Monthly Archives: July 2018

Part 2 of 12 Amazing Things to Do in Shipshewana

[Part 2 in a series of 4] by Laurie Sherck

People who have watched the recently released video of Shipshewana have been telling me, “I didn’t realize there were so many things to do here.”    It’s always exciting for me to help people discover that a visit isn’t just a bucket list of “things to do”.   It’s so much more and that’s what I love about living here.  It is an amazing place to bring your family to create your own stories that you will be sharing together for years to come.   If you haven’t watched the video I’m referring to, here’s your chance. Just click the photo below.

Things to Do in Shipshewana- Carriage Rides around Shipshewana

Things to Do in Shipshewana

Staying Sane this Summer

The  video is merely a jumping off point of where to dive in when you visit. Since we’re right in the throes of summer school vacation, it’s probably accurate to say that if you have children at home, you may be hearing those dreaded words: “There’s nothing to do” or “I’m bored” escaping through the lips of your little sweethearts.  Worse yet, there may be an ongoing battle of trying to get kids off their devices or trying to pry them away from the TV.     I’ve chosen this blog to share about a few of the things you can do with children in Shipshewana.  A visit to here could be your answer to “staying sane” this summer while the kiddos are home from school.  The added bonus? It’s just plain fun for everyone!     While there are lots of terrific options, here are a few tips that will make this a summer that both you and your kiddos won’t forget?

Hilarious Fun at Dutch Creek Animal Farm Park

Things to Do in Shipshewana- Barrel Ride at Dutch Creek Animal Farm Park

Things To Do in Shipshewana- Dutch Creek Animal Farm Park

A few hours at Dutch Creek Animal Farm Park is a hilariously fun way to invest time with your kids or grandkids.   Most recently I took my son, his wife and 4 children to visit this one-of-a kind park, where they had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with all sorts of critters.   What’s not to like about a wagon ride through a huge field filled with exotic animals, or holding a baby duck, or taking a quick barrel ride around the barn yard?    My grandkids particularly loved feeding the zebras and ostrich.   It’s easy to understand why people keep returning to this farm.  Some people like to visit the farm in the spring and meet the new babies, and then return later in the summer to observe how much they’ve grown.    We learn something new every time we visit.   It never gets old.   This recommendation comes with a warning though.  If you’re expecting a quiet ride home, you may be in for a surprise.  Kids and adults alike will talk non-stop about the crazy antics of the talking Cockatoo, or the overly-friendly ostrich.

Create Your Own Doll at Kids Kreations

Things to Do in Shipshewana- Making a doll at Kids Kreations

Things to Do in Shipshewana – Kids Kreations

One of the neatest things I’ve done with my granddaughters here in Shipshewana is to take them to Kids Kreations and help them make a doll.    I’ve found the ladies at Kids Kreations to be very patient and caring with children as they help them choose everything they need to build a beautiful keepsake doll.    It’s such a treat to help pick out a little outfit for their baby, give their new doll a name and receive the “birth certificate”.    I especially treasure the hugs and kisses I got from my little sweeties as we walked out the door with them cradling their “babies”.  Love, Love, Love that feeling!   Be sure to ask the ladies at Kids Kreations about their Birthday Party packages.  They go all out to give children a birthday to remember!

Take in the fabulous view from The Dentzel Carousel at Davis Mercantile

Things to Do in Shipshewana- Ride the 1906 Dentzel Carousel at The Davis Mercantile

Things To Do in Shipshewana – Shipshewana Carousel Company

Kids of all ages love riding the 1906 Dentzel Carousel located on the 3rd floor of The Davis Mercantile.  The menagerie of carousel animals pass by enormous picture windows that offer a birds-eye view of Shipshewana that you can’t find anywhere else in town.    Many people admire the hand-carved and hand-painted work of the carousel animals.  For me, probably the most rewarding part of this stop is watching the children smile and hearing the giggles as children take their turn on the carousel.  Of course,  since you’re in the neighborhood anyway, you’ve just gotta grab lunch at Millie’s Market Café, sample a piece of chocolate at Aunt Millie’s Candy Store and stop in at the Red Wagon toy store!  Right?!!  They are all located on the 3rd floor of The Davis Mercantile.    It’s always a great time at the Shipshewana Carousel Company!

Did you miss Part 1? Catch up on that one for sure and for more great ideas for things to do in Shipshewana be sure to visit Also, keep your eyes peeled open for Part 3 coming soon.

Wedding Bells in Amish Country

By Marcia Eichhorn

When I tell my guests at Bright Morning Star Bed and Breakfast about an Amish wedding, they are amazed by the number of people invited.   Unlike us “Englishers”, Amish families don’t share that the young folks are getting married until 6-8 weeks before the wedding, when it is first “published” (announced) in church.  Then invitations are sent.   The size of the weddings have grown over the past 10 years.   Today a couple invites between 800-1,200 people.   Can you imagine knowing that many people?

The Wedding Wagon

Amish Wedding- Amish Cook Wagon

Amish Cook Wagon

To help prepare for an Amish Wedding, a “Wedding Wagon” is rented and reserved a year in advance.  It is a 40 foot long RV trailer consisting of 5 ovens, 2 sinks, and a walk in cooler.   Just to give you an idea, among the 24,000 Indiana Amish population in 2011 there were roughly 1,000 weddings.   Along with the wedding wagon is the dish wagon, which holds place settings of china, glassware, silverware, pots and pans, dish tubs, and baking pans.

An All-Day Affair

Amish Wedding- Waiting for the Wedding to start

Waiting for the Wedding

Amish weddings are held either on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, but not Saturday as clean-up needs to be done before Sunday.  The service begins with singing at 9am and ends around 12:00.   Three preachers participate.   First, a small sermon is given, then one reads scripture, and lastly a message on marriage.   A neighbor family hosts the wedding ceremony, and then everyone goes to the bride’s home for the meal.

Wedding Preparations

Amish Wedding Cook Wagon

Inside an Amish Cook Wagon

Up to a week before the wedding the “bench wagons” are delivered.  Neighbors and family come to prepare the food, trim the lawn, and clean the house.   The men have been busy cleaning the shop house where the meal will be served, removing buggies, wiping down walls, and sprucing up the homestead.

China Place Setting at an Amish Wedding

Wedding Party Place Setting

The bride has chosen dress colors for the servers and two women in the wedding party.   She mails a sample piece of material she has chosen to the ladies.   They go to the local fabric store and buy the fabric and sew their dress.   The bride chooses a different color for her dress.   The styles are fashioned like the traditional Amish dress.  The bride wears a white cape and white apron over her dress, along with the white covering for her head.   Men wear the traditional black suit, called mutza (with no lapels) made by family.

The Big Question- Will there be enough food?

Homemade Pies for an Amish Wedding

Homemade Pies stored in the Amish Food Wagon

Preparing the wedding meal for an Amish wedding takes a great deal of organization.  Recipes serving 100 plus are passed down from generation to generation.   Relatives and neighbors come 2-3 days ahead to prepare the food.   Cooking for 1,000 people requires peeling and mashing 400 pounds of potatoes!   The bread for the dressing will need to be toasted, chicken cooked, and broth reserved.   Choices of meat vary between ham, poor man’s steak, and chicken.   Traditional salads are tossed salad, fruit salad, taco salad, or creamy grape salad.   The vegetable is usually home grown.  Fifty loaves of homemade bread, 20 cakes or puddings, and over 80 pies are made the day before.   Finally, after having all the food you might want, it is tradition to pass a bowl full of candy bars.  All food is served family style.  Friends of the couples are servers.  The names of the servers are printed in the Die Blatt, the Amish newspaper.

Amish Traditions

Amish Wedding- The Wedding Party Table

Wedding Party Table

Tables are covered with rolls of paper.   They are adorned with candles and flowers.  The bride and groom have a special corner decorated with a plaque called the Holy Matrimony, which lists the bridal party and servers’ names.   That is where the wedding party sits and where the wedding cake is placed.

Feeding the Multitudes

Amish Wedding- Ready for the Food

Ready for the Food at an Amish Wedding

How do they serve 1,000 people at once?   Well, they don’t.   When you receive your invitation there are 4 times listed.   If your invitation has a check mark by 9:00 a.m. , then you are invited to the “wedding ceremony” and the meal.   Others arrive later.   The workers eat at 4:30.  Young married and friends eat at 5:30 and young single folks eat at 7:00pm.   By 10:00 p.m. things are winding down.   Dishes are washed and dried for the last time.  Dishes and pans are packed in their special box and placed in the dish wagon.   Gifts are taken into the house, tables and benches are taken down.  The couple spends the night at the home of the parents.  The next morning final work is done.   The young people soon have a place to rent and start their future together.  Amish weddings are a true celebration!  What a full and memorable day.

Try Your Hand at an Amish Wedding Dessert

Lemon Wedding Pie

Baked 9 inch pie crust

Bottom layer:
1 ½ pkg. 8 oz. cream cheese
½ c. powdered sugar
1 ½ c. cool whip + T. lemon juice
Beat this all together.

1 ¼ c. sugar, divided
5 T. cornstarch + ½ t. salt
1 ¼ c. water
2 T. butter
2 t. grated lemon peel
4-5 drops yellow food coloring
½ c. fresh lemon juice

  1. In a saucepan combine ¾ c. sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Stir in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat stir in remaining sugar. Cook for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat, gently fold in lemon peel, food coloring, and lemon juice.
  4. Let cool about an hour. In pie crust put cream layer, then the filling.  May add whip cream for topping.                                                                                                                                                Marcia Eichhorn is the owner of Bright Morning Star Bed and Breakfast which is nestled in Northern Indiana Amish country among beautiful Amish farms.  Her guests often ask questions about the Amish & Amish recipes and she is happy to share what she has learned throughout the years from her Amish friends and neighbors.