by Debra on April 12, 2012

Visiting the Inn at Honey Run feels like straddling the fence of two very different worlds and yet at the same time balanced. One side of the fence reveals an Amish lifestyle that hasn’t changed much in more than 100 years – the other side of the fence offers the convenience of modern day technology with a full-service spa and a casual upscale restaurant – all housed in Frank Lloyd Wright-style buildings, nestled among the natural flora and fauna of the area. Lean too far in one direction or the other and one can easily teeter off that fence; but here, the tension between these two worlds is sweet perfection and all is in harmony – as if life has always been this way.

The Professor and I were invited to join a group of food writers to experience ‘3 Great Inns’ of Ohio and as our journey takes us North, the skies are cloudy and rain falls gently onto the windshield. No impatient horns blaring – instead, our pace slows as car, horse, buggy and driver all share the same road. Tucked away in Amish Country, in Holmes County between Millersburg and Berlin, Ohio, Inn at Honey Run is just two hours from Cincinnati and Cleveland and gets its name from the meandering brook that runs through the country estate. The surrounding rolling hills are dotted with pristine farms powered by nothing more than human and animal; clothes are line-dried simply by Mother Nature and Amish bakeries appear often along the roadside.

Our group was treated to a special ‘progressive dining experience’ created by Honey Run’s Executive Chef Scott Fetty; formerly a chef/instructor at The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Fetty also studied cuisine at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and the E’cole d’Lavarrene in Burgundy.  Focusing on local and seasonal ingredients, Chef Petty’s menu consisted of small plates that were served in various locations throughout the Inn – cocktails and vegetarian sushi rolls at the Spa, moving to the Tree-Top Pavilion for nibbles of fondue and pork belly. Cheese platters, lobster risotto as well as other main dishes were paired with small batch wines provided by Andy and Deanna Troutman of  Troutman Vineyards and were served in one of the beautiful contemporary cottages. (The views were spectacular – even in the dark!) Our evening ended at the Tarragon main dining room for Chef Fetty’s interpretation of upscale bar food; dessert was paired with Troutman Vineyards Ice Wine – to say that we ate well is an understatement!

We also had the opportunity to ask questions of two local Amish men about life of the Amish; I’m certain they found our questions odd for what is simply a way of life in their world. But there were more than a few chuckles when asked about women voting in church politics. ‘No, the women do not get a vote in our church politics,’ said one Amish gentleman, ‘But sometimes there are lively ‘discussions’ going on in that buggy on the way home!’

In the midst of all that we experienced during our time at the Inn at Honey Run, I was struck by the story of the Inn’s original owner and builder, Marge Stock; a pioneer before her time, Marge had always dreamed of having an Inn of her own. She graduated from college with a degree in hospitality and set about building the inn as a place of respite, a place where one could be restored. The doors opened in November 1982 and for the last 30 years, the Inn at Honey Run has been a healing balm to countless visitors from all over the country.

Current owner and Innkeeper Jason Nies, continues to carry Marge’s vision into the future; he is now charged with the delicate task of balancing old and new – keeping the tension on either side of the fence in harmony, one with the other, preserving what Marge Stock began more than 30 years ago.

Our visit at Honey Run was much too short and since we live within driving distance, The Professor and I are already making plans for a return trip; if you happen to be in the area, we highly recommend a stay – you won’t be disappointed!

FULL DISCLOSURE: While this stop was part of the ’3 Great Inns’ press trip, we were not asked to write, nor are we being paid for, any posts pertaining to this trip. All photographs, video work, music, sound design and opinions are strictly our own.