Not much going on around here today. Michael finished cleaning the truck finally. I did some laundry since we’ll be here a bit long than originally expected.
A good steak was the plan for dinner and we’d heard that Heinnies Back Barn could fill the bill. Only being about 6 miles from the hotel it worked out great.
We both started with an order of their augraten potato soup. Expecting a cup of soup we were surprised when we each got a bowl of soup and it was very tasty!
We also both ordered salads and we stunned at the huge salads that were put before us. We ended up putting one entire salad in a ‘to go’ container and split the second salad. The salads were topped with a whole sliced hard-boiled eggs, real bacon bits, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cheese and the entire tops were covered with croutons. Crazy!
For entrees we chose a 6 oz. filet for Michael and a 10 oz. prime rib for me. Michael’s filet wasn’t cooked quite enough so it went back on the grill for a few minutes to make it more to his liking. My prime rib was cooked perfect and smothered with onions…very good. However, a good half of my prime rib and potato was boxed up to enjoy for lunch on another day.
Our original plan for today was supposed to take us north into Michigan and then south again into Shipshewana but our plan was foiled when we found out that the place we wanted to visit was closed on Saturdays!
Instead we drove the 90 mile Heritage Trail that winds its way around Elkhart County. I was told by the woman at the visitor’s center that with no stops the drive would take about 3 hours. We stopped but not a whole lot and it took us 5 1/2 hours.
We started in Elkhart and the drive took us west to Bristol, Middlebury and Shipshewana before turning south toward Topeka. Just before Topeka we turned west and headed through Goshen where we changed direction a bit and headed southwest to Nappanee. In Nappanee we once again changed direction and head north to Wakarusa and then on into Elkhart again.
When leaving Elkhart we drove along Jackson Boulevard which runs alongside the St. Joseph River. This turn out to be a beautiful drive. Lots of beautiful old homes line both sides of the street.
Between Bristol and Middlebury we came across the Bonneyville Mill. What a beautiful setting…although these old grist mills always seem to be set in some very picturesque settings. We roamed around the 4 floors of the mill checking out the various exhibits. We even purchased some flour ground at the mill so that our daughter in law, Amanda can make us some cookies when we get to Dodgeville.
Much of the drive was familiar to us as we’ve driven the county roads quite a bit. Once we got west of Goshen it was uncharted territory for us though.
We listened to a 2 disc cd narrative as we drove through the countryside and were told that Nappanee actually has the biggest Amish population in the area. We would have thought that the area surrounding Shipshewana and/or Middlebury would have held that honor as we see so many Amish on bicycle or in buggies.
As we drove through Nappanee we didn’t see nearly the amount of Amish that we normally do in Shipshe…so it’s still hard to believe that it’s a larger community. Maybe they were all inside hiding from the rain.
Did I forget to mention that it rained the entire 5 1/2 hours we drove the trail? Thankfully, it was just a light rain so it didn’t hinder us getting out of the truck when/if we needed/wanted to.
We stopped at the Dutch Village Market on the west side of Nappanee. The narrator on the cd described it as kind of a Amish/crafters mall. Essentially it’s a building with stalls that are rented out to vendors who sell crafts, antiques, jams/jellies and junk. It also has a restaurant inside.
We meandered up and down the various aisles checking out the wares and even purchased a couple of items for our granddaughter, Zoe, who is due to make her arrival this fall.
Interestingly enough our tour guide (the guy on the cd) explained that Nappanee produced more cartoonists, per capita, than any other US city. Betcha didn’t know that, did ya?
We drove through Wakarusa (which means ‘knee deep in mud’) and past the famous Wakarusa Dime Store home of the even more famous ‘giant jelly beans’. We visited the store 2 years ago with friends, Jim & Nancy, so we passed on the opportunity to stop again today. However, if you’re ever in the area it is a cool place to stop with all of their nostalgic candies. You can read about that visit HERE.
As we re-entered Elkhart (corner of South Nappanee Street/highway 19 and Franklin St) we drove by the nation’s largest railroad switching yard (per our tour guide). That explains a lot about the huge numbers of trains that pass through this area on a daily basis!
Our narrator told us a wonderful story about a little girl who lived in Elkhart near the tracks of the Twentieth Century Limited. Each day, twice a day, as the train zoomed by the little girl, known as Curly Top, would faithfully wave at the train. Curly Top endeared herself to the crew and regular passengers of the train that they eventually took her on several trips on her beloved train. I found this interesting article about Curly Top, whose real name was Violet Schmidt….click HERE to read more.
We both really enjoyed the drive and would recommend it to anyone that has the time.
Once back in Elkhart we were both ready for some lupper. The Flippin’ Cow was today’s choice. I’d found a brochure at the hotel and was intrigued enough to do a Google search which brought up their Facebook page, among other things. The Facebook page told me that I had 4 friends that had visited the restaurant. Two of those friends happened to be our new Louisiana friends, Andy & Joanna so I messaged them and asked what they thought of the place. They highly recommended it so it was a go!
The restaurant sits right on the shore of Lake Simonton, about 2 miles north of our hotel on highway 19. It’s a small place with a screened in porch that overlooks the lake. We chose to sit on the porch and enjoy the gorgeous view and the beautiful breeze. It finally stopped raining just as we came back into Elkhart!
Michael ordered the Stella Moo (An awesome double steak burger topped with smoked brisket, jalapeno bacon, onion straws, pepper jack cheese and an alehouse bbq sauce on a toasted wheat brioche bun.) While I went with the Bacon Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese (Mac noodles baked in a three cheese blend and topped with applewood smoked bacon and a crumbled steak burger).
Both were excellent! Michael’s only complaint was that he would have preferred just 1 burger patty. My mac & cheese was super creamy and almost perfect. Once again we both had way too much and 1/2 of our meals went back to the hotel with us. This will be a place that we definitely go back to…again and again.
We enjoyed sometime in the pool/hot tub again before settling in to watch some TV for the remainder of the night. A great day.