Winter’s chilly days are the perfect time for gathering your besties and heading out of town to have some fun. And Maria Guevara, marketing manager at Lagrange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, says her part of the state is the perfect place for a girlfriends’ getaway.
“For a trip to remember, our lodging, stores and attractions offer a variety of unique experiences for you and your best girlfriends,” she said. “See a show, shop antiques and discover hidden treasures while making memories within our charming Amish countryside.”
Naturally where you choose to stay will set the tone for your adventure. If your lodging is at Highfield Manor Bed & Breakfast halfway between Shipshewana and LaGrange, you’ll be ideally situated to get wherever you want to go in very little time. Hosts Clarence and Christina Lehman will tuck you into one of the cozy rooms in their Amish farmhouse and send you off the next morning with a homemade farm breakfast created from seasonal produce and locally sourced meats.
A short drive will deliver to you downtown Shipshewana and enough places to shop to excite everyone in your group. Start at Davis Mercantile, where you’ll find four floors and 21 stores that offer everything from fabric and furniture to candy and clothes. Pretzels are popular snacks here, and Jojo’s offers sweet and savory varieties based on their own Amish recipe. And for more one-stop shopping there’s the Big Red Barn, with shops that also carry a wide variety of products from fashion to lotions and candy, many of them made by local Amish artisans.
Look for custom-made leather goods such as belts and handbags at Silver Star Leather, home décor items at A Thankful Heart and cozy gifts for you and your home at Lasting Impressions Gift Shoppe. For more unusual clothing and jewelry, check out Southern Charm Ladies Boutique. If antiques are more your style, you’ll find no shortage of places to poke and dig. Blue Lakeside Treasures, Fisher’s Antiques, Cherry Pickers, and Hundt No More Antiques and Collectibles are just the beginning.
For lunch you’ll have several options. Millie’s Market Café in the Davis Mercantile serves up such yummy offerings as Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich, Cranberry Citrus Salad and White Chicken Chili Soup. If it’s Mexican food you’re craving, El Zorrito 2 is the place for your favorite dishes. And since you’re in Amish country, why not try the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery now or plan to have dinner there later and follow it with a show.
For a different way to see LaGrange County, take a drive on the Off the Beaten Path self-guided trail. Pick up a map at the Shipshewana Visitors Center and then follow its directions to the heart of Amish culture, where more shopping awaits in small cottage businesses that invite you to stop in. End the trail in LaGrange and take selfies of you and your pals in front of the LaGrange Mural with its Lonestar quilt pattern with eye-popping colors of blue, green, purple, and yellow that stretch the length of a city block. This mural was painted by muralist Amy Buchs created during the 2020 Make it Your Own Mural Fest.
Unless you’re going to the Blue Gate for dinner and a show, finish the day in LaGrange at Destination 814, possibly Indiana’s best scratch kitchen and bourbon bar. This casual eatery offers the Hoosier Tenderloin, the Whiskey Barrel Chicken Bowl and Firecracker Shrimp, among lots of other choices on the menu.
For dessert, pop into Vanilla Bean for small-batch homemade ice cream in such tempting flavors as Amish Peanut Butter, Strawberry Brownie Cheesecake, Caramel Cashew Crunch, Oatmeal Cream Pie and Coffee Brownie Swirl, among many others. They all come in waffle cones that are made fresh daily. Or maybe you and your buddies will decide to chip in for an ice cream pie or cake that you can take back to the B&B to binge on while you stay up all night and talk.