Think of autumn and you can’t help but think of lush fall foliage, hay rides and harvest fair picnics.

You’ll find all this and more in Adams County, a quaint rural farming community that’s largely populated by Amish and Mennonite families. Just drive on state Route 32, past Eastgate and Batavia, and you’ll soon reach this scenic horse-and-buggy country.

Touring this region, it’s actually easy to forget what century you’re living in. Turn off the car radio, open the windows, and you’ll see and hear the sights and sounds of the 19th century: Horse-drawn buggies clopping along the narrow gravel roadways and covered bridges. Outdoor clotheslines loaded with drying laundry. Quilt shops and cheese factories lit solely by gaslight. Farmers and horses plowing the fields by hand.

Even the most casual observer will notice the absence of telephone poles or electric wires; many families here don’t use or even desire phones or electricity in their homes. With its picturesque communities such as Tranquility, Unity, Harshaville and Whipperwill, the county is teeming with families dressed in trademark straw hats and lace bonnets.

It’s a good idea to contact the Adams County Travel & Visitors Bureau (937-544-5454, before your visit. They can send you literature, as well as a map of the Original Quilt Barn Trail, which guides you through the county’s two-dozen barns that feature traditional Amish quilt designs painted on their doors. “Visitors will encounter a collage of fall foliage and spectacular views along our country roads,” notes Tom Cross of the county’s Travel & Visitors Bureau.

Barn Sale Antiques & Fall Pumpkins Shop

This lively antique shop specializes in antique machinery, furniture, country collectibles, fixtures, pot-belly stoves and, of course, pumpkins. The shopkeepers, Kim and Herb Erwin, are also hosting the Wheat Ridge Old Thyme Herb Fair and Harvest Celebration on Oct. 10-11 (hours of the fair are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Some 125 herb vendors, artisans and crafts booths are expected. 817 Tater Ridge Road, West Union. Open daylight hours. (937) 544-8252 or

Counterfeit House

Counterfeit House is the only house in America specifically designed and constructed for the purpose of counterfeiting U.S. currency. Built in 1850, it comes complete with trick locks, hidden rooms and secret compartments built to look like chimneys and escape tunnels. (In nearby Bentonville is an equally quirky sight to see, the Anti-Horse Thief Society Monument. The statue was erected by, not surprisingly, the Anti-Horse Thief Society, founded in 1853 and devoted to retrieving stolen horses and bringing the thieves to justice.) 1580 Gift Ridge Road, Manchester. Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment. Call ahead for guided tours. (937) 549-2309.

Countryside Furniture & Motion Clocks

This shop specializes in all sorts of cedar, hickory and oak furniture, as well as upholstered outdoor wicker chairs. But proprietor Aaron Miller is perhaps best known in the region for his fascinating “motion clocks” that literally change their shapes on the hour (like a toy Transformer) while playing a variety of tunes. 4153 Unity Road, West Union. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (937) 544-8019.

Edge of Appalachia Preserve

This scenic preserve, which is actually owned and operated by the Cincinnati Museum Center, marks the beginning of some 12,000 acres along the geographic edge of the Allegheny Plateau and offers gorgeous fall colors, ‘natch. The preserve carries the designation of National Natural Landmark and offers the highest topography in Ohio. Begins just east of the town of West Union, in Lynx. Open for various public programs; contact the preserve director or visit the Museum Center web site. (937) 544-2880 or

GoodSeed Farm Country Garden Center

This high-end garden store and nursery, set on a farm covering 158 acres, offers annuals, perennials, shrubs and design-built landscapes. “We specialize in edible plants for the home orchardist,” notes proprietor Steve Boehme. 200 Storer Road, Peebles. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. (937) 587-7021 or

Harshaville Covered Bridge

When you’re in your car, be sure to check out the Harshaville Covered Bridge, the last covered bridge still used in Adams County. It was built before the Civil War, circa 1855, and was used by Confederate General John Morgan and his Raiders when they passed through the county during the Civil War. Graces Run Road at state Route 1, Harshaville. Open daily. No phone.

Keim Family Market

Keim Family Market is a favorite with visitors among the many Amish farm markets in the area. You’ll find the predictable home-baked goods and cheeses, but also some offbeat spices, jams and jellies (take home the pecan apricot or watermelon jelly). You can easily make a picnic out of the horseradish cheese, trail bologna, blackberry jam cake and raspberry pie. (It’s a good idea to bring a big, empty ice cooler for the perishable goodies you’ll discover all day long at this and various other shops, as well as a knife and cutting board for an impromptu picnic.) Take time to swing in the numerous gazebos and gliders that are for sale on the property. 2621 Burnt Cabin Road, Seaman. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. (937) 386–9995.

Lewis Mountain Herb Farm and B&B

The Lewis Mountain Herb Farm is currently up for sale ($459,000 if you’re interested), so you’ll definitely want to call first if you’re planning to visit, just to make sure they’re still open. For now, the greenhouse complex and gift shop continue to feature hundreds of well-known and exotic fresh herbs for cooking, medicinal purposes and just plain nibbling. 2345 state Route 247, Manchester. Greenhouse hours vary. (937) 549–2484 or

Miller’s Bakery & Furniture

Members of the Miller family — a surname as familiar in these parts as Keim and Yoder — are the proprietors of this wonderful, and ever-expanding, multi-building operation. “I think what attracts people here is that we have a lot of variety,” Daniel Miller notes. “There are three brothers involved here: One has bulk goods, the other has the bakery, and I’ve got the furniture.” At Miller’s Bulk Foods & Discount Grocery, you’re welcome to cart home as much as you like (bring a big, empty ice cooler) from a selection of jams, jellies, noodles, chips, cereals, candies and cheese. Quilts and Amish dresses are also on sale. At Miller’s Bakery & Gifts next door, check out the molasses cookies and Amish shoo-fly and fruit pies. Across the way, Miller’s Furniture & Barns houses all the lovingly crafted woodworkings: chairs, Lazy Susans, hutches, toys and the like. There’s also a selection of playsets, swings and gazebos to browse in the adjoining outdoor area. 960 Wheat Ridge Road, West Union. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (937) 544-8449 for the grocery; (937) 544–4520 for the bakery; (937) 544–8524 for the furniture store.

Moyer’s Vineyards Winery & Restaurant

Make time for a stop at Moyer’s Winery, where they’ve been growing the grapes and serving up regional American cuisine on the Ohio River for a quarter-century. The locally fermented wine is available by the glass, or the bottle to go. Try the cheese, bean and bacon soup for a quick snack, or the grated lemon pie for dessert. 3859 U.S. 52, Manchester. 11:30 a.m. 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (937) 549-2957.

Murphin Ridge Inn & Restaurant

This country inn, located in a restored 1826 farmhouse, is a terrific place to stop for dinner on your way home (open to the general public for dinner 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday). “Produce from the inn’s own gardens, as well as the gardens of Amish neighbors, are used in the restaurant kitchen,” observes owner Sherry McKenney. “Chef Jackson Rouse is conscious of how important food is to the body and soul.” Murphin Ridge Inn is also a B&B seven days a week for its hotel guests. Earning the title as “One of 54 Great Inns of America” from National Geographic Traveler magazine, the 10-room inn and nine log cabins are adjacent to some small shops that make for great shopping: Hillside Birds Nest for birdhouses, Hilltop Cabinets, Raber’s Shoes and Saddlery, and Unity Variety Shop for quilts and glassware. 750 Murphin Ridge Road, West Union. Open daily for B&B guests. (937) 544–2263 or

Serpent Mound

If you hear talk of giant snakes, don’t panic. Locals are just referring to Serpent Mound, a massive effigy in the shape of a snake with an egg in its mouth. The mound is nearly a quarter-mile long and as high as 5 feet in spots. The area is also known for its “crop circles,” an eerie phenomena sometimes attributed to UFOs. The mysterious Serpent Mound itself is believed to have been built by the Fort Ancient Indian tribe around 1,000 B.C. Nearby, a series of conical burial mounds were created circa 800 B.C. by the Adena Indians. 3850 state Route 73, Peebles. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. $5 per vehicle. (937) 587–2796 or

The Rock Vacation Rental

The Rock recently expanded and is now a 1,750-square-foot lodging facility that accommodates from two to 13 adults. Located on 50 acres of rolling hillside, The Rock overlooks the scenic Ohio River. Owners Susan and Doug Ruehl invite you to enjoy the peace and quiet of this country setting; you’ll have total privacy as only one family or group is rented the house at any one time. 672 State Route 247, Manchester. Open daily. (937) 549-4855 or