answering some of your comments here, and will have more suggestions about the Emmenal hotel location in another.
<"I love maps. Will definitely have a look. I used google maps in satellite and little "guy" map view to check out some of the routes virtually. Beautiful country!">>
Carry a paper map for driving. it lets you easily see the total region much more than any map on a tablet or smart phone. You will need that in the Emmental for what you want to do.
<<"After my last post, the Burgdorf car folks emailed again about the car rental. I'm still confused about the total cost, but I sent them a response with further questions. I also changed my backup car reservation to the Enterprise location next to the Bahnhoff in Berne. The problem with that is we can't return the car later than 4 PM on Saturday the 13th. I was hoping for 6 PM to extend the day in Emmental.">>
Enterprise in Bern as more than twice as far from the station compared to Sixt or Avis.
You are creating a part of the stress by trying to work against the system. The major cities are set up to deal with tourist routinely. In places like Burgdorf, the support mechanisms for tourists are less robust.
Major car rental places in Bern don't require deposits, and have key drops. Small guys may not have key drops. And, even though the Swiss are very honest, I personally would not count on a small shop to not find some defect on the returned car after they looked it over the next day. There goes your deposit. The major shops don't work that way, and are more tolerant of minor defects upon return. And, repairs are expensive.
I had a minor dent on an Avis a few years ago, fully covered by my credit card insurance, and the repair cost was 4 or 5 times what it would have cost for the same repair in the USA.
<<" I assume we will be able to buy our Bernese Oberland Rail Passes at the Bern Banhoff on Saturday afternoon. Since the pass doesn't cover Burgdorf, I don't think we can buy them there. ">>
Why do you assume that? Myself, I'd assume that you can buy the pass at any SBB manned ticket counter, although I culd be wrong. I don't use such specialized passes, but I'd at least check to see if you can get it online. Arno/Annika know those details.
Count on taking precious time to do that purchase at the station if there is a line there.
If you do get on the train at Burgdorf, you will, indeed have to change at Bern for Interlaken.
(By the way, the spelling is "Bahnhof.")
<"I got an email from a distant Reist relative who travelled to Ruesgau and Summisvald back in 2002. She learned that the family probably lived on a farm called "Wildenbach". On google maps I saw a road and stream just north of Ruesgau also named Wildenbach. A short road leads east from there to a large farmhouse. Is there someone I could I contact by email to learn the history of that place?">>
Don't know about a contact.
A good friend has relatives in the area, but I don't know if the friendship extends to genealogical research by the relatives.. Given a few weeks, i could surely work through that and find soureces, but your timing is rather short for such inquiries, at least with my knowledge.
There exists an extensive set of resources for Anabaptist ( e.g., Pensnylvania "Dutch" ) who are looking into their roots in Switzerland. if you could find your way into that, it might be helpful, too.
I'll check, but don't hold your breath.
The single best map for fine detail in Switzerland on line is the map from Swisstopo, which is the Swiss Land Office/map department:
map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&X=208479.00 &Y=617565.00&zoom=10