When we were in the Indiana area last Fall, Mom drove over from Ohio for a couple of days. Since we tend to yackety yack and Mike needs quiet for work, we took off and visited Shipshewana. I’d been there before, but it was a new destination for Mom.
Shipshewana was named for a local Potawatomi Native American and established in 1889. Today, it’s mainly known for being an Amish/Mennonite (the Plain People) community where homemade baked goods, canned foods, and arts and crafts are displayed and sold. They offer horse-drawn buggy ride tours of the small town and surrounding farms, and the biggest draw is the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery where they serve homestyle lunch, dinners, and delicious baked goods.
The main street of town was beautifully landscaped with fall foliage during our visit.
There are several shopping stops, one of which is the Davis Mercantile. While the town boasts an Amish feel and style, the majority of shops are English (Amish name for non-Amish folks) owned. There are a few operated by local Plain families, and they usually deal only in cash or personal checks in following their beliefs with no electronics or modern conveniences. One of my very favorite stops is The Stamp Shop (located next to the Post Office). The Amish shop owner has an incredible inventory of unique paper craft supplies and has samples of her lovely personally made cards.
Below is one of the antique shops along the charming town streets full of similar stores, gift shops, and bakery/sandwich shops.
There is also an Amish/Mennonite museum (we did not tour this on our visit), along with art galleries, and a quiet community park to take a rest.
There are large murals on city buildings boasting the town history and prominent past members of the community.
There is plenty of parking available in Shipshewana. Be careful not to block the hitching posts where the Amish park their ‘vehicles’ and rest the horses while they run errands. Please note there are no Amish people in these photographs (explanation below).
Mom and I had a delicious and relaxing lunch at The Blue Gate Restaurant, where we enjoyed the friendly service and continued our visit.
One of the things to remember when visiting an Amish community: Please do not take pictures of the Amish without their consent. The majority do not believe in having their photograph taken. I asked an Amish buggy driver what he thought about tourist photos. He said, “I believe it is a grave sin of vanity. If a tourist takes a picture of me with or without asking, the sin is then on their soul. I do feel disrespected when they take pictures without asking and many Plain People feel the same.”
Mom and I had a wonderful day putzing around learning about the Amish community, browsing different shops, and enjoying the company. Thanks for spending the day with me, Mom. Love you, MORE.
Have you been to Shipshewana? What is your favorite activity there?
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