Indiana Itinerary: Amish Country of Northern Indiana

Indiana Itinerary: Amish Country of Northern Indiana

The Itinerary at a Glance

Take a journey to the past that’s loaded with plenty of modern-day fun. Get a true look at the Amish lifestyle and learn about their history. Tour country roads more traveled by buggies than cars. Stop at shops filled with goods your grandma probably used. Step into an Amish kitchen and learn cooking secrets. Savor hearty Amish style fare, including a traditional Amish “Haystack.” Meet Amish business owners who make the products and craft the wares for their culture. Delight in scenic backroads, peaceful people and local products that make Amish Country so memorable. You’ll be busy all the time and loving every minute.

4 Unique Experience on This Trip

  • Shipshewana Flea Market
  • Das Dutchman Essenhaus
  • B&L Woodcraft Amish furniture shop
  • Real Housewives of Amish Country Day Tour

Duration: 5 Days

Available: Year-round

This Itinerary is Ideal For: All

Itinerary Details

 Day 1

Amish boy in bucketAfter arriving in Shipshewana, visit the world famous Shipshewana Flea Market. Known as “the trading place of America,” the Shipshewana Flea Market is the Midwest’s largest outdoor market with over 1,000 vendors covering 60 acres (open Tuesdays and Wednesdays only, May-October). The antique auction barn, open Wednesdays year-round, has 11 rings simultaneously auctioning antiques and collectibles. The horse and cattle barn features cattle auctions open to the public on Wednesdays and horse auctions open to the public on Fridays. Guests can also stroll the short couple of blocks into downtown Shipshewana to browse over 90+ retail stores for additional shopping.

Check in at your host hotel and then depart for an Amish Wedding Feast dinner. It’s a once-in- a-lifetime experience feasting on a traditional Amish wedding dinner in the charming setting of Miller’s Country Kitchen. Levi and Esther explain what an Amish wedding day is like. Groups see an Amish bride’s wedding dress up close and hear the customary German wedding song sung at an Amish wedding. The family has even compiled a cookbook of favorite recipes available to purchase and take home as a memento.

Day 2

Enjoy a continental breakfast at your host hotel and prepare to meet your guide for a Brown Bag Backroads Tour of Amish Country. Your group will travel scenic backroads passing horse-drawn buggies, tidy farm homes and white-washed barns. Learn about the fascinating lifestyle of the Amish as your knowledgeable guide tells all about the area and the history, traditions and customs of the Amish. You’ll stop at a variety of welcoming country stores and quaint shops as you load up your brown bag with goodies. Choose your four stops from a variety of options.

Guide to determine timing and routing for the following stops:

Four Authentic Experiences on the Backroads Tour

Get to know local Amish entrepreneurs and see firsthand how they operate their unique enterprises. Hear the stories of friendly, hardworking people who use their special talents to create products and build businesses that serve the local community and beyond. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Amish buggies are made. Go back to school as you visit an Amish one-room-schoolhouse. Peek inside an Amish coffin—empty, of course—and learn the differences between coffins and caskets. Visit, pet and feed camels at an Old Order Amish farm. These stops are fun, authentic, appealing to every age and gender and sure to be a hit with your group.

Zesty Condiments Lunch, How To’s & Tastings

Groups are in for a tangy surprise at M&L Acres as LeAnna Yoder invites them into her Amish home to hear secrets to making flavorful condiments and fun ways to use them. LeAnna shares some insider tips then invites groups to sample her specialty mustards including the popular sweet pepper and hot pepper. It’s hard to pick a favorite! A tasty soup or salad and sandwich lunch (using LeAnna’s condiments, of course) complete with fresh-baked pie and beverage makes an afternoon with LeAnna flavor-filled.

Sonshine Baskets

Weave some fun into your tour with a stop at Sonshine Baskets in Millersburg, an authentic Amish Country handcraft experience. Lovely hand-woven baskets of every shape and for every purpose fill this Old Order Amish-owned and -operated country shop located on the family farm of Calvin & Anna Yoder. Watch as family members demonstrate and talk about the processes of turning plain reed into something of beauty and function. And it seems every family member is involved from weaving to making the fabric liners, from hand-staining to adding the leather handles that adorn many of the baskets.   As Anna says, “We weave our way through life one day at a time!” After learning firsthand, take time to shop for your own piece of authentic “made in Amish Country” basket.

Dinner with cooking class inside an Amish family home and buggy rides

Enjoy a genuine Amish Country experience of a lifetime. Meet the Yoder family, including grandma, dad, and the kids and learn the secrets to making mouth-watering home-cooked food. No more lumps in your homemade mashed potatoes after this demonstration! Then sit down to a traditional Amish family-style dinner. A fun and tasty experience.

Day 3

Amish Acres PiesEnjoy a continental breakfast at your host hotel and prepare to meet your guide and depart for the Menno-Hof Amish Mennonite Interpretive Center. Learn the religious history and background of the Amish, Mennonite and Hutterite people from their beginnings in Europe through their arrival in North America. Several interactive exhibits and displays depict “real life” experiences and answer many questions.

After your visit to the Menno-Hof Amish Mennonite Interpretive Center, stop by the B&L Woodcraft Amish furniture shop and customize your own souvenir birdhouse. Each member of the group gets a box with their name on it and proceeds through lines to select colors, decorations and make customized sayings. The host Amish family assembles each birdhouse and places it back in the box, ready to load onto the coach. After selecting their birdhouses, groups have time to explore the wide selection of furniture, home accents, gift items and antiques on the farm.

Depart for Nappanee just in time for lunch. Begin with the Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich luncheon plate on arrival at the nation’s only Old Order Amish farmstead listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Then step inside the historic farmhouse and learn about the heritage, culture and history of the “Plain People.” Afterwards take a wagon ride to the one-room Amish School for an old-fashioned spelling bee. A documentary film about the Amish completes the experience. Spend time shopping and browsing their shops, fudgery and bakery.

Following your tours, groups learn first-hand the secrets to baking “The Best” shoofly pie, as picked by the Chicago Tribune. Old Order Amish bakery manager Frieda Miller demonstrates her baking techniques in Amish Acres’ 8,000-sq.-ft. kitchen. Each participant gets their own mini molasses filled pie and a souvenir recipe card.

More sweets, anyone? Amish Acres Candy Kitchen is our next stop. Amish Acres is best known for their historic farm and education on Amish beliefs fostering a tolerance among different religions and cultures, but did you know the fudge shop makes over 50,000 lbs. of fudge and candy a year? Learn how to make your own delicious candies from one of their expert candy makers and have a treat to enjoy later.

After all of that touring, baking, learning, shopping and fun, your group will sit under the hand-hewn beams of the restaurant barn to dine on a hearty, multi-course Threshers Meal, beginning with soup and ending with pie, of course. Perhaps your own fresh-baked shoo-fly pie hot out of the oven, too!

After your meal, enjoy the delightful musical production about Amish life and love in a historic round barn now turned lovely theater. Depending on your arrival date, other Broadway favorites are performed in this beautiful state-of-the-art facility.

Day 4

After enjoying a continental breakfast at your host hotel, meet your guide for Real Housewives of Amish Country Day Tour. Forget reality TV and meet the real housewives of Amish Country. Get a firsthand look at a day in the life of Amish women. Learn how these ladies do household chores without electrical appliances and run their businesses without modern technology. Enjoy a cinnamon roll demo with Elaine or Mary Lou. Visit Carolyn’s home for a haystack lunch and a peanut butter crumb pie making demo. Chat with a basket weaver about her thriving business. Meet an Amish school teacher and find out how she manages her classes in a one-room school. Everyone gets an after school treat, too—a whoopie pie to take home. At the end of the day, groups go home with a renewed respect for these women who live a simple life, yet they’re anything but simple.

Afterwards, have some evening fun on the Das Dutchman Essenhaus campus.

Enjoy the following at your own pace:

In-home-mealClassic Car Cruise-In

Get a “blast from the past” as you enjoy this weekly event on the Essenhaus grounds. Compare makes, models, motors and memories as you explore on your own the numerous vehicles. Not interested? Take part in the numerous recreational activities found on the grounds that you didn’t complete earlier in the day. Most Thursday evenings over 200 and sometimes 300 classic cars are found on the grounds.

Dinner at Das Dutchman Essenhaus

Dine tonight on your own at your leisure inside Indiana’s largest restaurant on the popular dinner buffet, menu dining or family-style featuring country dishes and family-tested favorites.

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride, Miniature Golf, and Shopping inside the Village Shops

Enjoy the beautiful Essenhaus grounds. Relax on a horse-drawn carriage ride around the immaculate grounds, play a round of miniature golf or go shopping in one of several Village Shops (coupons provided) all on the same facility grounds. Shop for quilts, baked goods, home décor, ladies apparel, Vera Bradley, jewelry and more.

Day 5

Enjoy a continental breakfast and check out of your host hotel. Our next stop is an RV Manufacturing Plant Tour at the “RV Capital of the World.” Over 50% of the world’s inventory of travel trailers, fifth wheels, Class C & A motorhomes, truck campers and fold-downs are all manufactured in this area. Your group will enjoy a plant tour through one of the numerous RV manufacturing facilities, including watching Amish creating handcrafted furniture and sewing processes.

Take a “brunch break” at an Amish home. Enjoy a homemade cinnamon roll just out of the oven, plus coffee or tea as you watch Elaine, our Amish baker, demonstrate how she makes her special delicacy. Take home some of the rolls to share with your family or friends.

Depart for home.

Midwest Itinerary: Amish Country of Northern Indiana
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Midwest Itinerary: Amish Country of Northern Indiana
Delight in scenic backroads, peaceful people and local products that make Amish Country so memorable. You’ll be busy all the time and loving every minute.

Contributor: Editor

Leisure Group Travel is the premier publication in the group travel industry.

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