into Berlin and stopped at Schrock's Farm. There the kids and I got talking to a lovely Mennonite gentleman who was making candles. He was such a nice guy and is going to email the kids when we get home. We chatted at length about various things and I burned his ears with my flea market experience. Basically, people come here to cash in on the tourist trade and sell anything and everything. The Amish themselves can buy things made overseas for cheaper than the cost to make it, so that's what they do which is incredibly sad. He put on a CD to let me hear of Mennonite singing. I can honestly say that I've never heard such beautiful music. There is a richness, depth and purity that has to be heard to be appreciated. I managed to find one CD to buy at a bookstore in the town which we listen to in the car and is currently playing here in the house. I've always figured that my much needed voice box will come with the new body, but these guys are already sorted. Who needs instruments in when they harmonize like this!

We also got a look in the quilting barn (fantastic) and in town, the general store. The kids went to a puppy store in Schrock's farm. I'm surprised none were smuggled out!

AJ & CJ - smiles say it all!
Kids activity page

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