90 locations in northern Indiana
- Scenic Heartland
- Self-guided tours
- Amish country
Barn Quilt Blocks combine the artistry of a mural with the natural beauty of a rural setting. These unique works of art are created by painting a large single piece of wood with a quilt block pattern, then hanging it on the side of a barn or other structure. Two northern Indiana counties boast barn quilt trails to explore— simply pick a region, grab a map and head out for a scenic drive.
Marshall County got the barn quilt ball rolling in 2009 by establishing the first such trail in Indiana. A brochure available online and at the Marshall County Visitors Center details more than 60 locations scattered throughout the north-central portion of the state. “one of our patriotic-themed quilts called god and country honors the soldiers and clergy members of a local family who are serving in the U.S. Armed forces” “doing the entire trail takes around eight hours,” says Cori Humes, executive director of the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “To make it more user-friendly for self-guided driving tours, we’ve created a new map that divides the trail into quadrants that take about two hours each. Of course, visitors can follow the trail in any direction or order they wish, according to their own interests and schedules.”
Barn quilt exhibitors go through an application process to become part of the trail; once approved, each chooses a pattern and colors for a 4-foot or 8-foot square block to hang. Volunteers pitch in to help with the design and painting upon request. “Some of these blocks are original patterns not found in any books or online,” Humes says. “One of our patriotic-themed quilts called “God and Country” honors the soldiers and clergy members of a local family who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Another block reflects the work done by the sisters at the Center for Donaldson Ministries; yet another commemorates the annual Marshall County Blueberry Festival.” For more information, call (574) 9361882 or (800) 626-5353, or go to www.visitmarshallcounty.org.
Lagrange County’s strong Amish heritage makes it a natural setting for traditional hand-made crafts. This Barn Quilt trail began in 2011 when Karen Weiland, a master gardener and owner of the Village View Bed and Breakfast, rallied a group of friends and colleagues to submit a grant proposal for the project. Karen’s pitch was successful, and today, more than 30 quilt blocks dot six communities within the regional landscape, with still more to come. “The trail is popular with Shipshewana Quilt Festival attendees, as well as visitors to Shipshewana and the area lakes,” says Beth Thornburg, executive director of the Shipshewana/Lagrange County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Feeling inspired? The Shipshewana and Lagrange County Visitors Center sells diy Barn Quilt Kits, and provides free self-guided trail maps. To find out more, call (260) 768-4008 or (800) 254-8090, or click on www.visitlagrangecounty.org.
Story by Amy Lynch