At Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park, 6255 N. 1000
W.; (260) 768-7194, families can embark on a horse-drawn
safari-style wagon ride and encounter buffaloes, llamas, porcupines
Ben's Bakery, 250 Berkshire Drive; (260)
768-4174, is a family-style bakery with a fine selection of pies in
all shapes and sizes including fry pies, hand pies and whoopie
pies. Arrive on an empty stomach!
Two hours from Chicago, our family traded our car for horse and
buggy to explore the quaint town of Shipshewana and scenic
backroads in the heart of Indiana Amish country. Many visitors come
to Shipshewana for the Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market, the
largest of its kind in the Midwest held every Tuesday and
Wednesday, where you'll find everything from handmade quilts to
We started our journey by hitching a guided ride on a horse and
buggy with Buggy Lane Tours, a small, local tour company. My two
city kids were thrilled when our buggy led us to a working Amish
dairy farm: they frolicked with barnyard cats, milked cows and
tried milk direct from the cow's udders for the very first
We capped our visit to the farm with a family-style Amish dinner
at the Blue Gate Restaurant, where we enjoyed a hearty meal of
country fried steaks, mashed potatoes, tender green beans and
Davis Mercantile is downtown Shipshewana's shopping mall, where
local vendors sell handcrafted, souvenir-worthy goods, including
Amish quilts (available at Lolly's Fabrics on the first floor) and
hammered dulcimers (at Simple Sounds, also on the first floor).
Don't forget to take a ride on the antique carousel, created in
1906 and featuring hand-carved farm animals. Grab a few homemade
pretzels from JoJo's Pretzels (first floor) to go.
Twenty miles east of Shipshewana, Trading Post Canoe invites
adventuresome families to take a 10-mile kayak or canoe ride down
the shallow, slow-flowing Pigeon River.
This excursion was just right for our 3- and 11-year-old kids:
our 11-year-old chose to travel in a one-person kayak while our
3-year-old kept my husband and me company in a canoe. We made sure
to bring along snacks (Amish popcorn from a popcorn stand on
Harrison Street in Shipshewana) and drinks, and stopped halfway
down the river on a tiny island, where we kept watch for turtles
Our home base in Shipshewana was a tiny log cabin at Amish Log
Cabin Lodging. Though small-one room with a queen and a bunk
bed-the view from our window of a quiet farm with horses grazing on
the fields at sunset and the budget-friendly rate made it worth our
Year round, Shipshewana makes for a great family weekend
Amy Bizzarri is a writer, Chicago public school teacher and mom to two kids - a preschooler and a middle schooler - living in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.
See more of Amy's stories here.
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