Amish Indiana – tradition, heritage, beauty and wisdom.
A few weeks ago my family and I took a trip to northern Indiana to the heart of Amish Indiana. Having never been there before we were going to have new experiences and were excited to get started.
Like I have shared in my ‘Family Travel’ section in the last few years, I am a real advocate of becoming a tourist in your own state. I have lived here my entire life but I had never been to this particular area of the Hoosier state. This trip will certainly not be my last and now we have yet another go-to weekend or day trip idea that is perfect for my family.
We started our trip with a few stops along the way on US 31 north of Indianapolis. There are plenty of things you can do along the way which makes the trip a bit more fun. Ever wonder if the places you drive by are worth the stop? You won’t know until you slow down and look. Our stops the way included an antique store (great finds), the museum at Grissom Air Force Base, McClure’s Orchard and Winery and the Dutch Cafe for a light bite for breakfast. All of this was between Indianapolis and Peru.
Next, we made our way to Nappanee to Amish Acres which is worth the drive in and of itself. You could easily spend 3 hours here as well as time eating and if you are lucky- taking in a performance in the Round Barn Theater. We took a tour of the homestead, a buggy ride and dined in the restaurant. So many good things. Did I mention the shops? We went home with a lot of goodies. I suggest a visit to their website for more information and an in depth look at the history of the property, buildings and family. I think I will show you a glimpse of our day in photos:
After, we took a brief tour of the Nappanee Visitors Center to learn a bit more about the area. I have been to a lot of visitors centers and this one was created with such care and love for the history of the area. It is a must visit in my opinion.
Next stop was the hotel to cool off (it was about 90 degrees with 100% humidity). We stayed at the Middlebury Hampton Inn– which I highly recommend. Our room was nice, quiet, roomy and clean. They offer a complimentary breakfast as well. That’s all we need!
For dinner that night, because we had not had nearly enough of the tasty fare that is Amish cooking, we ate at Essenhaus in Middlesbury. Read the history of Essenhaus HERE. This is the largest restaurant in Indiana. It is almost like a small town with a large property, water features, ample parking, meeting space and party facilities and stores. There is a bakery as well as carry out area then there is the main restaurant. Massive is hardly a good adjective here.
We showed up at peak dinner time and opted for family style dining (they also offer menu options and buffet style as well). We might have waited 10 minutes for a seat which surprised me when I took in the sheer number of people there. We were taken to seats upstairs, as comfortable as dining in my own house, and were promptly waited on.
We chose oven roasted beef roast, noodles, fresh mashed potatoes, Indiana sweet corn, salads, ham and bean soup and white meat fried chicken. Oh, there was also freshly baked bread, apple butter and house specialty peanut butter spread. No one said this was a healthy meal. But when you sample a little of this and a little of that you can try everything in a moderate portion. It’s all about saving room for a slice of one of their over 30 varieties of pies and desserts. We each chose a different one so we could taste each other’s selections. Like families do 🙂
Once we had feasted, for the second time that day, on Amish delights we took a drive into Middlesbury and visited local winery Gateway Cellars and checked out the town. Sufficiently worn out we went back to the hotel and crashed at the great hour or 8 pm. It was wonderful!
The next day we hit the ground running to visit Fruit Hills Winery, Bonneyville Mill, The Chief Ice Cream and Olympia‘s Candies. We traveled along the backroads of Amish Indiana and saw so many beautiful, and large, family farms and roadside markets. We stopped for cheese(!) at Guggisberg and it was a very nice drive home. This website shares a lot of back road tour destinations.
Another stop on the way home was the infamous Rise N Roll Bakery. You must get your hands on one of their donuts dubbed Amish Crack. Yeast with a light caramel glaze and dusted in cinnamon and sugar. Melt in your mouth happiness!
Be a tourist in your own state. It doesn’t take a lot of money, rather- just a bit of planning and research. Peel back the layers of what is going on around you and find a backyard treasure like we have! Click on all highlighted names for the website link and more information.
Bonneyville Mill is Indiana’s oldest and longest running mills of grains, corn and wheats. It is impressive and beautiful. GO there.
I have SO many more photos that I didn’t want to cram in here but I think you get the point. There is so much more to experience in Amish country than baked goods, noodles and buggies. I would love to hear from you- have you ever been to Northern Indiana’s Amish country?
Click HERE to plan your very own Amish Indiana getaway!