"I don't know," said I. I gave my tea a thoughtful stir. "Amish Country?"
Tom shrugged. "Okay."
"Unless you have any other ideas?"
"Nah," replied Tom, "do you?"
"Nah," said I. "The Berlin Resort?"
"Sure," said Tom, returning to his paper.
"Okay," said I, returning to my tea.
And thus it was decided that we would celebrate this anniversary launching our fifth decade together with what has become our anniversary-default destination, two nights at the Berlin Resort in Amish Country.
"Boy, for somebody who doesn't like Amish Country you sure spend a lot of time there," teased my daughter when I told her of our plans. My daughter was referring to a former antipathy I used to feel towards that particular province of Northeast Ohio, as chronicled in a couple of blogs I wrote a few years ago (See posts from 7/1/2014 and 7/2/2014) based on an inauspicious Amish-Country getaway weekend to Berlin, Ohio that Tom and I took about a decade ago.
For years after that trip I considered Amish Country a tourist-trappy strip of over-crowded eateries, country crafts shops in whose wares I had no interest, and unfriendly locals.
But then all that changed three years ago when, thankfully, I decided to give Amish Country one more try after eying a Groupon for what appeared to be a beautiful hotel with a beautiful grounds called The Berlin Resort.
We set out Thursday morning, February 15, heading east and north along U.S. route 62 from Columbus,
The Berlin Resort is the only hotel in Ohio, we learned, that has a movie theater in the building.
After we'd put in our request for the 7 pm movie we did a once around the building,
The Berlin Farmstead is a popular place among both Amish and English (as the Amish refer to anyone who's not Amish) as well as anyone who likes great heaping helpings of comfort food, likes to eat early (the restaurant shutters at 8pm) and doesn't need a drink. In fact anyone who needs an alcoholic drink is in the wrong town as Berlin, and most of Holmes County, the heart of Ohio Amish Country, is an alcohol desert.
But there's food to be had in Berlin, Ohio and plenty of if. So long as one doesn't mind eating before the town closes down around sundown, The Berlin Farmstead being one of the few "late night" exceptions among town's commercial establishments.
In any case, though there's nada to do at night in Berlin, Ohio and Amish Country in general - which I guess is a drawback for anyone who likes to go out and do something at night - back at the Berlin Resort we had our movie theater (the only movie theater in the town and for many towns, I'm guessing), where we watched the movie I'd chosen,
They were an older couple - but not as old as us, the man was fifty-six, he told us - originally from Bulgaria but living in Pittsburgh for the past sixteen years, happily, with their three adult children and grandchildren living nearby. In the course of the conversation we learned that the couple and their children happen to be here all together thanks to the "chain migration" process, the fate of which the couple worries over.
But despite that one cloud in their blue skies, the man and his wife were a couple of cheerful, chatty, happy campers, singing the praises of The Berlin Resort and all its amenities (especially this movie theater), singing the praises of Amish Country and all the delicious food to be had here, singing the praises of Ohio in general, Pittsburgh in general, and the United States in general. And they thought "Ocean's Eleven" was wonderful, too.
After talking to that couple the movie did seem kind of wonderful, after all. Everything did.