Of all the sights I have seen, this one sort of sums up "getting back to the roots of our society." I knew one year when we took a vacation that there were a lot of things to do in Northern Indiana, but what I didn't know, was about the existence of a large Amish Community that lives in this area.
The quiet little village of Shipshewana is the one place where the pace of life is really slowed down and peaceful. Of course that could or could not appeal to all of us depending on the mood of the day, but (for us), it was a welcome relief from the daily stresses that a "modern lifestyle" can often present.
We not only saw many scenes like this one (I have captured here) along the byways of this area, but also one of the most unusual shots I got was of five of these buggies parked outside a local cafe. It made me feel like I had stepped back in time for about a century or two. The one thing that made the shot so unique was the fact that the buggy horses were tied up in front of the closed bank next door to the cafe that they all seemed to be having dinner in.
Shipshewana itself has a thriving tourist trade in all the little homemade artisan projects of the local Amish crafters. There are blocks and blocks of those things. Also there are some of the most HOMEMADE tasting food in the many local restaurants that it is hard to pick which one you want to have breakfast, lunch or dinner in.
Some of the other things that you can do there are things like these:Auction and Flea Market ~ Trading Place of America. Which is the Midwest's largest flea market.
The Blue Gate Theater ~ Riegsecker Marketplace. Which has outstanding entertainment! Southern gospel, comedy, bluegrass, country, and more. And go figure... it is even family friendly.
On the Boardwalk, you can take buggy rides to Amish farms, schools, furniture / buggy shops, and dinners. Bicycling and even river tubing trips, for the more adventurous.
The Courtyard of Arts is on Historic Morton Street and is a working Artisan Village. It has a resident historic blacksmith; egg carver; historic leatherworker; Amish basketmaker, rugs, hats; oil painter/teacher, canvas, slate, sleds. It also has visiting artists, musicians.
In Menno-Hof, we took a tour in which a Amish Mennonite story was told with inspirational and educational multimedia in historical and present day environments. As well as a New Amish room depicting daily life as it is today.
In Yoder's Shopping Center, there is the Mousetrap Puppet Theater at Davis Mercantile. It is touted as Family Fun! Featuring Marionette shows for children and adults. There is also a fantastic selection of puppets for sale.
Another popular thing to do there in Shipshewana is the Riegsecker Buggy Rides and Tours at Riegsecker Marketplace.Buggy and carriage rides leave regularly from that area. The Shipshewana Carousel at Davis Mercantile is a place that you can enjoy their 1906 Denzel Carousel featuring hand carved farm animals. They are not the usual horses that you would see on the standard carousel that you would see at a county or state fair.
We would love to go back there someday at Christmastime to enjoy what they call a "Country Christmas" in which they have (starting the beginning of November) put up thousands of Christmas Lights plus refreshments, music, demonstrations, decorations, giveaways, specials and more. A true winter wonderland, so they say. I can imagine with a couple of inches of fresh new snow, it would be just spectacular.
Shipshewana Town Center was really the center of all the activity in the area, but on out trip there, we rented a CD with a driving tour that got us away from the usual tourist places and into more of the country around there to see all of the beautiful farmhouses and picturesque Amish communities in that area. It is a place that we will not soon forget. Northern Indiana? Who knew?"Those who visit foreign nations, but associate only with their own country-men, change their climate, but not their customs. They see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with travelled bodies, but untravelled minds."
- Caleb Colton