Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Day Tripping to Mennonite Farm Country in Versailles
by Janet Dabbs

The weather is perfect and there’s no better time to plan a day trip to Mennonite Farm Country and a stay at the Historic 1877 Hilty Inn Bed and Breakfast in Versailles!

A trip through Mennonite country can give a unique perspective on a thriving community in central Missouri.

Just a few miles north of the Lake of the Ozarks on Highway 5 is a historic Mennonite community nestled in the midst of open rolling fields and long country roads. 

Here you will find a humble people that intentionally segregate themselves from other communities as part of their faith.

Many have relocated from Pennsylvania, and still speak a Pennsylvania Dutch dialect interspersed with English while at home. These Mennonite families strive to remain chaste and disciplined, strictly adhering to the Christian principals of loving God and loving their neighbors.

Those in this community keep to themselves, producing products and services known for their high quality, from fruits and vegetables to meats and baked goods. They build their own furniture, barns and even horse tack. They have construction and agricultural equipment, repair and sales, their own schools and women give birth at home with midwives.

Their integrity and hard work ethic are widely respected by those who do business with them in and out of community. The people are friendly, and they welcome outsiders into their business, eager to strike a deal.

Surprises awaits visitors around every corner with picturesque soybean fields, clock and furniture crafters and even huge prospering factories that ship all over the world.

A favorite stop for many is Weaver's Country Market in Excelsior. This quaint general store reminds you of a trip to an 1800's general store, usually the only one in town. Pristine hardwood floors welcome visitors to open shelves, laden with homemade spices, soup starters, old fashioned candies, jams, soaps and more.

Another must-see shop is the Rustic Homestead in Versailles. Here you can buy everything from a small barn to a wooden swing, furniture, a handmade quilt, candles, rustic/farm home décor and more.   

The close-knit community cares for one another in the biblical way. If one of their barns burn down, they hold a barn building where everyone comes together to help their neighbor in need.

Lehman’s Restaurant is a popular place to sample Mennonite cooking featuring an ample home-style buffet including fresh fruit pies, hot baked breads and other yummy desserts you can take home for later.

To get to Mennonite Country from the Lake of the Ozarks Take Highway 5 north to Versailles to Highway 52 towards Barnett, and Highway C towards Excelsior. A map of all the places to visit is available at the Versailles Chamber of Commerce.

The Hilty Inn Bed and Breakfast

When you make the trip to Mennonite Country, be sure to stay at the Hilty Inn Bed and Breakfast located at 206 E. Jasper Street, Versailles. 

Time spent at this beautiful 1877 Victorian home is like therapy to the soul. 

Standing on one corner of Versailles’ town square next to the City’s park, Hilty Inn is a beautiful Victorian two-story home. 

Each room is a showcase for antiques, collectibles, and Victorian décor. In the Wild Rose room, the wallpaper is soft sage with rosebuds on vines that never fade or fall. Below, the rug mirrors those vines except the buds have blossomed into full blooms. Such design choices prove Inn Keeper Doris Hilty’s eye for detailed elements that speak to each other. The result is beautiful.

The beautifully appointed bed rooms beckon one to restful sleep in comfortable antique beds, just like the ones you remember at grandmothers house. 

Everywhere are freshly cut flowers. Their scent sweetens the air; their blooms bring gardens to life indoors. These come from Doris Hilty’s sister’s garden near Versailles or from the Inn’s own gardens. They are but one more example of the many gifts a great hostess provides to her guests.

Another is the breakfast. Doris Hilty invites guests to the island to chat while she cooks. Later, she will serve breakfast in the dining room on a table that has been carefully set with good china. She will also watch her guests’ progress and fill cups with hot coffee or glasses with cold juice as they empty, all while engaging guests in conversation.

We are sure you find that pairing together the Inn and a tour of Mennonite Farm Country is pure nourishment for the soul! 

Click here to view a collection of Mennonite Farm Country photos visit: Photos

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Places To Visit:

Bramble Patch Health Food
Cedar Hill Nursery and Foods
Cedar Valley Chimes
Coal Mine Carriages
Countryside Plants
County Road Surplus
Creative Resources (for teachers)
Diesel Track Service
Dutch Bakery and Bulk Food
Dutch Country Store
Dutchman’s Farm Supply
Excelsior Book Store
Excelsior Fabrics
Excelsior Harness
Goods Variety Store
Hillside View Bakery
Hilty Inn Bed and Breakfast
Hoover’s Bulk Food Store
Hoover’s Surplus Outlet
Hostetler Farm and Home Center
L-L Brookside Furniture
Lehman’s Family Restaruant
Leinbach Custom Butchering
Martin Metal
Martin Structures
Martin’s Goods and Gifts
Martin’s Store
Mid-West Structures
Morgan County Seeds
Pleasant Valley Quilts and Appliances
Ramer Brothers Furniture
Rissler Manufacturing Co.
Roadside County Store
Rural America Mini Barn
Shirk’s Produce and Greenhouse
Sonbeam Electric
Stamper’s Delight
Stauffer’s Auto Sales
Stauffer’s Electric and Supply
Sunshine Market
The Busy Bee Greenhouse
The Rustic Homestead
Top Stitch-Bernina Sales and Service
Weaver’s Country Market
World of Wheels (bicycles)
Zimmerman’s Produce
Zimmerman’s Farm Market and Greenhouses

Zimmerman’s Tractor

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