Think autumn and enjoy vivid hues and the bounties of the harvest and hearty foods on the Northern Indiana Fall Frolic Tour in Amish Country.
At Amish Acres, autumn is a special time during its Fall Harvest Days. The grounds are decorated with scarecrows and pumpkins and the fragrance of apple butter fills the air. Tour this Amish farmstead listed on the National Register of Historic Places, then head to the kitchen for a hands-on lesson to make shoofly pie. Afterward, dine in the rustic Barn Restaurant on Amish Acres’ famous Threshers Meal served family-style. A Broadway musical production in the Round Barn Theatre is a delightful way to “round” out the experience.
Day two promises a guided, autumn-themed culinary journey traveling scenic byroads in countryside tinged with hues of orange, red and gold. Throughout the day groups gather the ingredients for an apple or pumpkin treat, dip a caramel apple and participate in a pie making demo. A tasty high-point is a traditional “Haystack” lunch served at an Amish homestead. Tour the historic Bonneyville Mill in Bristol where huge millstones rumble into action and the friendly miller tells all about the grinding of corn into meal. Continue to Goshen and step on board a hay-wagon to tour Indiana’s largest apple orchard. Learn all about apple varieties and how to grow them; then watch the process of producing sweet apple cider. Of course, the ultimate treat is biting into a just-picked apple and sipping freshly-pressed cider. Dinner is served family-style inside Indiana’s largest restaurant, Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury. Visitors pass platters of piping-hot chicken and heaping bowls of sides but save room for pie — they offer 30 varieties!
The final day of the tour offers the chance to meet the real housewives of Amish Country, and see first-hand how these ladies do household chores without electrical appliances and run their businesses without modern technology. At one Amish home, enjoy a cinnamon roll demo and tasting! Chat with a basket weaver at her thriving business. Then visit an Amish school to meet an Amish school teacher and find out how she manages her multi-grade classes in just one-room. Visitors go home with a renewed respect for women who live a simple life, yet they’re anything but simple.
Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Middlebury
Enjoy traditional family recipes passed down through generations in Indiana’s largest restaurant. The all-you-can-eat buffet includes two soups, salad bar, three to four entrees, numerous sides and cobblers/puddings for dessert with beverages. Or, the meal is served to the table — the all-you-can-eat family style chicken dinner is complete with all the trimmings, slices of pie and beverages. Groups delight in the intimate Heritage Hall offering enriching theater performances containing a message that’s in keeping with Christian values. The Essenhaus Inn is Amish Country’s most beautiful lodging facility and located on the grounds.
Shipshewana Flea Market, Shipshewana
The Shipshewana Flea Market is a do-not-miss Hoosier tradition featuring 700-plus booths in an open-air market that covers over 40 acres. Vendors offer a variety of products and truly have something for everyone — quirky novelties, fresh seasonal produce and plants, crafts, baked goods, and everything in between. Open rain or shine. There are four food courts, a sit-down restaurant and many food vendors throughout the market. The antique auction barn, open Wednesdays year-round, has up to 10 rings simultaneously auctioning antiques and collectibles. Guests can stay just across the street at the peaceful Farmstead Inn & Conference Center. New is the annual Shipshewana’s Lights of Joy holiday light experience!
Amish Acres, Nappanee
Welcome to the Heritage Resort in Nappanee, home of Indiana’s only professional repertory musical theater, guided house and farm tours, wagon ride, buggy rides, two documentary films about the Amish, shopping in quaint shops, and delicious food prepared by the Amish bakery and kitchen staff including the famous Threshers Dinner in the Restaurant Barn. Groups love to get a restful night sleep at The Inn at Amish Acres featuring breakfast each morning. Overnight special group packages are $99 per person and include one night’s lodging, guided tours, Broadway theater, and family-style dinner. The annual Arts & Crafts Festival each August features over 300 artists and craftsmen. New Year’s Eve specials include fireworks and cabaret music!
Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau