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My Amish Friends

By Marcia Eichhorn

Many of my guests at Bright Morning Star Bed and Breakfast are interested in the Amish lifestyle and I do my best to share with them, and now with you, what I’ve learned from living 11 years in Shipshewana Amish Country.   I find the Amish lifestyle very interesting and inspiring.  I think you will too.

The Amish Lifestyle

Most people who know anything about Amish, probably already know that Amish do not have electricity in their homes.  They use propane, natural gas, or batteries for lights, stoves and refrigerators.  Generators run electrical equipment such as milking machines, woodworking tools, washing machines and water pressure tanks.  They heat their homes with wood, coal, or gas.

Country life from my front porch

Rumspringa

When a young person turns 16 years old, they have many choices to make.  They might have a cell phone, get a vehicle, wear English clothes, or use a camera, which are allowed when in “rumspringa”.   When they join church (between age 16-38), they give up these things.   But during “rumspringa” they spend weekends with friends and join one of the many young peoples’ groups.   On Sunday evening they might have sings, play games, and enjoy a meal with friends.Amish Couple in open carriage

How Amish Make a Living

In this area one of the biggest employers are the numerous RV Factories.  Another form of income are chicken houses, which hold between 20-30 thousand layers or fryers.   A 600 ft. chicken house is built on the family’s land, where they feed and care for them.   In 6 weeks they are collected and taken to market.   Amish also earn their living through dairy farming, woodworking shops, and garden produce.  Others earn their living through retail shops.

The Amish Farmer

The average farmer has up to 9 draft horses.   All field work is done with horses.  Depending upon the size of the family, they could easily own 3 harness horses and a couple of ponies.  A typical buggy horse is a Standardbred.   They can cost from $500.00 to $4,000.00.  The average new buggy costs between $3,400.00 to $7,000.00.   A buggy horse usually gets shod every 6 weeks.   Typical cost is $50.00 per horse.

Amish farmer plowing

Sew What?!

Amish women sew all the trousers, shirts, and suits for the men and boys, as well as dresses, coats, coverings, capes, and aprons for the girls and themselves.  One of my guests wanted to know what it would be like to “dress” Amish, so we had our own Amish Dress-Up party and took some photos for them to remember their stay with me one winter day.

A guest wearing Amish clothing

Communication Shanty

Amish do not have phones in their home.   A few families share a “phone shanty”.   You leave a message for the party you wish to speak to, and they will call you back.

Amish Phone Shanty

The Amish have kept a simple yet “full life” of God, Family and Community.  Not a bad idea!!   I am blessed to call my Amish neighbors- friends.

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.

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 www.shipshewana.com. 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.

Filling:
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.

12 Amazing Things to Do in Shipshewana

[Part 1 in a series of 4]
By Laurie Sherck

People are always asking for ideas for things to do in Shipshewana.  Having grown up in this community, I’m all too happy to offer suggestions.   My love for Shipshewana goes wayyyyyyy back, and my heartstrings are tied to such memorable experiences that it is extremely difficult for me to narrow my recommendations down, so I’m not EVEN going to try.   What I am going to do, is break my suggestions down into tidbits so that you don’t have information overload and just throw up your hands and say “I don’t know where to start!”

Have you seen our new Shipshewana video?

Shipshewana Video

Watch the Shipshewana Video

The Shipshewana video highlights 12 Amazing Places to Shop & Visit in Shipshewana.  By no means does this video tell the entire story of Shipshewana, but it is a great teaser of what awaits you when you visit us.

Yep! Shipshewana is a Town!

Welcome to Shipshewana

Shortly after the Shipshewana video came out, I starting getting calls and questions asking where they could find this store!   For those of you who have never been to Shipshewana, I’ll start by sharing with you that Shipshewana is a small town nestled smack dab in the heart of Amish country, population 677.   (Although the town manager just recently told me that we’re up to 690 people, and that’s quite possible since I’ve recently seen a whole new crop of babies!)  We’re a small town with a lot of personality,  unpredictable experiences, unique places to shop, friendly faces to become acquainted with, and things to do that keeps bringing people back again and again.

So, Let’s Begin!

Well…., have you watched the new Shipshewana video? !  What did you think?  I know, right?!  So what has these people smiling and enjoying themselves?   I’m so glad you asked…  Let’s just take a few highlights from the video.

Homemade Ice Cream, Hand-painted Signs, and Norm The Painter

George the Sign Painter

George the Sign Painter at Shipshewana Flea Market

All of the above and more, are favorite stops at the Shipshewana Trading Place Flea Market, the Midwest’s largest flea market.   Come to Shipshewana on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, May through September and you will meet people like George who will custom paint a sign for you while you wait.  A lot of locals enjoy his work, so don’t be surprised if you see his signs displayed in businesses throughout Shipshewana.  Then there’s Norm, who says he’ll paint on almost anything. He’s been talking with visitors and painting at his booth at the Flea Market for more than a decade.  And, Yes! There is the homemade ice cream, locally made cookies, bread and fried pies at the flea market and more!   Yummmmy!   Is your mouth watering yet?  Aisles and aisles of the ordinary to the extraordinary awaits those who visit the Shipshewana Flea Market

Cabbies Always have the Best Stories

Blue Gate Carriage Company Carriage Ride

A Carriage Ride through Shipshewana

It’s true!  The buggy and carriage drivers have the greatest tales and can answer your inquiries about Shipshewana and the Amish culture probably better than most.  With a small town population of only 677 people, we know each other pretty well and have some humorous and great Shipshewana stories.   Whether you want to take a quick tour around Shipshewana, or a long ride through the countryside, a buggy or carriage ride is a relaxing and fun way to experience and learn about Shipshewana.   Pictured in the video is Blue Gate Carriage Company.    Shipshewana offers other buggy rides services and tours as well, such us Buggy Lane Tours and Miller’s Buggy Line. To find out how and where to meet up with your cabbie, visit www.Shipshewana.com.

Learn To Play A Dulcimer in 3 minutes!

Learning to Play the Dulcimer

Learn to Play the Dulcimer in 3 minutes!

That’s the claim Simple Sounds makes when you enter this one-of-a kind music store.   What started as a small dulcimer shop in 1989 has evolved into a full service acoustic folk music store and more.   Stop in and give it a try, what do you have to lose?!   Who knows, you could end up being the hit at the next family get together and impress everyone with your dulcimer skills! Singalongs are always great fun at parties.   Owner of Simple Sounds, Jen Lipscomb’s love of music runs deep and it shows! Jen and her crew at Simple Sounds, located in The Davis Mercantile, love teaching people to play a dulcimer.  If I can do it, anyone can!

That’s Not All Folks!

I really could go on and on with suggestions & ideas for your Shipshewana visit, but I will save those for future blogs.    For the present, for more places to shop and things to do in Shipshewana, plan your trip now at www.shipshewana.com.

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!

Quilters’ Delight

by Marcia Eichhorn

The Shipshewana Quilt Festival is held in June every year.  It’s not uncommon to have enthusiastic quilt groups stay with me at Bright Morning Star Bed & Breakfast during the week of the festival.  I’ve enjoyed hosting Quilters from all over the world at my bed and breakfast and have often been told my home is a Quilter’s delight.  Throughout the year I will host fun-loving groups for a quilting retreat in my home.

Quilters Show and Tell

Quilters Show and Tell

My home works out well for quilters since I have a large well-lit 900 square foot room that is a perfect fit for group work.  I’ve found it to be Ideal for quilters, sewers, scrapbookers, and any other groups.   It makes for a great time of laughter and sharing stories.

Quilters' Workroom at Bright Morning Star Bed & Breakfast

Quilter’s Work room at Bright Morning Star Bed & Breadfast

Quite often my guests enjoy hearing about my Amish neighbors, and I thought you might like that as well, so let me introduce you to Pete and Lena.

Pete and Lena

My neighbors Pete & Lena, have 7 children.  One son and daughter are married.   There are 5 boys at home.   They till/farm 120 acres and 50 acres are woods.  They milk between 65-75 organic Holsteins.   Twice a day the cows mosey single file past my back door going to and from their pasture.   Every day the Organic Valley milk truck comes from Wisconsin to collect the milk.

Pete’s parents Noah and Amanda live in the dowdy house.   Their daughter Fannie lives with them.  That is why the house looks so long and big.  It is actually two homes. Lena makes 10 loaves of bread a week to feed her 5 hungry boys at home

Homemade Amish Wheat Bread

Homemade Amish Wheat Bread

It is amazing how much washing an Amish family has.  She uses a wringer washing machine and hangs the clothes outside to dry all year long.   Lena often has 20 pairs of trouser on the line to dry.

Laundry Day at Pete & Lena's House

Laundry Day at Pete & Lena’s House

She is a very busy mother.   During the Christmas holiday I was invited to share a meal.  We had homemade ice cream and pulled taffy.  It is all so delicious.  She served the following dessert, or you might use it for a salad.  Either way it is one of my favorites.

A Favorite Dessert – Swedish Crème Dessert

2 c. half-n-half (cream)
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond
1 T. Knox unflavored gelatin
2 c. sour cream
In a sauce pan mix and heat cream and sugar, do not boil.

  1. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then whisk in vanilla, almond, Knox gelatin, and sour cream.
  2. Pour into jello mold and chill.
  3. Serve with your favorite fruit pie filling.

This time of year wouldn’t fresh strawberries or blueberries be delicious served with this?   Enjoy!

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.  

Living My Dream in Amish Country-Part 2

by Marcia Eichhorn

Bright Morning Star Bed and Breakfast is located 6 miles east of Middlebury, IN and 2 miles west of Shipshewana.  It nestles in Northern Indiana Amish country and Bright Morning Star lies among beautiful Amish farms.  It was designed and built in 2007 by myself, Marcia Eichhorn.   The builder was from Goshen, Indiana.   It was built here and brought to the location in six boxes.

It was comforting to know that after the boxes sat out in my pasture over the weekend, nothing was disturbed.  Just a lot of curious lookers.  On Monday morning a crane came and by noon all the pieces were safely put together.

The garage, roof, and porch were added that same week.

There are four bedrooms named after states where I have lived.   Each room has an attached private bathroom.  The comfortably furnished rooms feature handmade quilts.  The Iowa Star has two twin beds, or they can be made into a king.  Illinois Star has a queen bed, a full bed, and a twin bed.

Texas Star features two queen beds.   Amish Star has one queen bed with a private sitting room.   There is a Retreat Room in the lower level.  Quilt groups enjoy the great work space, and the chance to be so close to the Amish scenery and many quilt shops.

Looking out the window you might see a team of horses plowing, baling hay, or harvesting corn.  Just like in the “old days”.

The front porch is the favorite place for guests to sit and watch the buggies and horses go by.  Come, sit, and sip on a glass of tea.  Let the adventure begin.

Meet My Neighbors:

My neighbors, Harley and Linda, have 7 children.  It is their horses that you see running in my pasture.  Everyday when weather permits, I see the three youngest children driving their ponies pulling carts.  Harley shoes horses and is a cabinet maker.  He loves getting a pair of Belgians ready to sell at the Topeka Draft Horse Sale, a semi-yearly event.   They also bottle feed young calves to a certain weight.  Linda always has a smile, and is ready to visit or help me when called upon.

They were a big help to me a few years ago when the electric went out for two days.  He brought a generator to run my freezers and refrigerator.   There is a natural spring a mile from me where the water runs into a horse tank.  I had to go there to get pails of water.  I truly felt like the woman at the well.  Many times they have brought me a meal to enjoy.  Imagine homemade pizza.  Their 15 year old daughter, Darlene, loves to bake.  I am the benefactor of sugar, chocolate chip and buttermilk cookies.  Linda has shared with us another cookie recipe:

Soft Molasses Cookies

½ c. butter, softened                   ½ c. shortening

1 ½ c. sugar                                 ½ c. molasses

2 eggs, beaten                             4 c. flour

2 ¼ t. baking soda                      ½ t. salt + 1 ½ t. grd. ginger

2 t. ground cloves                       2 t. cinnamon

  1. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, shorting and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Beat in molasses and eggs. Set aside
  3. In another bowl combine flour, salt, soda, ginger, clove, and cinnamon. Blend.
  4. Gradually mix flour mixture with creamed ingredients until smooth.
  5. Roll into 1-2 inch balls. Dip in sugar.
  6. Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake 350 degrees for 11-12 minutes
  7. When done, cool, dip in melted chocolate

Bright Morning Star is meant to be a destination where people come to unwind and relax away from the busyness of “life”.   With electronics today, such as iPhones, computers, email, and texting, this is a place you can see how life “used to be” over a hundred years ago.   May your spirit be refreshed, and your stay memorable.

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

Small Town Festival-Big Time Fun! Mayfest in Shipshewana!

The annual Shipshewana Mayfest celebration is a fun mixture of local festival and tourism season kick-off.  The shops have Mayfest promotions and the town is filled with old-fashioned fun.  This much anticipated event always takes place the first Friday and Saturday of May, which this year takes place May 4th & 5th.   The food tent is filled with locally-made concessions, and the entertainment tent is a popular destination with magic shows and live music both Friday and Saturday.

A benefit Pancake Breakfast and 5K Run start the Saturday festivities.

The ever popular Mayfest parade steps off at 10am and always boasts of plenty of horses, wagons and tractors.    The parade is followed by a Mayfest tradition- The Shipshewana 500 Buggy Pull Race.

A 3 on 3 basketball tournament, corn hole tournament, softball tournament, human hamster wheel race and kids games in the Wolfe Building keep families laughing, and enjoying good-humored fun.

Everyone is welcome to join in on the fun and games.

For more information about Shipshewana Mayfest click here.

Written by Laurie Sherck

How many sides?

Taken from 101 Things to Do in Shipshewana   by Melissa Troyer

If you ask locals the shape of the “Prough Barn,”, they’ll either reply that it is octagonal, or they will answer “round.”  Historical records, however, state that it was built by Menno S. Yoder in 1908 as a model for a design of a 12-sided concrete barn that he wanted to sell to farmers. Though Yoder’s barn-making plans didn’t take off, the barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only polygonal barn in Indiana that is constructed of a material other than wood. 210 round and polygonal barns were built in Indiana from 1874-1936, perhaps more than any other state.   While not open to the public, the barn is interesting to drive by and see; just go one mile west of the Blue Gate Restaurant on Middlebury-Shipshe Road.  Choose for yourself whether you’d call it octagonal or dodecangonal. “Round” might be the easiest answer.

Living My Dream in Amish Country

By Marcia Eichhorn

I grew up on a farm in Iowa, where my father farmed with horses.  I remember us going to Hazleton, Iowa (an Amish settlement).  We would go to get a harness fixed or to look for a horse to buy.  It was amazing to see the people with different clothing, blue curtains in every window in virtually every home, and seeing the number of children in large families.

After college I moved from Iowa to take a teaching job in Elgin, Illinois where I taught 4th & 5th grade over 30 years.  For vacation I would sometimes come to Shipshewana, Indiana.  In time I befriended ladies who operated some of the first B&B’s in the area. To make a long story short, in 2004 I bought 3 acres nestled among Amish Farms. It was a challenge designing and building Bright Morning Star Bed and Breakfast, but I enjoyed it immensely Living near the Amish people I fondly remembered from childhood, sharing my gift of hospitality, and welcoming people to my home has been a dream come true.

Guests have asked for many of my breakfast and snack recipes.   My mother, sister, and friends have passed on many of their recipes to me and I seem to have inherited my mother’s love for writing down recipes.   My sister taught home economics and has provided me with many of her favorites.  I will try to share some of my recipes over the next several blogs.   In addition many of my guests ask me many questions about the Amish. I thought it would be enlightening to share with you some of those answers and give a glimpse into the Amish culture in this area of Indiana, along with some personal introductions and recipes of my Amish neighbors and friends.   In the blogs to come, I will share from my experience a close look at Amish schools, Amish church, childbirth, community support and funerals, Amish weddings, and ice cream suppers.  “Happy Learning and Bon Appetite’”

Marcia Eichhorn is the owner of Bright Morning 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.

You have to try an Old Amish Recipe at this Shipshewana Candy Store!

Stories// written by Lora Gates

This post originally appeared on www.shipshewanatradingplace.com

I love visiting the one-of-a-kind shops all over Shipshewana, and this Shipshewana Candy shop has just made the list for me as another secret stop that I will begin frequenting for their delicious homemade brittle brackle.

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Located on the second floor of Yoder’s Red Barn Shoppes, Victorian Candy Company has a recipe that makes my mouth water just thinking about the soft brittle that is filled with surprises like peanuts, cashews, pretzels and pecans. I recently got a behind-the-scenes tour of how this delicious old Amish recipe is made right here in my hometown. (If you happen to wander in at just the right time, you can even watch them make some of these sweet treats through the many viewing windows they have in their candy kitchen.)

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The brittle starts with simple ingredients but through the handiwork and craft of the candy maker, turns into a sweet irresistible treat. One of the most important ingredients, sugar, is poured into a large mixing bowl that begins to heat and turns into the confectionary creation and during the peak of season, they make a batch a day, adding up to 36 lbs. of sugar alone each week. Once the secret combination of ingredients hit the perfect temp, the bubbly mixture is poured onto a large moving belt.

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Next, this ribbon of brittle runs through a cutting device shaped like a hexagon, and leaves a perfect layer of goodness ready to cool and package. (The cutting shape reminds me of a honeycomb and the final product is just as sweet). The complete shapes are packaged in 1/2 lb. bags and sealed for sale on their store shelves – talk about fresh product! And, see those incomplete shapes at the bottom? That’s where the samples come from… oh yeah there are plenty of samples! And I tried them all and have to say I have a hard time choosing a favorite, but the pecan reminds me of my favorite pie so I’ll stick with that one if I must narrow it down.

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They have a huge variety of other delicious chocolate covered delectables like pretzels, twinkies, oreos, marshmallows, mini muffins, rice krispies, and more. They even make a chocolate dipped potato chip for those who prefer a savory pairing.

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The most unique creation I just could not get past was the gummy worm, what??? Ok I just had to try one. I thought it would be awful (mainly because I really don’t like gummy worms at all) but I have to say… quite delicious. The tart fruitiness of the gummy worm combined with the smooth sweet chocolate reminded me of a chocolate covered strawberry! I even got one of the neighboring store owners at Lotions and Potions to try one and although she doesn’t look too excited to try it either, well let’s just say she was as equally surprised with how good it really was.

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They also sell all kinds of other unique candies, as well as, a few yummy sugar-free selections made by none other than my new neighbor, Naomi. Where else can you find local, delicious hand made treats that are as sweet and tasty as they are unique? Visit Victoria Candy Company on your next visit Amish country and see for yourself.

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