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Friday, November 12, 2010

Shipshewana, Indiana - Amish Country

My Momma and I have been talking about taking a trip together now for almost two years and we finally did it this past week!  We had originally planned to travel down to Paducah, Kentucky because of all the quilt shops down there, but it was going to be 8 - 10 hours each way, so we opted to visit Shipshewana, Indiana instead.

The drive to Shipshewana on the freeway takes about 3 1/2 hours from my house, but we took the back roads instead to see what we could see.  My Daddy calls my Mom "Mosey Roads" and now I truly understand why!  (smile)  She loves an adventure and doesn't like to stick with the normal route to go anywhere really.  But, as a result, we saw beautiful homes, old barns, abandoned historic churches, and sprawling, flat farmland that was really something to see.  I wish we could have stopped to get photos of every place I fell in love with, but it would have taken longer than the 5 1/2 hours it did to get there!

 One of the many gorgeous homes we saw along the way

We left my house this past Sunday and got as far as Greenville, Ohio where we stopped for lunch.  We found this adorable restaurant called Sweet One-o-One.  When you step through the front doors, you're welcomed by a large open space with high ceilings and tables randomly placed on both sides of the pathway to the counter.  Looking up, you see the tin-punched ceiling and ceiling fans operating by way of long leather straps winding through pulleys.  It's really neat!  The building in which the restaurant is housed was once a large department store, but now houses Sweet One-o-One, another restaurant toward the back, and some meeting rooms.  They offered lunch fare of wraps, soups, salads, or quiche - all made fresh daily.  The case was filled with freshly baked pies, cookies, and other delicious goodies.  They also had flavored coffees, iced tea, and fresh  lemonade.  Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch here.  I was not yet in the mode of carrying my camera (we were only an hour from my house), so I didn't get photos inside, but on our way through, I shot this photo of the front of the restaurant from the car.

 Sweet One-o-One, Greenville, Ohio

So, our first day of travel took us on several back roads from Dayton, Ohio to Goshen, Indiana where we stayed in a Comfort Inn.  I will have to get with my Mom to see if she kept track of the route we took and if she did, I'll be sure to share it with you.  Some more photos I took on the way...

These guys are ready to catch something!

Such a contradiction in lifestyles...

Once we reached the Comfort Inn, we checked in and then went for dinner at the nearby Chinese restaurant.  Neither one of us were up for trying to navigate around town after dark, so we ate at the first place we saw.  Needless to say, I was on the treadmill when we returned to the hotel!  Had to work off General Tso's chicken somehow!  

Monday - our first day in Shipshewana
The first place we stopped was on the outskirts of Shipshewana, Indiana.  It was a bulk food store called E&S Sales on N. State Road.  The store was immaculate and had all sorts of foods in bulk.  They also had a few aisles of canned goods, toys, and housewares from which to choose.  Fresh meats, cheeses, and other refrigerated food items were available as well.  This was my "haul", albeit a small one.

Cocoa, quinoa, edamame, deep dish pizza crust mix, sliced almonds, crystallized ginger, dried pineapple bits, dried cranberries, wheat berries, and flax seed

Next to the bulk food store was a produce store with excellent looking vegetables and fruits all priced very reasonably.  We picked up some Gala apples for munching - yum!  

And, next to that building was an Amish diner from which heavenly aromas were coming!  We stopped over to see a menu, but neither one of us was terribly hungry yet, so we thought we might come back at some point (we never did - too many other places to eat!).

We headed in to Shipshewana proper to see what we could get into on our first day in town.  We came across Yoder's Red Barn Shoppes first.  Honestly, the shops were pretty and they had some beautiful things, but for us, it was a bit too commercialized and pricey.  We were hoping for more "homespun" type shops, so we kept going.  We visited a few other places only to find that they were pretty much the same way until we found 'downtown'.  

The Davis Mercantile is worth a look if you like fabric and quilts like we do.  Lolly's Fabric Store has over 2,000 bolts of fabric from which to choose!  Her main store is on the main level where fabrics are priced around $10.00 per yard and fat quarters are $2.75 each.  She has a very nice selection of quilting books and magazines along with thread, notions, and tools of the quilting trade. 

Now, for those looking for quality fabric at a fraction of the going rate (that was us!), be sure to visit her 'discount' store called A Little Bit of Lolly's which is in the same building, but on the lower level.  Fabrics down there are $5.95 per yard unless it's a flat fold and then it's the regular price with 25% off.  My Momma found 60-inch batik fabrics for $5.95/yd!  She bought four yards with a great big smile!  This store also has piles of fat quarters in an actual wooden dinghy right in the front of the store for $2.25 each.

We liked the Head over Heels store located on the lower level too.  They have outdoor apparel for the entire family, fun outdoor gadgets and tools, and some great toys and puzzles for children.  I fell in love with a just-below-the-waist bright blue rain jacket with lapels and belt that was lined!  But, the price tag was high enough to make me release it immediately!  (smile)  Ah well, perhaps someday, yes?

Check out this link for a complete directory of shops in the Davis Mercantile.

I know this post is lengthy, so I will try to shorten it a bit.  These were our favorite stops in Shipshewana:

The Breadbox Bakery - an excellent place for lunch or to get some freshly baked bread or goodies.  We stopped in here to get a snack - Momma and I split a brownie and a piece of pumpkin cake (yeah, we're on vacation!).  It was so good, we stopped back later after browsing other shops so we could get some 'real' food.  Their panini's were delicious and the service was friendly.  Their theme is bread boxes, so the entire place is decorated with antique breadboxes that have been donated to the shop.  I took the following photographs with full permission from the owner of the shop.

Their saucer sized cookies looked amazing!  The shelves are a bit empty because this is not their peak season.

Momma and I ate at the table right in front of the window.  This room has black and white family photos of the owners on the walls - very sweet.

This is actually a pie carrier, but it was my absolute favorite piece on display in the Breadbox Bakery.

Rebecca Haarer Arts & Antiques - we met the owner Rebecca and her mother and they were both just lovely!  She graciously allowed me to take photos inside her store and then graciously took a photo of my Momma and I together.  So glad we got this one - it was the only one of us together on the trip!  Rebecca is a lovely lady.  She describes her shop as being "just like me - eclectic".  She's right!  She has an affinity for antique and hand-quilted quilts, which she displays beautifully in her shop.  While we were visiting, an older Amish lady came into the shop looking for Rebecca because she had a few hand woven rugs she wanted to sell to the shop.  They seemed to know each other well and we came to find out in talking with Rebecca that she grew up Mennonite, so she has ties to the Amish community as well.  If you visit Shipshewana, definitely stop in and say hello!

Rebecca's shop from the outside - located on Morton Street in Shipshewana

Momma and I at Rebecca's Shop

 I can't wait to try this homemade jam I bought at Rebecca's shop!

The Center for Traditional Arts (I couldn't locate a website) was located across the street from Rebecca Haarer Arts & Antiques.  The director of the center, Cliff Pequet, was very friendly to us and had a wealth of knowledge to share about the historical items in his store.  The store is filled with the heavenly scent of leather.  He makes leather boots, belts, and saddles by hand!  Remember the movie North and South?  He made the boots for that movie!  Pretty interesting stuff if you ask me.  Be sure to stop in and see him if you're in town.

We were so close to Middlebury, Indiana, we decided to stop over there and see a quilt shop called The Quilt Shop.  It's a lovely shop with some fabric, but mostly gorgeous quilts in every size and color.  By the time we finished browsing in there, the shops were closing and it was getting dark (6:00 or so), so we decided to head back to the hotel.

We weren't all that hungry by the time we were ready to return to the hotel, so we just munched on apples, protein bars, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies when we got back to the hotel.  Great dinner really!

Well, that was our first day in Shipshewana, Indiana!  I'll be sharing more with you tomorrow about the day we spent visiting Goshen and Wakarusa.

Until then, all my best to you today!