Monthly Archives: September 2018

Part 4 of 12 Amazing Things To Do in Shipshewana

by Laurie Sherck

I’ve known Shipshewana all my life and it is shear pleasure for me to share with you what I find so special and amazing about this little town.  For me to narrow my focus to just 12 Amazing Things To Do In Shipshewana seems so confining. The truth be told, there are way more than 12 Amazing Things to do in Shipshewana.  It is for that reason I want to extend an invitation to you to come to Shipshewana to discover and explore for yourself the charming, simplistic place that is dear to my heart.    For the purposes of this blog, however, I will narrow my focus and give you just 3 more “things to do” ideas gleaned from the Shipshewana video released earlier this year.

Shop the Historic Downtown Shipshewana

Shopping in Historic downtown Shipshewana

Shopping in Historic downtown Shipshewana

The allure of the quaint, charming stores that line Harrison Street and Morton Street, located in the historic portion of Shipshewana is hard for me to resist.   Charming stores filled with all sorts of shopping surprises makes shopping fun.   Turn of the century homes and store fronts are filled with everything from antique furniture, glassware, collectibles, hand-crafted and repurposed  or reclaimed items to delightful ladies boutiques and beautiful Home Décor items.  The Davis Mercantile is also located in the heart of the historic downtown and houses 21 uniquely different shops. Nearly all of the shops here in Shipshewana are independently and family owned, so when you visit these shops, you’re supporting local families and their dreams.  The stores are open all year round, 6 days a week.  I think you will love what’s in store for you when you stroll the sidewalks of historic downtown Shipshewana.

It may be a little old-fashioned, but in keeping with local religious and family traditions you will find that most businesses are closed Sundays.  We locals have discovered that Sundays and evenings are a great time to enjoy the beautiful parks and take scenic drives.

Enjoy a Show!

Blue Gate Theater Box Office

Blue Gate Theater Box Office

It’s hard not to notice the Blue Gate Theater ticket booth in the video.   Blue Gate Theater showcases quite a variety of programs throughout the year: Southern gospel, family-friendly comedy shows, bluegrass, country and contemporary Christian artists.   I have laughed and cried, and laughed again watching the entertaining, delightful musicals produced by Blue Gate.  If you are able—you really need to see the musicals Stolen, Half-Stitched, and Josiah for President, just to name a few of my favorites.  The musicals are based upon popular books whose stories are staged in Amish communities.   Holiday-themed shows are always offered and enthusiastically anticipated.   The theater is elegant, the shows are top-notch and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.   Blue Gate also hosts well-known and loved artists at the larger venue of The Shipshewana Event Center.

If you’re looking for something to do in the evenings, you should definitely check out what’s showing at the Blue Gate Theater.   The performances are always family-friendly, and matinee shows during the peak visitor season mean everyone gets a chance to enjoy the show.

Wrap your lips around a buttery pretzel

There is a saying- that if you want to find the best places to eat – follow the locals.   Following the locals in Shipshewana would lead you to pretzels.   Featured in the video is JoJo’s Pretzels.  Better than 25 years ago, Levi & JoJo (Joanna) King started rolling dough, and now on a busy day, it is not uncommon to see a line of people  winding and twisting (pun intended) throughout the building anxiously awaiting  their turn to bite into a salty, buttery pretzel.  JoJo’s Pretzels is a destination well-loved by many people.   School groups often come in to hear the history of the pretzel and students try their hand at pretzel making.  There is nothing like the aroma of baking pretzels hitting your nostrils when you enter The Davis Mercantile.  Even better yet, is getting that yummy pretzel treat in my tummy!

We are so blessed in Shipshewana to also be home to Ben’s Soft Pretzels, started by Ben & Elizabeth Miller.   What began as a business selling home-made pretzels at farmers markets has now expanded to opening their own storefront in 2016 at the south end of Shipshewana.   In 2013 they also began franchising their pretzel business.  Their pretzel recipe comes from an old Amish recipe and is a uniquely different pretzel experience.   Ben’s Soft Pretzels Barn is a favorite after-school stop for many locals, as well as visitors.  I also enjoy their yummy Pretzel dogs.

If you asked me which pretzel you should eat, I’d tell you Both!   They are uniquely different recipes and both amazingly scrumptious pretzels.   Never say no to scrumptious is my recommendation!

I hope you have enjoyed some of the ideas I threw at you in the four part series of 12 Amazing Things To Do in Shipshewana.   If you didn’t get the opportunity to read the other blogs, but would like to, check them out here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  Looking for even more ideas for amazing things to do in Shipshewana?  Visit

Laurie Sherck, Director of Shipshewana Retail Merchants, is a wife of 42 years, mother of 4, grandmother of 11 and loves to tell people why Shipshewana is so special…. Just ask her!

Shipshewana-A Caring Community

by Marcia Eichhorn

My guests at Bright Morning Star Bed and Breakfast are often interested in our small community and I’m always quick to share how caring and supportive the Amish and Shipshewana community are.   I like to share how I’ve watched my neighbors and community pull together whenever there is a crisis or need.

Helping meet needs

Amish buggy parking at a benefit auction

Amish Parking at a benefit auction

There was an awful accident in the Shipshewana area a few years ago.   Two Amish men and an English man were killed in a car accident.  (If you are not Amish, you are called English).   The community, both Amish and English, held a benefit auction where people donated furniture, campers, food, quilts, etc.   Each widow received closed to $100,000.00 to help with their expenses.   This is an example of how Amish and English community work together.

Supporting Those Who Serve our Community

Bake Sale at a local benefit auction

Bake Sale at a benefit auction

Another example just happened recently when the entire community pulled together a benefit auction to help our local fire department with purchase of a new tanker truck.   Amish and English businesses alike, furniture companies and individuals donated items ranging from small household items to large sheds and RV’s.  In addition there was a large bake sale, and delicious community meal.   Everyone pitches in.   It’s a great time to visit with neighbors that you haven’t seen for a while, and it just feels good to know you’re supporting a worthy cause.

Amish Haystack Supper

Haystack Supper

Haystack Supper

For those of you that have not heard of this, an Amish Haystack is a very popular carry in and often served at fund-raisers.  A small portion of each of the following ingredients is layered on a plate, usually as people pass along in a line.   You start out thinking it doesn’t look like it’s enough food, but by the end the entire plate is stacked, almost to overflowing.   A Haystack meal is something everyone looks forward to.  This recipe can easily be increased to feed hundreds of people.   Occasionally ingredients will be substituted, but the basic traditional Amish Haystack recipe is as follows.

Traditional Amish Haystack

4 c. cooked rice
3 lbs hamburger browned with taco seasoning
2 heads shredded lettuce
5 c. tomatoes, diced
3 green/red pepper, chopped
3 c. chopped black olives
3 c. chopped onions
3 c. sunflower
2 lb. shredded Cheddar cheese
6 hard-boiled eggs, diced
48 oz Nacho cheese sauce
2 bags crushed Taco or Dorito chips.

If you are ever in the Shipshewana area and there is a local fundraiser occurring, be sure to join in and learn firsthand about the Amish culture and our close supportive community.

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.