Heritage brings a unique experience at Sugarcreek

Sunflowers1 by Randy Mc Kee
Randy L. McKee

You can pick your own bouquet of Sunflowers at Smokey Lane Farms.

It's hard not to be in a cheerful mood amidst Sugarcreek's ever-present polka music, which offers a compelling contraposition to the village's relaxed pace of life.

“Life just moves at a slower pace here in Sugarcreek,” explained Christine Quickel, the village's marketing administrator “There’s no other town quite like it.”

The 'Little Switzerland of Ohio' offers an abundance of unique experiences that can be as simple as just taking in the village's cheerful and peaceful ambiance.

“Visitors enjoy the Swiss style architecture and happy music playing along the streets as horse-drawn buggies pass by,” Quickel expressed. “Hand-painted murals, scattered throughout the village, feature beautiful Swiss scenery.”

On the rural roadways surrounding the village, passing motorists are inclined to be greeted by the sight of farmers planting crops or training young horses for work in lush green fields.

“Sugarcreek is undeniably at its most beautiful in the autumn,” Quickel said. “From September to late October, the rolling hills of Amish Country burst into brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange. The sights are stunning.”

The village's unique blend of Swiss heritage and Amish culture makes it the quintessential destination for anybody looking to spend a relaxing weekend away, Quickel said.

“From engaging museums to one-of-a-kind attractions, you’ll be mesmerized by Sugarcreek’s melding of the old and the new,” she said. “You will find modern conveniences like hotels and restaurants, along with huge working farms and families travelling by horse and buggy.”

Located in the heart of Amish Country, Sugarcreek was settled by Amish and other German and Swiss families, the latter of whom made the village famous through their cheese-making skills. The mighty Alps may be conspicuously absent from the horizon, but apart from the missing mountainous vistas, Sugar creek’s visitors might easily imagine themselves touring the streets of a small Swiss town — by foot or by horse-drawn buggy.

The World's Largest Cuckoo Clock, featuring a joyous oompa band and an animated dancing couple who welcome delighted onlookers every half hour, is the signature attraction in Downtown Sugarcreek. The impressive 24-foot high clock, at the intersection of East Main Street and Broadway, is surrounded by elaborate, hand-painted murals that depict breathtaking Swiss landscapes amidst the musical backdrop that permeates the village air. The historical murals adorn the facing of seven buildings, while across from the cuckoo clock, a 112-foot-long, 13-panel brick wall details the area’s history through sculpture.

The region's rich history is cherished in Sugarcreek, as evidenced by such informative attractions as the Alpine Hills Museum and the unique Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum. The roundhouse museum, which features the largest private collection of steam engines in the United States, helps to preserve America's railroad history.

"The roundhouse is the only one of its kind in the country," Quickel emphasized. "Even if you're not a train person, you'll find it to be magnificent."

The 34-acre site includes 22 steamers surrounded by a depot, a store house, a coal loader, a wood water tank, an ash pit, a back shop and — the jewel of the site — a working, 18-stall brick roundhouse that surrounds a 115-foot turntable.

The Alpine Hills Museum — which is free to visit — displays a 19th century Amish kitchen and an 1890s cheese house among its three floors of history. The museum also serves as a tourist information center, where maps, brochures and other helpful information can be obtained.

"The best way to experience Sugarcreek may be to immerse yourself in the culture," Quickel recommended.

Guests who visit Sugarcreek, she adds, are very likely to return home with more than just wonderful memories. That's because the quality furniture, home goods, antiques and local works of art may prove too tempting to leave behind in the village's many charming shops. Along with a variety of gift shops, the village also hosts many local wineries.

“You can also visit one of our local farmer’s markets, where you can cut your own bouquets or pick your own produce,” Quickel suggested. “The kids will love petting the animals at Smokey Lane Farm, which is located across from the roundhouse museum.”

Visit Sugarcreek online at www.villageofsugarcreek.com or call 330-852-4113. Reach them via email at contactus@villageofsugarcreek.com for more information.