Right off let me say that there’s a lot more to this area than we saw. Also, we enjoyed just driving around the area, looking at the many Amish farms and small school houses. These aren’t intended to be “attractions” but they are, indeed, “attractive” and add to the general ambiance of the area.
We had a fun, if hot, day at Shipshewana, IN. This town, surrounded by Amish farms, caters to tourists and features lots of Amish history, crafts, and food. We started our day at the very popular Flea Market and found hand crafted items along with most anything you can imagine for sale. There were many food booths but there was also an Amish restaurant along with a terrific meat and cheese market. We bought summer sausage, Swiss cheese and bread. The butcher sliced the meat and cheese for us at no extra charge and we had a delicious lunch with left overs to take home and use later. I also enjoyed going to the air conditioned Davis Mercantile building where I saw the restored working Carousel on the 3rd floor. There were many other shops including stores selling things like candy, clothing, furniture, fabric and toys. There was an elevator and plenty of seating for people like Scott who would rather sit than shop!
We enjoyed our visit to Amish Acres in Nappanee,IN. We started our visit with a tour of the original house when it was a typical Amish farm. It was a fascinating tour giving us insight into how the early Amish settlers continued living in their chosen ways even as progress such as electricity and gas engines became common in the area. Through the years they continued doing house and farm work by hand using animals. We took the wagon tour of the farm and saw many buildings including a carriage shed, ice house, and syrup barn. At the school house children learned High German for worship, how to read and write in their daily language of Pennsylvania Dutch, and English so they get along in the world outside of their own. We saw a very interesting video about the history of the Amish and learned about the Amish and Mennonite religious practices. We visited the meat and cheese store, candy store/soda shop and the bakery. There is also a well-known restaurant and theater that has ongoing plays. All in all a very nice afternoon.
I found it interesting to see so many horse and buggies traveling the roads or hitched up at various businesses (like Dairy Queen). Also, as we drove to church on Sunday morning we passed the Amish farm that was hosting their church services that Sunday. There were several parked horse and buggies as well as a lot of bicycles. Apparently, the various farms in the area take turns hosting worship services followed by a big meal.