Shipshewanna offers backcountry charm

2013-05-02T01:30:00Z Shipshewanna offers backcountry charmTrish Maley Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 02, 2013 1:30 am  • 

If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle and show your family a different way of life, a back-to basics day trip to Shipshewana may be what you need.

Amy Asher, of Union Township, grew up visiting Shipshewana and has made it a summertime tradition with her own children.

“Over the years I have been to Shipshewana more times than I could count. We usually go at least once over the summer but often it’s three or four times. We have gone since the kids were little,“ said Asher. “We have gone to the shops and restaurants but by far our favorite thing to do is the flea market. It is always exciting to see what is new each year. There really is something for everyone.”

And it seems that people of all ages can find something to enjoy in Shipshewana.

Families can enjoy the Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park and Cook’s Bison Ranch – where feeding the animals is encouraged. Visitors can bring their own bike or rent one to ride the Pumpkinvine Trail – a 6.5 mile trail from Shipshewana to Middlebury. Antique car enthusiasts will enjoy the world’s largest collection of restored Hudson Autos at Hostetler’s Hudson Museum. There are also 67 lakes to explore. Bargain hunters can check out the flea market which has hundreds of vendors selling everything from fresh fruit to home décor to hand crafted furniture. Foodies can enjoy snacking on homemade foods such as ice cream, baked goods and hand-rolled pretzels or have an opportunity to eat farm-to-table meals.

“The kids love to snack on the soft pretzels which, like all of their baked goods, are outstanding. You can tell how popular the food is by the length of the line to get one,” said Asher. “We’ve gone to the Davis Mercantile which has a bunch of little shops to browse around in and it’s in a very neat historical building. There is the coolest staircase supported by the largest tree trunk I have ever seen. There are lots of things for the kids to see and do.”

At the Davis Mercantile visitors can shop four floors. “Enjoy roof-top dining, a wonderful scrapbook shop, an old fashion candy store and a children’s toy store complete with a child size door. In the center of the building stands a 360 year old Douglas Fir Tree, where you will find a surrounding staircase,“ said Beth Thornburg, executive director of LaGrange County Convention Visitors Bureau.

Buggy Rides are also popular and there are several businesses that offer this to visitors. Millers Buggy Line Tours is in their 17th season.

“We offer several kinds of tours but our most popular is taking a buggy out to an Amish family for supper. We call it a thrasher meal and everything is served family style, all you can eat. Everything is homemade – breads, pies, jams, etc. Pick up is at 5 and we have you back in town by 7,” said Sandi Miller, who owns the business with her husband Bill.

Although Shipshewana has festivals and events year round, May through October is the busiest time.

“Reservations are recommended during the summer flea market months for overnight accommodations, “ said Thornburg. “On our website visitors may download or order a copy of our Visitor’s Guide. The guide provides area information, maps, and coupons.”

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