Individuals interested in the ways and lifestyle of the Amish need only take a short drive to Nappanee, Ind.
In the small town, about a two-hour drive from Northwest Indiana and Chicago's South Side, tourists will find Amish Acres, an 80-acre Old Order Amish farm. There on the premises of the historic-themed resort, is the 125-year-old Stahly-Nissley-Kuhns farmstead and other attractions. The farmstead is on the National Register of Historic Places.
To enjoy the various attractions at Amish Acres, allow for about four hours or more of exploration time. The beginning of a tour around Amish Acres should start with the viewing of films "Genesis" and "Exodus of the Amish," which are shown in a room located in the Greeting Barn not far from the Round Barn Theatre. In the films, visitors learn about the history of the Amish and their religious, technology-free and simple way of life.
Various tour packages, which allow individuals to see certain aspects of the farm, are available. Guests may visit the homes that are on the grounds, the one-room schoolhouse and also take a horse and buggy ride, a horse and tractor ride or a walking tour of the premises.
Among attractions featured are The Round Barn Theatre starring popular musical productions performed by resident repertory theater professionals. During a recent visit, a lively production of "Little Shop of Horrors," starred. Currently, the musical "Footloose," is being performed and continues to July 20.
If you're interested in shopping, take time to explore the gift shop in the Greeting Barn, W.H. Best Meat and Cheese Shop, the Bakery or Log Cabin Soda Shop & Fudgery.
When it's time to eat, head over to The Restaurant Barn for a highlighted Threshers Dinner, featuring family-style dining. There's something for all appetites on the Threshers Dinner menu which stars a choice of two meats—chicken, hickory-smoked ham or roast beef, ham and bean soup, homemade bread, green beans, beef and egg noodles, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, sage dressing and a choice of pies, including old-fashioned shoo-fly, coconut cream, lemon meringue and others. Cost for the Threshers Dinner is $18.95. (Price is $1.25 per year for ages 4 to 11).
If you'd rather not order the Threshers Dinner, guests may choose from a regular menu. The restaurant also features occasional themed dinners, catering and party and wedding menus.
Various special events take place at Amish Acres throughout the year. Visit the attraction's website for more information. Seasonal demonstrations, including broom making and candle dipping, are featured occasionally.
In addition, guests who enjoy viewing nature and birds will surely like watching the colorful peacocks and roosters strut across the farm.
Take note: One of the biggest events of the year is scheduled for next month. The 52nd annual Arts and Crafts Festival takes places July 31 through Aug. 3 at Amish Acres. Assorted vendors bring their wares to the farm for the festival which annually draws hundreds of attendees.
FYI: Amish Acres is located at 1600 W. Market Street, Nappanee. Call (800) 800-4942 or visit amishacres.com.