My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Monday, May 19, 2014

Town & Country Hardware

My husband and I do some strange, non-touristy things on our weekend getaways to Amish Indiana.  Maybe it’s in preparation for moving there in a few years, I don’t know.  One of the places that we visit regularly is Town & Country Hardware.

This little hardware store sits across the street (Route 5) from Yoder’s Department Store in Shipshewana, just south of Wana Cup Restaurant and north of the Auction Barn.  I doubt too many tourists go there, but it’s a great favorite among the locals, both “English” and Amish.  But we’ve made some strange purchases there—strange for tourists, at least.

It’s an old-fashioned hardware store, with very little that is flashy or fancy.  Like so many things in Amish Indiana, it’s like stepping back in time.  The sign outside says “Gifts – Collectibles – Pottery – Baskets – Crafts”…  but I don’t recall seeing much of those kinds of things in there!   The minute you step in the door, there’s a small checkout counter or two, and then just rows and rows of stuff.  Everything to be found in an old-fashioned hardware store of my youth is there, along with items that have the Amish in mind, and also the local farmers.  I love the seed bins the best. 

One time my husband (pictured above) had his hot rod and trailer along, and a sharp turn severed a woven-wire cable.  He was able to purchase a length of cable there, and the employee on duty took us to the back room, where he looped it around and fashioned a fastener to hold the loop in place.  It was better than the original cable.

Another time my husband was looking for a special kind of chrome fastener for his hot rod, and he needed twenty of them.  He hadn’t found them at home, but he found them there.

We’ve bought felt pads for the legs of our bar stools, tin Christmas ornaments, annuals for the garden, kitchen gadgets, and other items too numerous to mention.

Town & Country isn’t for the typical tourist, but for a taste of real life in a small Amish-English town, take a stroll down the aisles.  You might find something you can’t live without.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Carl and Anthony Visit the Amish

I wrote previously about harvesting the corn with two of my foreign-student summer guests, Oliver and Avo.  Another summer, I brought Carl and Anthony to Amish Indiana.

Carl and Anthony (“The Lads” as we called them) were college students from England who had spent the summer in my home.  Before they went back to England, we headed to Amish Indiana—five of us—Carl, Anthony, my sister, my young niece Bee, and I.  As usual, I ended up at the farm of my main and original Amish friends.  And as usual, they welcomed my guests with hospitality—and the same spirit of curiosity about life in England, as The Lads had about the Amish way of life.

 We got up close and personal with lots of animals, as the photos show.  The Lads were both from cities—Carl from London and Anthony from Bristol—so this was a new experience for them.  I don’t remember if we had wonderful homemade baked goods, but I’d guess that we did.  Then we all went for a buggy ride.  Carl sat up front with my Amish friend Glenn, with Bee in the middle, and Anthony and my sister got into the back seat with me.  As it turned out, it was a buggy ride like no other I’ve had…

At some point Glenn asked Carl if he would like to drive the buggy.  Carl happily took the reins, and down the country road we went.  At first everything was fine.  But at some point we veered off the road and barreled full speed (such as it is in a buggy) into the front yard of an Amish farm, where two young boys were playing near the house.  As we sped past them through the middle of their lawn, the boys looked up in surprise—but before they could do anything but stare, we reached the other side of their front yard, crossed the driveway, and veered back onto the road.  What amazed me the most was how calm my Amish friend Glenn was.  While I was having a nervous breakdown in the back seat, he just helped Carl get the horses back on the road, as if this happened every day!  And down the road we went, Carl saying something like “Oops, sorry about that.”

All in all, a day to remember.