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

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Off the Beaten Track, Part Two

So, this is the second in a possible series of off the beaten path, Amish-owned businesses that welcome tourists.  Most are open six days a week, closing in late afternoon, and all are closed on Sundays.  Some have little or no internet presence, some are listed only on the local tourism website, but others have hired outsiders to create really nice websites or Facebook pages.

Keep in mind, some of these places have a lot of tourists, but some don’t (although all of them welcome tourists or I wouldn’t put them in this post.)  It’s important that you respect the culture.  Short shorts, low necklines, tight clothing—leave these at home, or stick to the more well-trodden tourist places instead.  Dress modestly and you’ll fit in much more comfortably.

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E&S Sales Bulk Foods.  This one is right ON the beaten path, but for years, I bypassed it.  Why would I want to stop at a “bulk foods” store on vacation?!  But once I stopped in, I was hooked.  So that I don’t repeat myself, you can read my post on E&S here.  Well worth a stop. 1265 N State Road 5, Shipshe.  More info can be found here and here. 

Eash Sales.  Just to the south of E&S you can find Eash Sales.  Move past the four acres of outdoor furniture, playsets, gazebos, and more—and walk a little further south. The first larger building, The Outdoor Store, has yard and garden décor—lots of it...  But there’s another building a bit further south, which very few tourists seem to find—the building covered with painted “barn quilts” on the outside walls and a sign that says Eash Sales.  Here you’ll find housewares—or as they put it, “over 12,000 square feet of indoor displays—kitchenware, canning supplies, cast iron cookware, baskets, inspirational wall décor…”  I could easily wander in this place for an hour.  1205 N State Road 5, Shipshewana.  More info here.

Country Road Fabrics.  This is another one on the main drag that I want to mention because the name in some of the advertising causes most tourists to pass it by.  It’s a lot more than fabrics!  It’s owned by one of the sons of the Chupp family who built E&S Sales.  This place is the closest you’ll get to a museum of contemporary Amish life in this community.  You’ll see their church clothes, work clothes, baby things, caps and bonnets, favorite books, outerwear, toys, shoes (lots of black!), songbooks, Bibles, and nearly everything else needed by today’s Amish family.  (They also have a great selection of other shoes and boots.)  Wander around, look, and learn!  1205 S Van Buren, Shipshewana.  More info here (highlighting their shoes) and here.

Now, getting off the main street (State Route 5 / Van Buren Street in Shipshe) to some out-of-the-way places:

Lambright Country Chimes:  If you want quality wind chimes that will stand the test of time, don’t waste your money on the cheap stuff—save up your dollars and stop in here.  The chimes are made on location and come with a lifetime warranty, and the variety of sounds is amazing.  8340 W US 20, Shipshe.  More info here.

Lakeside Nursery.  This is one of my favorite local Amish-owned greenhouses. It’s located a bit east of Shipshewana, just south of Route 120.  Well worth a visit for annuals, perennials, shrubs, or trees.  The quality is excellent, and the prices are probably lower than you’ll see back home.  5170 N 675 W, Shipshe.  Open spring, summer, fall.  More info here.

Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park.  I never thought an Amish animal park in the little town of Shipshe could be very impressive, but I was wrong!  This place has a lot of good press, and my visiting relatives loved it.  If you have kids, and it’s the warm weather season, check it out.  6255 N 1000 W, Shipshewana.  More info here. 

B Honey and Candles.  These folks have been beekeepers since 1986.  You can find anything bee- or honey-related here, as well as décor, jams, apple cider vinegar, and skin care products.  2260 N 1000 W, Shipshewana.  Basics here and more info here. 

Silver Star Leather:  This Amishman started off as a harness-maker—but thanks to his wife, he now makes beautiful purses and other small goods—belts, wallets, etc.  Besides top grain cow leather, you’ll find goods made from all kinds of exotic leathers (all legally sourced).  A very interesting place to walk around in, and there is a place on their website to schedule a tour!  6875 N 800 W, Shipshewana.  More info here.

As an afterthought:  As you wander the area looking up these places, you’ll probably run across plenty of roadside produce stands, or other small Amish businesses, so don’t drive too fast and keep your eyes sharp.

Should I write about more Amish-owned places like this?  Let me know!

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