Our day started early again today as we met the tour bus at 7:45 am and were on the road headed for our Amish Countryside Tour. We were quite delighted to find that we had the same bus driver, Randy, as we did yesterday. Today’s tour was so popular we had 2 buses full of Heartlanders…so just over 100 people!
Our first stop was at Rise’n Roll Bakery, an Amish owned and run business in Middlebury. We were greeted at the door by a young Amish woman handing out samples of their cinnamon caramel donut….OH. MY. GOODNESS! Just like eating a cloud…so light and fluffy and very light on the cinnamon. We got a half-dozen different donuts (half of which came home) some orange juice and sat down at one of the tables to enjoy our breakfast. Besides baked goodies we purchased some jams, jellies, cashew crunch, still warm fresh bread and off the bone ham.
After loading back onto the bus we headed through the country roads to the Dutch Country Market & Katie’s Homemade Noodles. Noodles weren’t being made today but there were some drying but my pictures didn’t turn out very good. I picked up a couple of different kinds of noodles as well as a couple of small jars of Amish peanut butter and a jar cinnamon whipped honey. The gentleman, Norm Lehman, that owns this place is also a beekeeper so all of the honey in the store is from the bees he keeps. We were given samples of the peanut butter and honeys and they were very good. Amish peanut butter is made of peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, corn syrup, and in Norm’s case…honey. It sounds like it would be overly sweet but interestingly enough it wasn’t!
We continued to wind our way through the Amish countryside seeing lots of buggies, Amish bicycle riders, Amish schoolhouses, homes and cemeteries until we found our way to Guiggisburg Cheese Shop in Middlebury…you know that this Wisconsin girl was in heaven! Besides cheese they also sold dried vegetables & fruits, sausages & meats, candies, soft serve ice cream etc. We purchased several different kinds of cheese along with some dried veggies – green beans, bell peppers and a variety pack with carrots, beets, squash etc in it….you would be quite surprised at how tasty these are!
Our next stop was at Little Helpers Quilt Shop in Shipshewanna. The shop is a beautiful building built next to the Amish owners home with a beautiful quilt pattern painted on the side of the building and today it had a gorgeous quilt hanging on the front porch. Besides the obvious quilts sold in the store there are also potholders, table runners, baskets and other odds and ends to be found here. The quilts are absolutely stunning with a price tag to match….about $900 and up. We bought a Amish quilt in Wisconsin back in 2009 for $450 and it’s just as gorgeous the only thing is is it’s a queen size quilt and we now have a king size bed! I asked at the store if they could convert it to a king-size quilt and was given the phone number of the young woman’s grandmother who does that kind of work all the time so when we are back in the area for a while I’ll look into getting it altered. This was the ONLY shop we stopped at and didn’t purchase a single item! LOL
For lunch we stayed in Shipshewanna and ate at Das Dutchman Essenhaus. The Essenhaus is not Amish owned, but it is Mennonite owned and operated. The place is huge as it is a restaurant and bakery plus on the property is a clothing store, a quilt shop, various other shops and an Inn. We got a table for four and enjoyed lunch with our friends Lou & Bette. We all chose to eat from the buffet (rather than family style) which had broiled chicken, roast beef & beef and noodles as entrees. There were a LOT of sides to choose from, butter beans, baked beans, green beans, carrots, noodles, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cabbage (just to name a few) and an entire salad bar too. It was very good and very filling!
After lunch we browsed through the gift shop and bakery and picked up a half-dozen peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as well as a bowl for our grandson, Alexander, that had his name on it.
We had a little extra time on our hands at a couple of points during the day so we drove by an Amish camel farm…yes, you heard right! It seems that this Amish farmer heard that there was money to be had in camel milk….it’s supposed to have lots of healthy benefits to it and it sells for $10 per PINT! Everything he has is spoken for and he ships it as far away as California! He has both one hump and two-humped camels on his property and it was fun to see them wander around the ‘pasture’.
Another thing we did to waste a little time if we were ahead of schedule was to stop by several of the ‘quilt gardens’ in the area. There are 18 gardens (and several murals) that are planted with annuals and funded by the county in various quilt patterns and they are a treat to see!
We stopped at E&S Bulk Foods, which was very busy with Amish and English customers alike. Here you’ll find a wide selection of bulk flour, candy, nuts, snacks, dried fruit, pasta, baking ingredients and spices. We wandered the aisles and picked up a few items – mostly candy! But I also found a couple of items for our grandson, Alex, as we’ll be seeing him next month.
Our last stop of the day was at Yoder Popcorn Shoppe. As we were arriving we could see a large team of horses off in the distance coming our way so several of us waited outside for them to come by so we could take pictures. When we entered the shop we were each handed a small bag of the ‘tiny tender – white’ popcorn to sample. They have several popcorn toppings that you can try on your popcorn and I picked up a white cheddar and a creamy dill to take home. We also bought a bag of the tiny tender, white popcorn too.
We had a fantastic day and came home with more ‘stuff’ than we’re gonna know what to do with! It’s a good thing we were on a bus with LOTS of storage overhead and underneath!
We got back to the fairgrounds about 3:30 pm to find that the golf cart that we rented for the week had arrived. Jim told Michael to pick out whichever one he wanted and among all of the white ones was one cherry red cart…which he chose! So we’ll be zooming around the fairgrounds in style for the next week!
At 6:00 pm we went over to one of the pavilions for a Pig Pickin’ that was sponsored by Heartland. We had pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad, dinner rolls, cookies & lemonade or tea. It was very good and we had nearly 200 people there. We saw several people who arrived within the last couple of days that we haven’t seen for a while…which was very nice.
After dinner I had Michael take me ‘cruisin’ in the golf cart to see how many rigs are here already. We’d stop and chat with a group of rally-goers for a bit and then would move on and stop and visit some more. We met several people who I’ve emailed back and forth with because of the Leisure Time Activity project I’ve been working on – and it was nice to finally put a face to a name.
We got home just about 9:00 pm and settled into our recliners to watch a little TV, surf on the internet and so that I could get this blog post completed. It’s been another good day! We work in the morning so we’ll need to get a good nights sleep!