Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Change of Pace

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

One of the goals of our trip to Ohio this year was to spend a day in Amish country, so on the eighth day of the trip, we did just that. We had arrived in the area the evening before and drove around a bit before checking into our motel. Just outside of the town where we were going to stay, we saw a sign for an Amish bakery, so we made a mental note to stop there for breakfast.

The next morning, we headed out at dawn, stopping in a small town nearby to photograph an old mill building, and then out into the country where we photographed a country church and cemetery, some Amish and Mennonite farms, and some llamas at an area llama farm. At the llama farm, which was located at a crossroads, a car pulled up and the woman driving asked for directions. Ruth looked at the Ohio gazetteer and we pointed her in the right direction and then discussed that she must have been a Mennonite because she was driving a car rather than a horse and buggy.

Just down the road from the llama farm, we saw a beautiful farm and stopped along the gravel road to take a few pictures. As I set up my tripod, an old Amish gentleman in a buckboard wagon pulled up beside us. We talked for a few minutes and then I told him that I needed him to educate me. He said that he would try. So I asked him how to tell the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites.

He agreed that the woman driving the car was likely a Mennonite. And he explained that you could tell a Mennonite farm from an Amish farm by whether or not there was electricity running to the farm. I told him that I had assumed the farm in front of us was Mennonite and he confirmed that it was. It wasn’t easy to see, but there was a utility pole and there wasn’t a windmill for power like you see on Amish farms.

Then I asked if you could tell by the way people dressed and he said that it was more difficult to distinguish between the two. He told me that both the Amish and the Mennonites wear plain colors rather than patterns, but that the Mennonites wear more pastel colors than the Amish, who typically wear darker colors. But he also cautioned me that some of the Amish were beginning to wear lighter colors, so it might be hard to tell.

By this time, it was around 8:30 a.m., and we had been photographing since 5:30 a.m., so we were getting rather hungry. I asked him if he could direct us to the Amish bakery. His eyes lit up and he told me that they had huge cream sticks and they were the best in the area. I told him to have a wonderful day and he and his horse headed up the road.

As is typical for us, we stopped to photograph more Amish farms and buggies on our way to the bakery.

It was 10:00 a.m. before we finally arrived at the bakery. Everything looked and smelled so good. We considered the cream sticks and the fry pies, but settled on a doughnut and a cinnamon roll. They were both delicious. As we were leaving the bakery, we photographed what we thought was an outhouse. Later we discovered that it is actually an Amish telephone booth.

We had worked so hard the first seven days of the trip that this day in the slower paced Amish country was a welcome change and very relaxing. Speaking of a change of pace, we have decided to change the pace of our blog posts going forward. We have been writing these detailed blogs every week for three years, which has required an extreme amount of time, dedication, and discipline.

We have some other goals for our photography business to which we haven’t been able to devote any time. Therefore, these detailed blog posts that often require extensive research will be featured every other week. On the opposite weeks, we may or may not post. If we do, they will be shorter posts about photos that don’t require as much time and effort. We value our readers, so we hope you’ll understand and that you’ll keep reading our stories.

Stay tuned and Happy Shunpiking!


  1. Understand about cutting back on posting. I do enjoy you blog so much.

    1. Thanks for reading our blog and for your understanding. We will continue to post quality stories on a regular basis.

  2. Great photos as always, Joann! The llama photo is great! And, I just LOVE the Amish Buckboard Wagon photo. It's a great shot of him driving away and the photo really seems to draw you in, as if you're right there! I always enjoy hearing the stories of your and Ruth's travels but I sure understand the need to do them less often!