story by GLENDA WINDERS
LaGrange County and Shipshewana invite you to an end-of-summer getaway in the heart of Amish country just three hours north of Indianapolis. As warm summer winds down to colorful autumn, you’ll find plenty here to do.
Maybe you’ll check out kayaks and canoes from T&L Canoes for one last trip down the Fawn River. The staff will drive you upriver to your starting point and then leave you to a peaceful time on the water.
If shopping is more to your liking, you’ve come to the right place for that, too. The Midwest’s Largest Flea Market is the size of 30 football fields and open rain or shine until Sept. 27. Here you’ll find your choice of anything you can imagine – clothing, plants, tools, crafts, accessories, home décor and more.
Vendors come from all over the world, and many of them are Amish. Come on Wednesday to take part in the super-fun all-day auction where six to 10 auctioneers are working at the same time. To keep your strength up while you’re here, snack or dine on giant cinnamon rolls, homemade pies, jumbo soft pretzels, broasted chicken and melt-in-your-mouth ribs.
Or take a leisurely self-guided tour to one of the Off the Beaten Path drives. Pick up a map at the visitors center or print one from their website (www.visitshipshewana.org) and then drive from one spot to another to admire Amish barn quilts or Walldogs murals, stopping along the way to see the work of local artisans – baskets, weavings, furniture and more.
Did you come for musical performances and theater? That’s here, too, at the Blue Gate Theatre, and the nearby Blue Gate Garden Inn will be happy to put you up for the night. Another excellent place to lay your head is the Farmstead Inn. Both serve a hot breakfast in the mornings, and both have a pool and hot tub where you can take a dip before you say goodnight.