Quilt Gardens in Amish Country Along the Heritage Trail

North Indiana Itinerary 

Quilt Gardens in Amish Country Along the Heritage Trail

Duration: 4 Days

Available: Spring, Summer, Fall

This Itinerary is Ideal For: All


Designated a TOP 100 EVENT and a BEST OF THE BEST by American Bus Association, this one-of-its kind experience starts annually May 30 and continues to September 15.  We’ve packed 150,000 plants, with over 1 million blooms into 16 giant gardens planted in the shape of Quilt Patterns in 6 welcoming communities along the 90-mile Heritage Trail.  It’s a quilters and gardeners dream tour!   With the added bonus of exciting options, events, exceptional hands on activities, dining and shopping, the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail sets the stage for an exceptional group tour wrapped in quilt and gardening themes, packed with fun and sure to entice new clients all found in one of the nation’s largest Old Order Amish areas.

[optin-monster slug=”lwnreaurcuuxbmmq3odn”]

Day One

(Mid-afternoon arrival in Northern Indiana – Middlebury)

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Quilty Note Cards at The Quilt Shop at the Essenhaus

Located inside a restored chicken barn, The Quilt Shop located on the grounds of Das Dutchman Essenhaus, offers an activity that will make one special “quilty” note card that is blank inside. Basic quilt block components in various colors are precut and you can arrange them to create a quilt block for the front of your card. This is a beginner activity and only requires the ability to use a glue pen. A short introduction talks about the history, technique, construction, and sample of a locally sourced quilt. Allow 30 minutes for one completed card per person.

Shopping and Dinner at Das Dutchman Essenhaus featuring the famous two meat, family-style dinner [Chicken PLUS additional either one of roast beef, ham or baked steak.]

Das Dutchman Essenhaus offers a unique combination of dining, lodging and shopping opportunities. The attractive Amish style restaurant seats 1,100. Manicured grounds invite a leisurely stroll or perhaps a carriage ride through a quaint covered bridge. Today dine on the famous family-style dinner complete with homemade pies fresh from their bakery. You’ll want to take one or two home afterwards too from their selection of 31 flavors of pie! Enjoy the Quilt Garden & Mural during your visit. Enjoy shopping in The Village Shops, coupons provided for gift items, ladies apparel, home décor, baked goods, books, cooking supplies, games and much more.

Extend your evening at the Essenhaus! Add in a family-friendly faith based production inside the Essenhaus Heritage Hall. Shows vary by date but all promise to give you chuckles and lasting heartfelt memories of a pleasant escape in the country! Dinner/Show packages are available.

Return to your host hotel following your evening

Quilt Gardens
Quilt Gardens 2019 050
Quilt Gardens

Day Two

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel

8:00 a.m. – Join your local expert gardener and get the inside scoop on a guided tour of the official Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail.

Your day will include the following with the guide to determine final routing/timing:

  • Visit the Quilt Garden in Wakarusa and shop at the Wakarusa Dime Store for old-fashioned candy treats [Free] Explore additional downtown shops as time allows. Be sure to see the giant jumbo jellybean quilt.
  • The Nappanee Center and Historical Collection PLUS paint an Amish Quilt Barn Art pieceExplore inside the Nappanee Center and see the quilts depicting historical Quilt Gardens while enjoying the fascinating display chronicling Nappanee’s storied past. Sit down with local artist, Linda Pieri and be shown painting secrets developed throughout the ages. Linda has taught more than 1,000 people in the art of acrylic painting encouraging them to “not just look at what you are drawing or painting, but to see what is really there.” You will be able to observe a demonstration and follow step-by-step instructions that will help you create your own masterpiece. This is not a
paint by number situation. Linda helps each person discover the creative artist inside of each of him or her.
  • Emma Schrock Quilt Art Exhibit at the Nappanee Center [Free]
We are sure that you have heard of Grandma Moses but have you heard of the “Grandma Moses of Elkhart County”? 
Not only does Nappanee serve as home to six nationally known cartoonists, an Air Force One pilot and a NASA aero- nautical engineer, but it also serves as home for the naïve folk artist, Emma Schrock, who was of Old Order Mennonite faith. Growing up with physical challenges, Emma Schrock used painting as a way to work outside of her home. Quoted as saying, “I live what I paint and I paint what I see”, Emma Schrock truly captured the Old Order Mennonite way of life and it is an excellent example of what makes our area so unique. The Nappanee Center is now home to fifty-seven Emma Schrock paintings and has a dedicated gallery for her works of art. Not only does the Nappanee Center tell the story of Emma Schrock but also the well crafted storied past of Nappanee including its cartoonists, kitchen cabinets and so much more!
  • Lunch on your own at a location determined by the guide

4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Blue Gate Theatre followed by Buffet Dinner at the
Blue Gate Restaurant for musical with family-style served dinner including pie & beverages]

Enjoy an original Blue Gate Theatre Production (specific show TBD based upon date) where you will see an original musicals based upon popular Christian books with Amish themes brought to life in a 300+ seat theatre. Following your show, enjoy the popular Blue Gate Buffet featuring multiple entrees, sides, soups, salad bar, pies and soft serve ice cream too.

Return to the hotel following your evening

Day Three

6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Meet your guide at your host hotel and depart. Amish Country Quilt Shop Hop & Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail

Participants “hop” to numerous fabulous quilt fabric shops with a local expert guide to feed your “stash” of the latest and most beautiful quilting fabrics, supplies, kits, notions and gadgets. Each quilt shop is unique from the other and the Amish located in the scenic countryside own many. Add a generous dash of fun while touring with optional pie making demos and cooking classes plus continue to visit more posies on the Quilt Garden trail.

Your day will include the following with the guide to determine final routing/timing:

  • Lunch at an Amish home with pie making demo or cooking class demo [TBD based upon choice]
  • Visit Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail [Free]
  • Visit Lolly’s Fabrics, Yoder’s Department Store, Calico Point and more fabric stores as time and distance allows 
[no admission fee, optional pre-purchase fat quarters for the group available]
  • Shopping at Linton’s Enchanted Gardens [no admission fee]
Visit the Quilt Garden at Linton’s at your leisure. Then explore this huge garden center with its many themed gardens including the Japanese Tea House, Southwestern garden with Mine Shaft, Victorian House, Dutch Gardens and Grist Mill. Shop in the 25,000 square foot gift emporium. See the Quilt Garden on site.

5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Haystack Dinner on an Amish family farm with Amish Quilt Trunk Show

After dinner Rebecca Haarer, a nationally known quilt historian and collector of vintage Indiana quilts, tells about the history of Amish quilting. Rebecca shows vintage Amish quilts and discusses how they’ve been influenced by the Amish culture in a format she describes as her “quilt museum on the road.” She also points out how changes in society have affected the Amish and their quilts. (Class at 5:30 p.m., Dinner at 6:30 p.m., Trunk Show at 7:30 p.m.)


Amish Quilting Bee & Haystack Meal at an Amish homestead

Elaine Jones invites you to join her, along with her family and friends in an Amish-quilting bee. Begin with a delicious home- cooked, traditional Amish meal that is unique to Northern Indiana Amish Country. Some say it is similar to an upside down taco salad … Amish style … others say it’s just delicious! Then pull up a chair around 4 original quilt frames filled with hand pieced Amish quilts. The ladies demonstrate how to piece, mark and get the quilt ready to sew. Then sit down beside them to participate, watch, learn or just chat as these Amish ladies lead the novice and experienced quilter in an old-fashioned quilting bee.

Return to your host hotel following your evening

Menno Hof
Menno Hof

Day Four

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel Check-Out

Depart for home or other options


Fruit Hills Winery Wine Tasting

David & Michelle Muir invite you to join their family inside their brand new wine tasting room in the scenic fruit hills of Bristol. Featuring several varieties such as Riesling, Cabernet and Traminette (Indiana’s signature wine). Sample different wines, see the process of pressing and preparation, and shop for a bottle to take home or step outside and enjoy the view.

Meadow Brook Farm

Constructed during the Civil War by a wealthy Chicago family, the home and barns at Meadow Brook Farm were built with oak, maple and poplar wood from the surrounding land. Guests enjoy seeing five original structures, including the home, two barns, a granary, and the smokehouse, all of which are certified on Indiana’s Historical Registry. Hostess will greet and share on the bus followed by a self-guided tour the original 1860 historical home, barns and smokehouse including Amish built furniture, themed décor in each of five bedrooms & six baths, plus see antique farm implements and a “Jesus Donkey”.

Strings and Thread, played by hand and made by hand  

Experience the beauty of a live harp concert with a backdrop of hand-stitched quilts. Local harpist Anna Hagen weaves together a variety of musical genres from favorite hymns to rock ‘n’ roll while showcasing family quilts passed down to her by her mother and grandmother. Anna’s stories connect quilt patterns with musical performance, showing how these arts are pieced into the fabric of our lives. Your group will be entranced by the combination of elegant music created by the world’s oldest string instrument as they learn the intricacies of its workings while they laugh at Anna’s homespun anecdotes.

Special Quilting Events in the Region

June 23-26, 2021 AND June 22-25, 2022 – Shipshewana Quilt Festival Quilt & Vendor Show

Guests will have an option to add-on a special guest speaker program or take in a workshop. For those not interested in the optional programs, you’ll have time to explore the hundreds of quilts on display along with the quilt vendors at the Quilt & Vendor Show.

September 17-19, 2021 AND September 16-18, 2022 – Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale

Since 1968, the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale has been raising funds to support the projects and programs of Mennonite Central Committee, a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches. MCC shares God’s love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. The sale is one of 42 relief sale events in the U.S. and Canada that together raise over five million dollars annually. The sale is made possible with the help of hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time and resources. Attendees can purchase variety-donated items in the various auctions, craft building, as well all of the many food booths. Highlights include the Amish/Mennonite Bake Sales, hundreds of hand-stitched quilts on display for viewing and photos, faith based music, festive atmosphere and sense of local community.