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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Indiana Amish Country - Day Two


One of my favorite times of the trip with my Momma were the mornings we spent over breakfast.  We chatted over coffee and waffles one morning and the next we enjoyed yogurt and coffee.  I learned on this trip that my Momma is a true "coffee-holic"!  She really loves her coffee - even through the day if she can.  She was once a die-hard tea drinker, but has made the switch for sure.  Anyway, I digress...
 
Day Two of our trip to the Amish country of Indiana was an adventure!  We both say this was our favorite day of the trip.  Shipshewana was nice and we enjoyed the people we met, but Goshen and Wakarusa were much more our "speed" with individually owned shops and down-to-earth people running their business while caring for loved ones and home. 
 
We started out around 8:30 (none of the shops open until roughly then anyway) and headed for a fabric shop called Calico Point.  It's on Route 40 outside of Goshen proper - it's in the country!  Don't be fooled into thinking you've missed it - it's nearly to Wakarusa, but still considered Goshen.  Calico Point is a fabric shop owned and operated by an Amish family.  Their store is popular with the Amish and Mennonite community as well as "English" because they offer a variety of fabrics.  

She has her store broken up into three aisles if you will.  One aisle features 100% polyester fabric, one aisle is cotton/poly fabric, and the third aisle is 100% cotton fabric.  She even has one corner of the shop dedicated to beautiful 100% cotton batik fabric.  Both ladies working the store were very friendly and offered to help us with anything we needed.  Their prices were very reasonable at around $6.75 - $7.50 per yard for 100% cotton!  Be sure to check out their Button Pantry.  It's a very clever creation built by the grandfather of one of the gals who worked there.  

The shop is open and bright, which we really liked too.  She offers not only fabric, but batting, buttons, and thread among a few other notions.  I found some fabric I liked to make a Christmas table runner (the photo doesn't do the colors justice.)  I also found some coffee bean fabric which I thought was really cool and which I will be incorporating into another project.

The sweet ladies at Calico Point recommended another quilt shop to us, located just about three miles up the road in the heart of downtown Wakarusa called Jeanette's Fabric Boutique.  It's located on Elkhart Street in Wakarusa and features about 2,000 bolts of fabric.  The ladies in this store were very kind too!  Seems like everyone we met on our trip was so friendly.  Jeanette's Fabric Boutique has fabric, thread, fat quarters, sewing machines, quilting and sewing notions and tools, buttons, and more.  It's a smaller shop, but worth a visit.

Momma and I were hungry by this time, so we started looking for a good place to eat.  She and Daddy have always searched out the local diners and restaurants on their trips and have found some delicious home cooking in the process.  The "Mom and Pop" diners really know their food!  Momma and I didn't have to look far in downtown Wakarusa when we found The Shortstop Inn, a locally owned and operated family restaurant. 

When you walk in, you can go to the lounge and bar area or you can go to the restaurant (which is what we did).  The waitress greeted us as soon as we entered and before long we had a delicious lunch on the table.  Just imagine a place where the people of the town meet and greet with small tables, sports photos and memorabilia covering the walls, and a semi-open kitchen where you can see and smell the food being cooked and prepared.  We enjoyed our lunch and then headed out to find yet another quilt shop (can you tell where our focus is?)

Long Lane Fabrics is located on County Road 9 and is considered Goshen, not Wakarusa.  You'll see the sign at the end of the lane - it's a black sign with white lettering.  Once you reach the end of the lane (yes, it's long!), you will see a house on the left and another smaller building in front of you as you pull up.  It's a very unassuming structure with no signage at all.  I questioned whether it was really a shop, but my Mom hopped out right away and peeked into the window and it was indeed the Long Lane Fabric shop.  

The shop is owned and operated by an elderly Amish lady and her husband.  The shop features mostly polyester/cotton and 100% polyester fabrics, but she did have a few 100% cotton fabrics from which to choose.  She also had various items like stationery, handmade wooden spoons, toys, hand-knitted sweaters, work gloves and hats, and sewing needles and notions.  The price of the 100% cotton fabric was $1.50 to $2.75 a yard!  We asked her before we checked out just to make sure we were reading that correctly and she confirmed the price with a smile.  By the way, she only accepts cash at this point in time.

 My purchases from Long Lane Fabrics

 As we were checking out with her, she shared with us that a few of her children and grandchildren were over cleaning her house for her.  She is 83 years old and her husband is in his 90's.  She shared with us that her husband had 7 children when she married him and then together they had 8  more children.  Sadly, two of the children were physically challenged and are home with the Lord.  She then shared with us that she has nearly 100+ grandchildren and nearly that many great-grandchildren!  She said their family reunions run around 300 people or so!  Can you imagine?!  What a legacy!  

Are you still with me?  On we go to downtown Goshen!

We visited and loved the following places:

Old Bag Factory - this is a neat place filled with unique artisan shops, eateries, and a neat little corner called The Book Exchange.  Inside the bag factory are several shops, none of which I was permitted to take photos.  Check out the list of shops at the above link.  

Inside the Bag Factory (second level) was a small eatery called Rolling Scones.  I have never tasted a scone that was so moist and flavorful.  Try their mint chocolate scone - it's delicious!  The gal who ran the place was so sweet and willing to tell us about her menu and took the time to ask us where we were from and how we were enjoying our visit to Goshen.  Her menu features homemade soups, scones, and goodies along with organic food items and healthy choices.  They have a few tables at which you can eat right inside the shop, but there is also another overflow seating area right across the hallway that is quite comfortable as well.  

 Me, outside the Rolling Scones shop

When we finished eating our scones, we walked across the hallway to find a little area called The Book Exchange.  There are several shelves of books, both hardback and softcover.  You can bring in a book you want to exchange or you can donate money in the provided box for books that you'd like to take with you.  The suggested donation is $1.00 for books and 25 cents for magazines.  We found some oldies and goodies!

Quilt enthusiasts must, must visit Quilt Designs while visiting the Old Bag Factory.  Their shop is actually a little log cabin outside the actual bag factory.  Shirley A. Shenk is an incredibly talented fiber artist recognized internationally for her talent and her quilt designs.  We were awed by the work that goes into these quilts!  One of the gals who worked there spent quite a bit of time sharing with us about the quilts and answering our questions.  When you stop in, be sure to ask them how they "mark" their quilts!  It's quite interesting.  If you are considering a purchase, be prepared for the price tag...anywhere between $4,000 - $5,000 for each quilt, depending on the intricacy of the design and the hand quilted design.  Absolutely no photographs are permitted inside the building, but we were able to get one of the cabin from the outside.

Quilt Designs Shop

Here are some random photos of the Old Bag Factory.

Actual old switch panels which powered the Goshen trolley system from the building

Old Bag Factory from parking lot

The day was drawing close to the time when most shops close their doors, so we headed to downtown Goshen to walk the streets and at least window shop.  Be sure to check out the Maple City Market and Ten Thousand Villages.  The Maple City Market is a health food store that offers organic foods and locally grown organic produce.  We bought huge muffins there and had them for dinner that night.  Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade store with so many beautiful things, it's difficult to know what to purchase!  

I will leave you with some photos of the Goshen Courthouse and some of the other buildings and architecture we saw and enjoyed on our last day of the trip before heading home.  Just an aside - we felt totally comfortable walking on these downtown streets after dark (it was only 7 p.m. or so). 

Goshen, Indiana Courthouse

See the flag waving?

Love the architectural detail on these historic downtown Goshen buildings













Goshen city streets at dusk

Historic Goshen police booth (see sign in next photo for explanation)



Isn't that interesting? 

We made the scenic drive back home the next day with a sense of sadness that the trip was over, but also with a sense of thankfulness that we were able to spend so much time together without distractions.  It was a true blessing to me!  

Just a quick note to say:  I was not compensated in any way for mentioning any of the businesses in my blog - I simply enjoy sharing with others places we visited and if I can help out local businesses, I love doing that too. 

All my best to you today!

2 comments:

Marianne said...

Thank you for such a fun and touching end to your story. I loved hearing about the shopowner whos family now counted hundreds of kids, grandkids, great grandkids and so on. Family is so important.

Susan said...

Thank you Marianne for your kind comments on both of my Amish country posts. It was such a fun trip and it was my pleasure to share it with my readers!