If you said Shipshewana is a small town in northern Indiana, you would be right. But it’s so much more, especially during the summer. It’s the home of a large Amish and Mennonite community, the absolutely massive Shipshewana Flea Market, a giant antique mall, dozens of shops filled to the brim with unique items for the home, and restaurants famous for the yummiest home cooked goodies this side of Grandma’s.
Last week, I had the opportunity to ride along once again with my girlfriend, Meline, to meet her aunts and cousins for their annual three-day “retreat” to Shipshewana—not a retreat in the true sense, but more of a shopping/eating/funfest, complete with bingo games and our own mini-auction. Everyone’s favorite part, though, is the Flea Market. With over 900 vendors of everything imaginable, we all found some treasures at prices that couldn’t be beat.
With all that shopping, it’s no problem to work up an appetite. Two of our favorite restaurants are the Essenhaus (just down the road in Middlebury) and the Blue Gate Restaurant, where the food is delicious and plentiful, and everything is served with fresh loaves of bread and sweet Amish peanut butter and apple butter. And the best part is dessert, featuring over 20 kinds of pies. My favorites were the Raspberry Cream Pie, and Sugar Cream Pie topped with cinnamon ice cream. Yummmm.
On our last day in Shipshewana, Meline and I visited E&S Sales, the bulk food store where all the locals shop. We loaded up on homegrown popcorn, cheeses, candy, and homemade noodles. But our visit wouldn’t have been complete without taking home some Amish peanut butter and apple butter.
Here’s a look at the parking lot!