A change of scenery in Indiana’s Amish country
More than 300 artisans are expected to turn out for the 50th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival that blankets the grounds of the Amish Acres farm in Nappanee, Indiana from Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 5. Among the highlights: Ongoing live entertainment, the chance to tour the farm via horse and buggy, and shopping for Amish-made items, including baked goods, quilts, candles, and soap. The artists come from across the country to compete for $5,000 in prize money. Admission to the grounds is $12.95, which includes tours and access to the farm’s museum and school; the arts festival is $7 for adults and free for children under 12.
GO Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Festival, 1600 W. Market St., Nappanee, Indiana. 800-800-4942, amishacres.com
While you’re in the area: For a more active weekend, saddle up your bike and head for Howe, Indiana, which is about an hour from Nappanee. There, the annual Amishland and Lakes Ride runs Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5. Cycling begins Friday night with a pair of warm-up rides—14- and 32-mile pedals along roads where buggies far outnumber cars (the longer route goes into the Amish community of Shipshewana). On Saturday riders will have a choice of 25, 36, 50, 63, or 100 miles over smooth, lightly traveled roads with few hills. The Sunday rides include a mostly level 22-mile route as well as 34, 47, and 62 miles through rolling hills. Along the way of all routes, SAG (Support and Gear) wagons and stands will provide emergency repairs and, on Saturday, sustenance. Rides depart from Howe School (5755 N. State Rd. 9); for registration information, call 574-387-6449 or go to amishlandlakes.com.
Where to stay: A half a mile from Amish Acres, the Nappanee Inn (2004 W. Market St., 800-800-4942, amishacres.com) is ultra-convenient to the 50th Annual Art and Craft Festival; rates start at $139 a night. The Green Meadow Bed and Breakfast (7905 W. 450 N., Shipshewana, 260-768-4221, greenmeadowbedandbreakfast.com) has several guest rooms with private baths; rates range from $80 to $120.
Where to eat: The Blue Gate Restaurant (105 E. Middlebury St., Shipshewana, 888-445-4725, bluegaterestaurant.com) is known for hearty Amish fare and a bakery stocked with take-home treats. Amish Acres (1600 W. Market St., 800-800-4942) offers a traditional Amish-style meals served in a replica of an area barn built in 1870.
Photograph: Courtesy of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau