Each Friday, we're featuring a journey, an adventure, a unique event somewhere around the world. It could be in your back yard, or it could require four flights, a tuk tuk ride and you helping crew a junk across one of the vast stretches of water that cover our planet. We travel - a lot! It's in our blood, it's who we are. All Adventures that we write about we've done - unless you've got one that's so awesome, and then we need to share it. Got an adventure that competes? Email us your experience and who knows, it might be featured!
Sometimes we need a getaway that's a little closer to home, but we're looking for something with a bit of history and something we haven't experienced before. Unless you're from a few small farming communities that are scattered throughout the United States, there's a good chance that you haven't experienced the Amish culture. Nestled amongst the corn and bean fields of North-central Indiana is a Nappanee, population just shy of 6,700 people that live a much simpler life.
Throughout the region, it's not uncommon for the farm you pass while driving on one of the many county roads within the region to be owned, operated and lived in by an Amish family. The Amish are a group of traditionalist German Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins. They don't drive cars, have electricity in their homes or on their properties and embrace a more traditional pace of life. In fact, Nappanee's motto is "Embrace the Pace" which captures what life in this rural enclave is all about.
A standout within this community is the renown Amish Acres Historical Resort - the only Amish farm that's listed on the Register of Historic Places. We recommend a couple days in Nappanee, exploring all that the community and Amish Acres has to offer. Starting with a humble beginning in 1968, Amish Acres has become a living time capsule, providing an escape from always-on connectivity and acts as a reminder to what built this country. Richard Pletcher, CEO of Amish Acres wrote a wonderful historic account of what it took to establish and build out his fathers dream - read it here.
The Amish Acres resort consists of two hotels, a historic round barn theater (phenomenal!), an 80 acre working farm, buggy rides, grist mill, soda fountain, meat and cheese shop, numerous shops, the historic restaurant barn featuring their award winning Threshers Dinner, and numerous activities that happen throughout the year. We highly recommend attending the annual Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival that takes place the first Thursday - Sunday of each August. This year's is taking place August 4-7.
The annual Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival features over 300 artisans from over 30 states showing their crafts and fine art. Food tents and barns circle the pond providing an array of festival foods from pulled pork sandwiches (right off the pig that was roasted on a spit) to funnel cakes, sassafras iced tea, home made ice cream and lemonade shakes-ups to the exotic flavors of the Orient.
Continuous entertainment is taking place throughout the day with something happening all the time on one of the four stages. We highly recommend that you stay hydrated! The humidity in northern Indiana in early August is usually fierce and people sweat more than they realize.
Our recommendation is to go on Thursday and stay until Sunday. Stay at the Inn at Amish Acres (if you can get in), otherwise stay at the Nappanee Inn - both are great and very convenient to Amish Acres and the town of Nappanee. Enjoy the festival, take drives throughout the countryside and visit the Coppes Commons on US 6 in the heart of Nappanee. Grab some ice cream from Rocket Science inside of Coppes (Amish women work there and they make ice cream with nitrogen while you wait!), explore the town square and say hi to the ladies inside of Newcomer Jewelry - a wonderful local jeweler. If the farmers market is going while you're in town, stop by - it's located near Nappanee's traditional railroad depot just south of US 6 on SR 19. Walk through the town's library, just north of US 6 on SR 19. Remodeled by the co-founder of Amish Acres, Richard Pletcher, the new library surrounds the original town library in an architectural way that shows the people of Nappanee care about history, while practically planning for the future.
Got comments of a trip you've taken to Nappanee or Amish Acres? Leave them below - we'd love to hear from you!