Route 32 unwinds like a spool of thread from Cincinnati through the pastoral, verdant Ohio countryside to its east.  Route 32 is a vital route for Buckeyes wishing to quickly traverse the southern side of their state, but it can also be the first leg of a journey into yesteryear.  Tucked away in the folds of Adams County's rolling hills is a thriving Amish community.  Out of all the Amish communities I've visited this is probably the most traditional.

The Amish community here is relatively new, having taking root in the early 1970s.  Since then they've woven their way into the fabric of Adams County's close-knit communities.

I first discovered Adams County when I was in high school. I just had received my driver's license and had the urge to explore.  I was enchanted by the rugged beauty of Adams County.  Since then I've been back many times.  There's enough to do in Adams County that you could easily enjoy the Amish ambiance and find enough other things to do to fill a weekend.

GETTING THERE:  Take Ohio 32 east from Cincinnati 45 minutes.  Once in Adams County, take Unity Road, Burnt Cabin Road, or Wheat Ridge Road and just explore.  From Cleveland or Columbus, take US 23 from Columbus to Ohio 32 west.


Ryan's Grocery, 4353 Wheat Ridge Rd, West Union, OH : Okay, so you won't find this on most tourist maps.  Perhaps this is just the sentimental side of me, but Ryan's was the first place I stopped on my first journey into Adams County when I was 16.  It's a little grocery/general store of the kind which was once a staple of American small town life.  Local Amish frequent the store which has the genuine feel of an old-time general store not because it's trying to cater to tourists, that's just the way the store is.  And, at least when I was there last, you could buy copies of "The Budget", which is the Amish newspaper published in Sugarcreek, Ohiio.

Murphin Ridge Inn, Wheat Ridge Road: If you're going to spend a weekend in Adams County you'll want this as your base of operations. The Inn consists of several buildings and, much to my relief, is not an "Amish Bed & Breakfast" type place.Those places, more often than not, come across as phony and contrived. Murphin Ridge is simply a quaint, charming 19th century country inn that happens to be in the middle of Amish country. I spent a cozy November weekend there recently and found that the Inn does a real good job of integrating itself into the Amish community nearby without being exploitative or disrespectful..  The Inn's staff is friendly, making you feel more like family than a guest.  The from-scratch food is perhaps the Inn's biggest calling card.  Squash was in season when I stayed, and the chef found very inventive ways to use it.   The hardscrabble hills of Adams County are sometimes referred to as Ohio's "Little Smokies" because of their resemblance to their much taller counterparts out east.  In addition to the many Amish-run shops and bakeries in the area, there are plenty of other nearby attractions to explore like Serpent Mound and other state parks.

Keim Family Market:  Remain on Ohio 32 past Unity Road and you'll come to Roy and Mattie Keim's market.  Long a fixture along the highway, the Keim's dish up tasty specialities like mouth-melting pies and soft-as-cotton loaves of bread.  Authentic Amish cooking at it's best!