June 30, 2010

Eating Our Way Down the Heritage Trail



Not far from Lake James is Indiana Amish country -- a smattering of towns with large Amish and Mennonite populations, all linked by a 90-mile common road dubbed "The Heritage Trail." Life Magazine declared that this trail is "One of America's Most Scenic Drives."

We like scenic drives.

We also like good food.

Luckily we found both in abundance here.


We started at the Flea Market in Shipshewana. It had an amazing farmer's market with beautiful produce and plants, baked goods and ice cream. Yes, it took us less than 10 minutes to start eating. But really, how can you pass up homemade vanilla ice cream?


You just can't.

We looked at the antique auction preview and then wandered among the stalls filled with t-shirts and popcorn, flags and tag sale junk.

And then I saw it.

On a table at the back of a stall was an antique Chinese ginger jar painted with the characters for "double happiness." I bought my first jar like this in Guangzhou. I look for these jars at antique stores all the time. They're usually priced at about $250. This one was marked $35. The seller took $26.50.

I nearly kissed her.

We were headed out of the flea market with my new-to-me jar when we came upon an Amish woman and man in a glass-fronted booth making fruit turnovers. Kenna and Michal were fascinated with the process. The woman cut the dough in a circle, placed fruit filling in the middle, folded it in a fluted press and then handed it off to the man who dropped it in hot grease and then dunked it in a glaze. They were both very precise about the whole thing but chatted with us while they worked.


We followed little pies through this process again and again. And then we bought two because it would have simply been impolite to spend so much time watching how these turnovers were made and not try them.

Can you say divine?

Next we headed to downtown Shipshewana where we rode in an Amish buggy. Our driver was a retired Amish dairy farmer who took us through the countryside so we could see Amish farms. He yelled, "Hello" to everyone we passed and threw three lollipops to three children who clearly were waiting for him to drive by.


The buggy was lined in blue velvet and the seats were domed and bouncy. I felt a bit like an engagement ring nestled in its box.


Our next stop was Napanee where we had a traditional Amish thresher's dinner in a 100-year old barn. We had ham and bean soup, broasted chicken, roast beef and sage dressing, mashed potatoes, noodles, corn, homemade bread and apple butter.

And then our choice of homemade pie.



I ate way too much.

And loved every bite.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, why am I drooling all over the place here and frantically googling this location??!!

    Must go...yesterday!

    Sounds simply amazing. I am smitten just by reading your post!




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