Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Another Day in Amish Country

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

Joann and I so look forward to any time we can spend in Amish country. The pace of life just seems slower in those areas for the most part. We always look forward to hearing the clip clop of horses' hooves even before a buggy comes into view.

One of our favorite things about visiting Amish country is getting old fashioned raised donuts at the bakery, just like the ones our mother made when we were kids. You have to plan your visit because many of the bakeries are only open on Fridays and Saturdays, and some only make their famous donuts on Saturdays.

This past Friday, we decided to take a day trip to the Amish area of Columbia and Green Lake counties. Our plan was to arrive at the bakery around the time they opened so we could have donuts for breakfast at a reasonable time and try to avoid the crowds. Fall can bring tour buses to the area and the bakery is small. Often the line goes out the door and up the sidewalk to the parking area. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that we failed in our quest.

As anyone who knows us is aware, we’re easily distracted and, since we were driving in the daylight, we were noticing things in small towns along our route that we hadn’t noticed before. We just had to stop and capture what we saw.

When we finally made it to the bakery entrance, several cars were just turning in from the other direction and, as Joann turned in behind them, we saw a big line of cars coming. And even though the parking lot was relatively empty, people were driving crazily, like if they didn’t speed and swerve around, they wouldn’t get a space. They seemed to be playing demolition derby.

There are a lot of Amish businesses in the area and traffic is always worse near those. But if you get away from those roads, traffic gets better and you can enjoy the quiet as you pass Amish farms and schools. You can also hear the buggies coming down the road.

One of our stops was at an Amish school in the area. The Amish are very resourceful and will reuse what we, the “English,” no longer use. In the case of this school, they have re-used old playground equipment that those of us who are older played on but which is no longer considered safe.

Across from one of the Amish stores in the area were these Texas Longhorn cattle. It took a little while for Joann to get a picture because most animals don’t understand posing and do exactly as they please. This mother and baby finally cooperated.

After breakfast at the bakery and a stop to check out fall produce, we headed out into the country. The sky for the whole day was amazing and we had to take advantage of it.

We found only one farm with corn shocks already in the field, but knowing that crops were planted very late this year because of spring rains, we weren’t really surprised. We’re just hoping that the weather starts cooperating so that fields dry a little and farmers are able to harvest.

We ended our day later than we had planned but, as I said, the sky had excellent character all day long and we had to take advantage of it.

Happy Shunpiking!

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  1. It sounds like you two had a really fun day. Thanks for sharing your story and photos!

    1. It's always a lot of fun there. You and Vern will enjoy it when you get a chance to go there.

  2. Thanks for recapping your day in the country! Beautiful description of your adventure with lovely photos that take your readers along. How did the donuts compare with your mom's?

    1. Jean, we have tried raised donuts at several Amish bakeries (including in other states) and the ones from Pleasant View Bakery near Pardeeville taste exactly like Mom's. That's why I tell people it's the best Amish bakery on the planet. I don't usually eat wheat, but this is one indulgence I allow myself once or twice a year because it brings back that nostalgic memory of Mom lovingly making donuts for our family.

  3. We are really gonna have to get to that bakery to try the donuts! Do they make them year-round?

    1. Phyllis, yes, they are open Fridays and Saturdays all year and also Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer. It's a small bakery so, even in the winter, there's likely to be a line outside in the cold, unless you get there when they open. They also have bread, pies, turnovers, cinnamon and pecan rolls, turnovers, pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, whoopie pies, cashew crunch, toffee, soft pretzels, etc. Oh, and they have jams, honey, and some pickled stuff, too.