Dreaming of a couple or family getaway? How about visiting scenic Amish country? There, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the peaceful, quiet Amish way of life, as well as the growing arts scene and burgeoning food culture. Whether it’s Northern Indiana, Western Pennsylvania, or Central Tennessee, each Amish region has its own unique local flavor and set of destinations. Yet Amish culture remains as it has for hundreds of years, with an emphasis on simplicity and handmade construction. Read on for our picks on what to do and see while visiting Amish country.
Travel Picks: What to Do When Visiting Amish Country
Explore the Heritage Trail. Northern Indiana has one of the highest concentrations of Amish residents in the United States. Here, you can explore the Heritage Trail, a circular route connecting the major Amish cultural centers in Northern Indiana including Shipshewana, Goshen, Nappanee, and Elkhart.
Open year-round, the Heritage Trail features enchanting Main Streets, serene country roads, and quaint Amish farms. The driving tour was chosen by Life as one of “America’s Most Scenic Drives” and is enjoyable during all four seasons. In spring you’ll enjoy the radiant colors of awakening flowers, and the chance to sample delicious maple syrup. Summer’s warm days are perfect for boating on local rivers and enjoying outdoor concerts. Don’t forget to visit the famous (and free!) quilt gardens in Elkhart County, Indiana, where nineteen gardens are planted in traditional quilt patterns. Fall colors blaze along the Heritage Trail, and autumn brings juicy apples, freshly pressed cider, and hayrides! Winter brings its own sights and sounds, along with holiday cheer. The 1910 Beaux Arts mansion in Elkhart stages an Edwardian Yuletide with multiple Christmas trees. And don’t miss the Goshen College Music Department’s Festival of Carols. In January, the Fire and Ice Festival highlights regional ice carvers.
Shop ‘Til You Drop. Shipshewana, Goshen, and other Amish towns are delightful for shoppers. Shipshewana is known for its huge open-air summer flea market, held from May 5th to October 3rd. In Amish county stores across the region, shoppers will find a range of handcrafted Amish goods. The Dutch Village Market in Nappanee, Indiana features more than 300 collectibles, crafts, and antique booths. In addition, the Amish Quilt Auction, held every November in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, features stunning quilts to keep your loved ones toasty warm.
Delectable Cuisine. Foodies, take notice: Good eats abound in Amish county. Try toothsome slow roasted beef served in a family style environment at the Blue Gate Restaurant, or hang out at the local’s favorite Yoder’s Meat and Cheese shop in Shipshewana. In Nappanee, check out Amish Acres, which features several restaurants as well as themed dinners. Culinary Mill’s savory smoked cheddar and pulled pork are not to be missed. This represents the tip of the iceberg for great food goes in Amish Country.
Take in Local Art. Shipshewana’s Blue Gate Theater offers dozens of family-friendly productions every year. Multiple local festivals spur creativity; for instance, the annual apple festival in Nappanee features Apple Art murals. Also, be sure to visit the 1930s-era Nappanee Theatre.
More Activities in Amish Country
- Linton’s Seminars and Workshops. On Saturday’s, Linton’s Enchanted Gardens near Elkhart offers free, informative workshops and seminars. Topics span a variety of Amish-related themes, such as tea and coffee sampling, edible holiday décor creation, decorating themed Christmas trees, and more. Call (574) 293-9699 ext. 0 for more information.
- Ginger Bread House Display. From late November through early January, the Davis Mercantile in Shipshewana offers good times for the entire family, as fantastic gingerbread creations are on display. Call (260) 768-8580 to learn more.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is another popular tour destination for those curious about life in Amish Country. There’s a lot to do here, from exploring Amish Village, to touring of Amish farmhouses and towns on the Backroads Bus Tour. Call (717) 687-8511 for more information about The Amish Village.
During your visit to Amish Country, support this unique American culture by buying Amish products, such as Gish’s Amish made furniture. Our Amish furniture store locations in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Maryland specialize in Amish heirlooms. We offer a wide variety of handmade furniture for the living room, dining room, office, and bedroom. We also offer children’s furniture. All of our furniture is built for a lifetime, and we offer in a variety of stains and woods. Our friendly associates will help you feel at home while browsing the beautiful furniture in our Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Tennessee locations.[Photo by: likeaduck, via CC License]