14 Jun 2016--We are still sitting here in a hotel room, waiting to get our RV back, so in the meantime we have been taking daily excursions to a few of the small towns that make up this county. Before I get into that, take a look at these pics below. The 1st one is me as a little kid, and the 2nd is a pic of a pic that I took of a little Amish kid who looks like he could be my twin!!! I was shocked when I looked at his face, feeling like I was looking at myself...and finally realizing why I feel so at home in this environment. 'The truth will out', they say, and now I know that I was kidnapped as a baby and taken from my true 'peeps', the Amish!!! I'm mesmerized by them for a reason it appears! haha
I now know why all the older Amish women are a bit 'portly'...the food around here is to kill for! We were told by a woman at the Visitor's Center that we just had to go to this donut shop, called 'Rise and Roll', which was started by a young Amish couple about 20 years ago. They have now expanded to more than one store, and they have everything fresh for the tasting; jams and jellies, breads and donuts, and of course chocolate-covered everything!!! Cathy and I tasted EVERYTHING, and then got some donuts to go.
The locals call them 'Amish crack'...and that is perfectly understandable after you have had one. I had this first donut, a Cinnamon Caramel, and it was hands-down the BEST donut I have ever had in my life!!! I am not kidding...if you were with me I would have fought you for it, and once I secured it I would not have shared it with you!!! haha Cathy got an apple fritta and a Cinnamon Caramel with Bavarian Cream Filling...I tried to control myself, but I took 2 healthy bites of the cream-filled and determined I could never go back to this store...just TOO DARN GOOD!
After going to the donut shop we headed out to Shipshewana and Middlebury to the famous Guggisberg Cheese Factory. Both the donut shop and the cheese factory have people come from miles away...they even have tour buses stop here. And, of course, the cheese factory has samples of every kind of cheese they make for me to taste. I LOVE cheese, so let's just say that between the donuts and the cheese I have been going to the gym every day since to try to recover!!! haha
I wish everyone could come out this way...it's mostly farmland, so it's very picturesque in and of itself, but when you throw in the Amish and Mennonites on top of that, whether they are working their land with horse-drawn equipment, or at the store with their buggies and kids, they are a fascinating throwback in time. Right outside the cheese place...don't you love the lady on the bike? Based on the color of her dress, we can safely assume she is Mennonite...the Amish are generally in dark clothes or light pastels.
And I took this pic of a pic showing a farmer with his team of horses and the rest of the family in the background because you see this constantly here. The 2nd pic looks at first like a poster, but it's not...that is a young father carrying his boy and a woman walking along the length of horse drawn carriages outside a bulk food store. My 'peeps' again! haha
Another day we spent in Elkhart, even by the standards here a really small town. The only thing that seemed to be going on was a festival down by the their River Walk...notice in the 2nd pic that the entrance is graced with a big carving of the Ten Commandments...you also see that around these parts quite a bit. Their River Walk is nothing like San Antonio's or even Oklahoma City's...it is really just a 1-mile paved walkway...all their restaurants, etc are a block or two up from it so you can walk, but not eat there! The festival was just being set up, so we took a walk around and then headed into town.
Throughout the town they have painted elk, not as many as Nappanee has apples, but enough to make it interesting! And they have the quilted-pattern flower beds here also. The 1st pic in the 3rd row here is a celebration of the Indiana's bicentennial--1816 to 2016!
Over to Goshen, Indiana another day...bigger than Elkhart, so that was good. This Old Bag Factory is highly promoted by the town, so of course we headed there. All it really is is a building that going back to the 1890s was a bag factory, but now converted to small specialty stores.
Another flower quilt in front of an old house on the property, and you can see the approach to the factory stores runs along the old railroad tracks.
You'll never guess what this is. The Old Bag Factory once had the contract for the little slips of paper that stick out of the Hershey Kisses candies, and this is a roll of them! They made them here from 1921-1982 when the factory closed.
And a little light entertainment!
Downtown Goshen, which although we are visiting on a Saturday seemed to have rolled up the streets. A couple buildings dating back to the late 1800s.
The County Courthouse, built in 1906, and the quilt garden outside.
For some reason they didn't share with us, someone donated this Neptune statue to the county back in 1912. And on the corner of the courthouse street, a police booth, built in the days of the bank robbers to protect the bank across the street.
We found out the reason the downtown had closed up shop was because they had a festival going on...a weak festival, but that is what they called a couple singers and about 10-12 pop-ups along the river.
The only thing unique at the festival was this woman, Karen, who clearly marches to her own drummer...and I say that with admiration! Quite interesting, she has a website listed on her business card in the 2nd pic if you want to look into it further (haha). Everyone else was selling the usual, but Karen had something we had never seen before.
Karen takes the remains of dead animals, including road kill, and 're-purposes' them...so you can see this 1st pic is of a rocking horse made up of different animals...like a deer skin, horse hair, rabbit around the forehead! That's a porcupine with deer horns, and then a raccoon and squirrel in dresses.
And here is an ornamented raccoon paw, along with chicken feet and squirrel paws on the dolls. Crazy, huh? Sort of creepy, but you can't turn away from it! haha
And back to Nappanee for a final walk-through before we pick up our RV on Thursday.
The people who started our RV company were Amish.
In the Visitor Center/historical house.
Rebecca's 'night wrapper' and her wedding dress from 1903...I posted Cathy alongside it so you could see how small this dress is...both in height and girth, Rebecca seems to have been just a 'spit' of a thing! haha Look at her waist/Cathy's hand...yikes!!
A couple more of those kitchen cabinet/flour dispenser all-in-one spaces! My friend Hallie told me her mother had one of these in her kitchen!
You have to blow them up to see them, but if you remember from a previous post these instructions used to be posted inside the cabinet doors as helpful hints to new wives/cooks. In the 1st pic, the 2nd from the bottom 'tip' tells you what to do when preparing for a church supper of 200!!! And in the 2nd pic, the 4th from the top pic tells how much butter you need to butter 100 slices of bread for lunch! (Like we all do that daily?) haha Last but not least, the 2nd pic also shows on the left and right side little horizontal slides, where they could sort of track how much they had of something for future shopping purposes. Pretty good thinking if you ask me!
And I just figured everyone would want to know a little something about 'creamed possum"! GROSS!!!
So I only have 2 more things to say. The 1st is regarding Amish kids. They are the most adorable little things you have ever seen! The girls in their long dresses and bonnets/kerchiefs and the boys in their long pants, button down shirts and suspenders are like little Hummels walking around...you just want to go up and squeeze them...then take them home with you and put them on the mantle! haha And they look a lot like the Mormon kids in Utah...blonde and blue eyed, they are stunningly gorgeous kids. Very interesting! (And remember, these are my peeps!)
And lastly, as we prepare to launch for Boston, hopefully some time early Thursday if we are to make it by Friday night, just think of the distance in time between the lives of the Amish women here and where this lady is headed...GO HILARY!!!