A Horse and Buggy Town

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In Shipshewana, one of the main stops in Northern Indiana’s Amish Country, carriages pulled by horses take visitors through the heart of this small farming community starting at the Blue Gate Restaurant.

Travel the country roads and then return to the restaurant which offers traditional Amish fair like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and homemade noodles. Don’t forget to try one of the wonderful pies such as Bob Andy and sugar pie.

Forget that diet. Amish cooking is based upon the caloric needs of hard working farm people who don’t use mechanized machinery. They need a lot of food fuel to keep going, supposedly 8000 calories per day for men, 4000 for women.

Part of this complex, crafted to look like gleaming white farmhouses—albeit very large ones—is the Blue Gate Theater, which offers well known gospel singing groups and plays, all family friendly.

Walk off some of those mashed potatoes by visiting some of the 80 stores in downtown Shipshewana.

Many of these stores once were farmhouses and all are festooned with lights and ornaments for the holidays. Inside, a variety of Amish products ranging from furniture to crafts can be found. A must stop is the 50 foot brightly decorated Christmas tree in front of Riegsecker Market Place.

Located in the market are several interesting stores including the Farm House, one of the largest clock galleries in Indiana. The store also offers more than 30 lines of collectibles including Precious Moments and the plush Boyd’s Bears.

Old World Coppersmith, a second generation coppersmith store, features hand hammered original copper and brass designs. Also for sale are those wonderfully comfortable Minnetonka Moccasins.

Then there is the ultimate guy place, Dad’s Toys. Look for farm toys, scale model cars, model horse drawn vehicles, Stone and Breyer Model Horses, a full size antique tractor and car and a live miniature horse.

Be sure to visit the Shipshewana Flea Market, full of almost everything including fresh grown produce, baked goods and food stalls.

Stop at Yoder’s Country Meat Shoppe, where meat is butchered and cured for hams, hocks and sausages. Locally made jellies and jams such as those made from corncobs, gooseberries and watermelon line the shelves. There are also bags of chicken and beef based, processed on the premises, that can be used for soups and stews.

Take time to visit Menno-Hof to learn about the history of the Amish and Mennonites who settled here. Get wet at Splash Universe Indoor Water Park, the biggest indoor water park in the area.

For those who want to stay overnight, there are lodging packages at the locally owned Farmstead Inn in Shipshewana, the largest hotel in the area, near the downtown area.

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