We ended up staying an extra day beyond what we planned because Mary Jane's RV needed some work done and we had to find someone to take care of it. We were really glad we did stay though because it gave us time to do the Elkhart Heritage Trail. At the Elkhart Visitor's Center, we picked up a map and free CD guide. The lady at the Visitor Center told us to put the CD in the player and sit in the parking lot to listen to the introduction and instructions on use. Once the narrator told us how the program worked, he said to turn the CD off, turn left out of the driveway and then right at the stoplight. Once we made the turn, we were to turn the CD back on. First we went through downtown Elkhart.
The Elkhart County Historical Museum
Then we headed out into the country. The CD gave us a historical description of each place along the route as well as point interesting spots we wanted to turn the CD off and see.
This area is Amish country. Elkhart County is the third largest (20,000) Amish enclave in the United States. You will see the Amish in their distinctive clothes and horsedrawn buggies throughout the area. Many businesses in the area are run by the Amish.
Das Dutchman Essenhaus is a huge Amish style restaurant.....an Amish kitchen in Middlebury.
Right next to it, you will find the Village Shops.
And The Cabin.
A quiet lake spot along the route.
It was so interesting to hear the historical narrative about how the place was settled. The Bonneyville Mill area is a good place to stop and visit.
The narrator pointed out places we should turn the CD off and visit along the way.
Shipshewanna......The flowers and gardens were really pretty.
Flowers are everywhere.
Here we are in Shipshewanna where we parked and walked all around the streets. There are all kinds of restaurants and shops located in the houses.
Horse and carriage rides are available in many places. You will also see lots of Amish traveling around in their black buggies. The horses move right along at a fast pace.
This beautiful display was out in front of a shop in the country.
Many of the farms are Amish with large houses for large families.
There is one three story building in Shipshewanna that has a lot of different shops.
Including a merry-go-round on the third floor.
Again, there are lots of restaurants to choose from.
We had lunch here.....soup and half a sandwich which was very good and reasonably priced. They had lots of baked goods too.
This salsa was for sale at the bakery.
Some buildings were in better shape than others.
A leather boot shop!
The Amish don't like to have their pictures taken but no one was by these buggies at the store. Most places have places to park buggies as well as cars.
Hanging baskets of flowers were everywhere.
Decks are very popular.
I think we were in Goshen in these photos.
There were couples strategically places
Nothing proves this saying more than RVing!
There really is a lot to do in Elkhart County. In addition to the RV Hall of Fame and the Elkhart County Heritage Tour, the Shipshewanna Flea Market is open every Tuesday and Wednesday and is very popular. Plus, a very large percentage of American RVs are made right here in the area and most of the manufacturers have tours of their factory's available. Mary Jane and I toured the Phoenix Cruiser factory and it was very impressive. They are a small operation which turns out only two RVs a week but you can tell that is why they are such high quality RVs.