Archive for September, 2011

‘You can tell the Amish houses, they don’t have power connected to them’.

‘Heading Home’
A traditional Amish buggy heading home after the morning in town

We had just turned off Hwy 90 and were on the last stretch of our cross USA road trip, having driven that morning from Milwaukee, skirting Chicago and were about to arrive in Shipshewana, Indiana for our last night on the road.

About 10 years ago my brother, sister-in-law and I planned the ultimate road trip across the USA.  Land in LA, hire the ‘American Dream’ RV and set out across the deep south before climbing northwards to New York and then heading back across the top of the States and taking in parts of Canada.

Needless to say.. the trip never eventuated (not for lack of wanting on any of our behalf’s, especially Jase’s), but something in the planning of that trip drew my attention to the Amish people and their way of life.  The simplicity it held.

I remember seeing a picture of a black square covered-in horse-drawn buggy and men, women and children being dressed in what could only be described as ‘old style’ clothes and being totally intrigued with how they continued to live this way in the current world and one of my wishes was to travel to and stay in one of these Amish communities.

An Amish Boy sells Popcorn to tourists at the local markets

When the opportunity came up to do the cross American road trip with Laura, I had to mention my wish to visit Amish country…and to my surprise, she too was keen to check it out, so the detour to Amish country in Northern Indiana was born.

After arriving around 5pm and checking into the Farmstead Inn and Conference Centre we headed out for a hearty Amish meal at the Blue Gate Restaurant and were not disappointed.. plateful’s of fried chicken, roast beef and fresh homegrown veggies… and to top it all off, amazing slices of Apple and Blueberry Pies for dessert.  To say that we both left full would be an understatement!!

Is your mouth Watering??? Mine is!!
Our Blueberry and Apple Pie slices… to die for!!

Waking up to the clip-clop of hoofs on Saturday morning it was as though we were living in a dream.  The town was busy with both tourists visiting for the weekend and locals coming to town for their weekly outing and grocery runs.

After deciding our plans for the day we ventured to a little hut situated in the parking lot of Yoder’s Shopping Centre, in front of the horse hitching posts, and booked an hour’s private buggy tour to clip-clop like the locals around the Amish Countryside.  For $20 each, our local Amish guide Ernest (from memory) explained to us about the Amish way of life, the significance of the simplicity of dress to ensure that all members remain equal and how over the years families have had to ‘adapt’ to changes in order for their farms to continue to be competitive in today’s fast paced world.

Horse and Buggies at the hitching posts @ Yoder’s Shopping Centre

While many families continue to do as much as they can manually, cows are now beginning to be milked with electronic milking machines and the odd tractor is seen in fields planting and harvesting crops of corn or carting hay to feed the animals.  While these modern-day elements are starting to creep into Amish life, they are doing their best to ensure that their traditions continue in every other sense.

With just the sound of the horse’s hooves on the pavement, the back roads of Shipshewana are magical in every sense.  A chance to see Amish daily life in action…. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…..

‘Waiting for the Master’
Horse-drawn buggies tied up hitched while their masters do their weekly shopping

Laura and I enjoying our buggy tour

Corn field outside Shipshewana

An Amish women collects her morning mail

The view from inside our buggy, with Ernest at the reigns

My Favorite..
An Amish Dad and his daughter ride home from town

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