Hangin’ with the Amish

“So.. you wanna go on a day trip?” I asked my friend who had recently just gotten back from graduation. Apparently, Memorial Day Weekend—which I promise to finish soon… not nice of me to leave things dangling, was it?—wasn’t enough to satisfy my wanderlust!

“From here?” she said dubiously. I didn’t blame her; we already lived in a town that would be considered a nice little “day trip” from Chicago for travelers and we’d become desensitized to all things quaint.

Luckily, I’d already done my research and found Amish Country in Indiana, 2 hours from the Chicagoland area. So, on a cloudy Tuesday morning, we buckled down and sped off. First stop: Shipshewana, IN and its famous flea market/auction.

We knew immediately when we stumbled into Amish Country. Carriages suddenly cropped up everywhere, trotting alongside cars on the road. What struck me was that each carriage also carried a license plate, a tiny modern mar on the back.

Shipshewana Amish Country horse and buggy Indiana Shipshewana Amish Country Indiana

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We stepped into the building and was immediately faced with a man in a collared button-up, suspenders, and the darkest bushiest beard I’ve ever seen. Sitting atop his crooked nose was a pair of old, black, square glasses. I almost expected some electrical tape holding the bridge together in the middle.

“Is… this the auction?” she asked me. We both stood there uncertainly in the doorway, half-holding the double doors open. A waitress walked past. I looked at the letters on the door again, this time noticing the “RESTAURANT” under “SHIPSHEWANA COUNTY AUCTION”… which means the restaurant was named “SHIPSHEWANA COUNTY AUCTION RESTAURANT.” Ah.

Shipshewana Flea Market Amish Country

We left and headed toward the real flea market/auction. But got easily distracted along the way by a few furry friends!

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Shipshewana’s flea market and auction, which includes the auction of livestock, runs every Monday-Wednesday. Unlike the flea markets you’d imagine, where there are gems and cool finds wherever you look, this flea market seemed more like what you’d have lying around the house that you would never imagine anyone to want, let alone pay for.

Shipshewana Flea Market Amish Country Shipshewana Flea Market Amish Country


We walked along the wide gravel paths until something caught our eye. So we decided to go in for a little peek…. and found the largest collection of Amish romance novels I never knew existed!

Shipshewana flea marketDiscount Christian Books


How could you not be curious about these novels?! So, of course, I googled some of the novels and found a synopsis for Ella Finds Love Again: 

Bestselling author Jerry Eicher concludes the Little Valley Series with one more glimpse into young Ella’s Amish world. She loves the widower Ivan Stutzman’s children and enjoys caring for them. Although she is genuinely devoted to Preacher Stutzman and keenly aware of his desire to propose, her feelings for him stop short of romantic love. Yet Ella yearns for marriage and wonders if what she and Ivan have is enough.


When the handsome Englisha stops by and asks about converting to the Amish faith, Ella is intrigued and warily agrees to meet with him. Soon Ella realizes she’s torn between her devotion to Ivan and his children and her growing feelings for the Englisha. With dire consequences at stake, Ella must determine what the truth is, if her feelings are dependable, and how to stay faithful to the will of God.

Talk about a packed plot!

Shipshewana Flea Market Amish Country Shipshewana Amish Country Indiana Shipshewana Flea Market Amish Country IMG_9106 Shipshewana Amish Country Indiana IMG_9102 IMG_9101 Shipshewana Flea Market Amish Country IMG_9097 IMG_9096

Amish Country, Indiana consists of 7 towns connected by a scenic route called the Heritage Trail. The largest town being Elkhart. Strangely, the website promotes a CD guided tour that is available for pickup at any of the visitor centers in the towns.

“Are we really going to pick up this CD?” my friend glanced side-eyed at me.
“I just want to see what it’s all about!” I inserted the CD into the reader and it started, read by a man who sometimes stumbled haltingly over the words, but who provided some very education facts to accompany our drive. If only they had a guide for both directions you could explore the cities: clockwise and counter-clockwise.

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Ah, now this is what we came for! We were promised cheese at the flea market, which we didn’t receive. We found it, however, in all the other stores, which were extremely generous with free samples.

At the end of the day, we headed towards the Iechyd Da Brewing Company in Elkhart.

“Should we just get a flight?”
“Yeah, let’s get a flight.”

Iechyd Da Brewing Company flight

We ordered a flight of 9 different beers, unaware that on the side of the menu were IBU numbers. What were IBU numbers? Who cared! We had beer!

“Whoa… that second beer was so much more bitter than the first!”
“Yeah, this is escalating rather quickly…” we looked at the menu again nervously, this time realizing that most of them were IPAs. By the 5th beer, we were cringing with each sip. Beer connoisseurs, we were not.

Finally, we noticed the IBU numbers and googled what it meant. IBU: International Bitterness Units. There were about 5 of them on the list that were over 70 on a scale of 100. At the end, our faces may have been permanently skewed, but we were feeling giddy.

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  • http://theladyerrant.com/ Elle

    Haha! Amish romance novels are like the weirdest genre EVER. Also, my mom has this strange obsession with Amish people, so we spent a lot of summer days in Lancaster, PA creeping on them while I was growing up. I didn’t know they lived in Indiana, too!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      I know! I’m almost tempted to check one out to see what it reads like… HAHA your mom. You guys went on trips SPECIFICALLY to creep on the Amish!? OH man.

      • http://theladyerrant.com/ Elle

        Haha it is tempting. . .and yeah, my mom. SPECIFICALLY to see Amish people, for like 3-5 years in a row during my childhood. One year, her anniversary present was a handmade quilt and she was in heaven. She really likes that Amish show on TLC too. Oh, mom. She did actually grow up on a farm. Shrug.

        • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

          Whoa, your mom grew up on a farm? That’s so interesting and cool. I’m guessing she misses it a lot? I have a thing with quilts too for some reason… I guess your mom and I are the same person ;)

  • http://www.tothedayslikethis.com/ Sammy @ Days Like This

    I have always wanted to visit Amish Country. So cool. Ella has a lot of emotions going on, poor girl

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Hahah, I wish I had more time to spend there. I know, that’s probably why the author dedicated 3 books to Ella and her emotions.

  • Arman @ thebigmansworld

    You need to watch Breaking Amish.

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      You are not the first one to repeatedly tell me this. Going on the summer to-watch list ;)

  • http://www.migrationexpert.com.au/ Rachel

    Hah, I’m gonna for the beers! but I think my laughter was sort heard in the whole room when you realized that your first stop was not in an auction, but in a restaurant. That auction looks so festive!the huge underwear though. Do they really have to display them that way? :D

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Hahaha, I didn’t realize that there could be an Auction Restaurant! I know, I guess they display it like that to show how big it is (as a selling point) ;)

  • http://www.chicadeedee.com/ Dannielle @ Chicadeedee

    I’m from Amish country in NY, they are our closest neighbours. It’s funny that we are just used to them but they are such a touristy draw! They churn out some mean crafts and furniture though.

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Haha they’re just so fascinating! I wish I could just pop into a house and ask them all these question, but I’m pretty sure that would be considered breaking and entering (and questioning).

      • http://www.chicadeedee.com/ Dannielle @ Chicadeedee

        haha. We are really good friends with one of the families that live on our same road. They use a fridge/freezer in our barns, and in return bring my parents loads of fruit and veg, and fresh baked goods. It’s a pretty good trade off! They also have a phone line in my parents barns! Since they aren’t allowed them on their properties. Some of them are sneaky getting around their own rules!

  • http://thehappypassport.com Rebekah Voss

    Wow, what a great photo tour of Amish country! I was JUST thinking about the Amish (and the Mennonites) the other day as I mused upon the many native peoples and tribes in Asia…mountain people, people with links to the land so different from the majority of the population. And what do we have in the States? We have Native Americans, the Amish, and Mennonites! Fascinating indeed, thanks for sharing!

  • http://therococoroamer.com/ Brittany Ruth

    I love flea market shopping at in the Amish areas in PA. They have such fun stuff and great food!

  • Debbie Theodosiou

    OMG! I wanna go there must be a unique experience!!