By LEE WARD / THE INDEPENDENT
BIDWELL, Ohio — A bakery might not be the first place one thinks of visiting on a hot summer day.
But when it’s open only two days a week, producing a wide variety of traditional fruit pies as well as cream-filled cakes and oversized doughnuts, customers are willing to go out of their way — way out of their way — for the sweets.
Take 141 from Ironton to Camdus, where you’ll pick up 325 North; follow it through Rio Grande into Vinton. Then, start looking for humble signs on the side of the road and follow them down two or three gravel roads until you find the Hidden View Bakery, a business that lives up to its name.
Owned and run by an Amish family in a structure that looks more like a modest home than a business, the bakery does a good trade on Fridays and Saturdays, the only days it’s open.
“We made about 375 doughnuts today,” the daughter of the owner said. “Some things we sell out of. Doughnuts are the best sellers.”
The little-known community of Amish in Gallia County came from the Amish in Holmes County, in 1993. A bishop of the community said Huntington businessman Marshall Reynolds, who is a friend of the community in Holmes County, made it possible for the families who wanted to branch out to do so.
The bishop wished remain unidentified, saying he nor the other Amish seek publicity. “We just want to do business,” he said. “We don’t want a lot of tourists.”
The Amish also do not allow themselves to be photographed.
The region along the two routes is home to about 75 Amish families, which run businesses including furniture making, woodworking, forging, horticulture, beekeeping, baking and fabric sales.
Also in the area are 15 to 20 Mennonite families who are a part of the same types of business ventures, including running Trickling Springs General Store, which is a couple of miles off 141. The store, attached to the family’s residence, sells bulk goods, baking products, sodas and dairy products.
But the scenic value of a trip through the country can’t be underestimated and the land along these two routes offers beautiful sights. Horses graze in meadows that run alongside a two-lane highway that’s outlined by scattered, colorful wildflowers. Tall, healthy crops spread across bottomland, punctuated by the occasional barn, house and silo. It’s a setting that complements the simple, earthy ways of those who live nearby.
LEE WARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2661.