Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Northern Indiana: A Visit to the Amish

     Coming down from Chicago we came to Elkhart, Indiana, and some surrounding towns where there is a large Amish and Mennonite population.  Interestingly enough, this is also the RV capital of the world.  Approximately half of all RVs are made in northern Indiana, and it looks like too!  Lot after lot of RVs of all sorts...but then the countryside was very pretty as well.

     We ate well, to put it simply.  We camped and hung around Shipshewana mostly, the smallest Amish town but with the most authentic experience and amazing food! Some brew cheese, homemade cherry strudel, Amish sausage stuffed with cheese, kielbasa.  Hard for me not to buy more stuff when we went into Yoder's meat and cheese shop, and it was a heaven of delicacies, rows upon rows of cheese, fudge, smoked meats, cold cuts, bacon by the pound, fresh breads, and cuts of beef, pork, chicken, bison, as well as smoked salmon and a thousand other yummies.  A must see if you are passing through that area!

     A big horse auction was going on while we were there.  We sat and watched for awhile, just to see what it was like.  Megan laughed because she couldn't understand anything the auctioneer was saying. He was almost singing!  I was amazed at how cheap the horses were.  Mostly farm and work horses were being sold, but many were well broken in riding horses that would be great for trails. We didn't see a single one of them go for any more than $300; most were around $150-250. Crazy! Then my dad reminded my how much maintenance horses took, but still, if I ever want some trail horses, I'm going back to Indiana.   : )

     As we drive through Indiana to Pennslyvania, it seems we're seeing the heart of America.  We've been taking less interstates lately and more back roads mostly to avoid toll roads.  As a result, it's been beautiful vista after vista of rolling farm land and forests.  All the Amish we met were wonderfully nice people, and we feel blessed that we've met so many friendly people in all the places we've gone.

     Today, we're leaving Pennslyvania. We've been with friends, Wally and Theresea.  We visited the winery they work part-time at, and walked around Penn State some.  We found a farmers market with more Amish goods, and bought some yummy pastries.  Can't get enough!  Mostly, we've had a great time building new relationships with our hosts, and we hope we can see them again in the coming years. Plus Megan was happy to win Catan again!

    Now to Niagara Falls.  Then, off the beaten path through the Adirondack Mountains, pulling out the down jackets, and east to Burlington, VT. We hope to hit Vermont at its peak of leaves.

     Thanks to everyone who reads this blog and shares this journey with us.  Friends are the most important possession we have.  We'll post some pictures soon of Indiana, just haven't gotten around to loading them.


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