What are your Indiana Amish favorites?

Last week’s Lancaster County favorites post has been getting some nice suggestions.  Lot of food places and Amish businesses, plus some rather off-the-beaten path recommendations like Amos Hoover’s library and the Lititz area.

Lindsay asked if we could do the same for Elkhart and Lagrange Counties in Indiana (i.e. Shipshewana, Middlebury, and so on).   I’d even open it up to nearby Nappanee, and for that matter, why not other communities in Indiana.

indiana amish favorite places
A young Amish traveler near Goshen, Indiana

My last time in Indiana was when I lived in Goshen for four months in 2006.   The town, on the western boundary of the Elkhart-Lagrange Amish settlement, is home to Mennonite-founded Goshen College.  I had a regular restaurant in downtown Goshen, the County Seat Cafe at 124 West Jefferson St.

One of the waitresses who brought my eats in the morning was a young Amish mother (some Amish moms do work out though it’s not too common).   I happened to visit her home later in the summer, and she and her husband ended up buying books from me.  We had a funny moment when we recognized that we knew each other from breakfast.

That restaurant had great biscuits and gravy (yum) and was just a nice positive start to the day.  Don’t know if my waitress is still there (I kind of doubt it), but the food and local diner atmosphere definitely make it worth a visit.  Goshen itself is no hotbed of Amish activity, but is a pretty place with a beautiful historic downtown.

What about your favorites–in Elkhart-Lagrange, Nappanee, Daviess County, or other Hoosier Amish havens?

And: For those looking for Hoosier State Amish woodworkers, a guide to Indiana Amish furniture
Goshen Amish photo credit: Martin Dougiamas

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    1. Al in Ky.

      My favorites in Elkhart/LaGrange/Koskiusco Counties in northern
      E & S Sales on SR 5 in Shipshewana which is the area’s largest bulk food store.
      Laura’s Country Store at 1255 W. SR 120, Howe, Indiana. They have
      over 150 Amish made quilts and wall hangings, as well as lots of
      nice furniture and a bakery.
      Burkholder’s Country Store at 29999 CR 56 near Nappannee. It’s
      a typical Amish variety store,and the store owners Larry & Marlene
      Burkholder have always been pleasant to visit with.
      Miller’s Variety Store 8920 N. SR 19, Etna Green (a few miles
      south of Nappannee). If anyone likes Rada knives and kitchenware,
      I found that they have the best selection in the area.

      Also, the produce auctions at Wakarusa and LaGrange. Produce
      auctions are more and more a part of Old Order Amish and Old
      Order Mennonite life and I think everyone interested in Amish
      life needs to attend at least one produce auction!

      And I think a visit to northern Indiana Amish Country is not
      complete without a visit to MennoHof in Shipshewana — a good
      introduction to Amish/Mennonite history and life. I especially
      enjoy the Amish kitchen/living room which is part of MennoHof
      and the quilt garden is beautiful in the summer. They also have
      a very good selection of Amish/Mennoniite books.

    2. Kah-zee-ah-sko County

      Al thanks for sharing some interesting places. I’m glad you mentioned Menno-Hof; I have heard good things about it but have never gotten to visit.

      I know produce auctions have gotten bigger in recent years in Lagrange, but haven’t heard much about Wakarusa.

      Kosciusko County always brings a chuckle to me–it’s named after Polish national hero Tadeusz Kosciusko but for us Americans the name is a tongue twister to pronounce. “Kosh-choosh-ko” is more or less how it should be said, but I’ve often heard it “Kah-zee-ah-sko”

      1. James Stytle

        Tadeusz Kosciusko

        When I was in Poland, I rode on a train named “Kosciusko”. I told one of my Polish friends how we pronounce it in Indiana. I don’t think she believed me.

        I wrote a paper on Tadeusz Kosciusko for a history club I belong to in Crawfordsville, Indiana. I have also presented the paper to my Masonic Lodge.

    3. Forest in NC

      I always kinda liked the area around Berne, Indiana

    4. Lindsay

      Great ideas, thanks! I look forward to my NIN road trip. Menno-Hof was on my list. I’ll add Erik’s restaurant suggestion to the to-do list as well.

      I hope they celibrate Pulaski Day in Kosciusko County!

    5. Alice Mary

      Erik, in my neighborhood and family,we pronounce it the first way you mentioned (“Kosh-choosh-ko”), and since my fraternal Busia and Dzia-Dzia were born and raised in Poland (and Dad worked for the Polish daily Zgoda in Chicago), I trust their pronunciation.

      I’ve never been to Indiana Amish country, but will certainly put several of the places mentioned on my “to do” list to visit during (hopefully) my retirement years (thanks,Al).

      Lindsay,I hope the same thing—if anyone’s in that area on Pulaski Day (and if they do celebrate it), I’d like to see a couple of pix (probably snowy).

      Alice Mary

    6. Alice Mary, I do remember your Polish roots which must come in handy on these kinds of Polish adoptions 🙂 I can’t fault anyone that would mispronounce Polish words though. Czech and Slovak are pretty hard too. I visited the Slovak mountains last weekend, and one of the towns in the area is called “Klcov” (with the addition of a little “hacek” pronunciation symbol over the c making it even more interesting). Slavic words could often stand to buy a vowel 😉

    7. Other Indiana favorites

      Looks like Lancaster is a bit better known than Indiana 🙂 Maybe we’ll get some more responses here.

      Other Indiana favorites of mine include the covered bridges of Parke County, which have come up here a few times recently. And I know folks have mentioned Dinky’s in Daviess County a number of times.

      The eastern side of the Lagrange-Elkhart settlement is more spread out and more beautiful to visit in my opinion. You’ve also got the Pathway bookstore east of Shipshewana. I’ve never been to the Shipshewana flea market, just seen it driving by.

    8. Berne Amish

      Forest, Berne is actually the largest Amish settlement I’ve never been to. But I’m aiming for an Indiana visit this summer, with Berne on the list. I know Kevin Williams at the Amish Cook blog has been there a number of times (Lovina Eicher the Amish Cook has roots here), but he doesn’t seem to be too fond of this community.

    9. Lindsay

      Are there any good flea markets? My friend I’m roadtripping with loves her flea markets! There is one in Ship Tues/Weds, but unfortunately we’re not able to make it other than over a weekend.

      The area of Nebraska I grew up in also has a large Czech American community…my grandpa’s family was from Bohemia, and until he was an adult Czech was his first language. There are a lot of signs in both Czech and English in the area, and I usually have a good idea on the pronunciation but I’ve noticed that sometimes certain words are pronounced different here, which makes it well, confusing!

      One of the common names is Znmanacek…it looks harder to pronounce than it really is 😉

    10. ann

      The Blue Gate in Shipshewana is a family favorite for us! And- my mom’s sis and family own the Old Davis Hotel (and affiliated shops) and have some yummy snack shops there- JoJo’s Pretzels- my favorite! I love Shipshewana in general… but then, I’m hardly impartial!
      Oh yes- and the Wana Cup on SR 5 across from Yoder’s dept store is another favorite… otherwise known as the ‘Dairy Queen’… 😉 (it’s not… it’s just what we call it!)

    11. Al in Ky.

      Erik, I’m hoping too that more people will respond to this post. Northern Indiana Amish Country is such a large area, we need all of
      us who know the area to help each other find interesting places there to visit!

      I’m glad Ann mentioned Yoder’s Dept. Store. It is in Yoder’s
      Shopping Center which is a huge building with the dept. store,a hardware store and a grocery store. Many Amish shop there. It sure is interesting looking around in all of those stores to see items you don’t usually see in such stores.

      And I’m glad Ann mentioned Wana Cup. It’s my favorite eating place
      in Shipshewana — has a real “local” feel to it. My favorite eating place in the whole area is Village Inn on Main St. in Middlebury. It too has a local feel to it; many Amish as well as local English (and tourists) eat there. If you go to Middlebury
      from Shipshewana, travel on Road 250 N. It is very scenic, lots
      of Amish farms. And at 11275 W. 250 N is Guggisberg Cheese House.
      It advertises that it is “where you’ll get a birds-eye view of
      cheesemaking in Amish Country!”

      If a person is interested in reading more about Amish/Mennonite
      Life and History, I’d suggest going to the Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College. Though the hours are limited, I think it’s open to anyone. I’ve spend a couple enjoyable afternoons there reading issues of Die Botschaft and other interesting materials. Also, Goshen College occasionally has displays with Amish themes in one of their art galleries on campus.

      This is non-Amish, but there is a great candy store in Wakarusa.
      It has all kinds of candy that I remember from the 50’s and 60’s.
      I don’t know where they find it, but it’s all fresh! Definitely
      worth a visit if you’re in that area. Also, the Wakarusa Produce
      Auction I mentioned earlier is Old Order (horse and buggy) Mennonite.

      One thing I learned about 20 years ago when I first visited Northern Indiana “Amish Country”is that not everyone you see in the area who you think is Amish, really is Amish. There are many, many different groups of Amish, Mennonites, Old German Baptist, etc. in the area who dress plain. There is a fairly large Old Order Mennonite (Groffdale Conference) community between Goshen and Nappanee who drive horse and buggies. So, just because you see a man with suspenders and a beard or a woman wearing a covering and a long dress driving a buggy doesn’t mean they’re Amish! It is a great area and I learn new things every time I visit there.

    12. Emma & Topeka

      I have two restaurants to mention, both of which have Amish staff.

      Tiffany’s in Topeka, Indiana has really good food and excellent pies. It’s clean and simple, with a nice all-you-can-eat salad bar, and the locals seem to fill the place, which is a good sign.

      Even better is the Emma General Store in tiny Emma, Indiana, which isn’t far from Topeka. I wish I had a copy of the newspaper article they have on display there that tells the history of the place. I believe it’s more than 100 years old. For most of its history it operated as a general store under one family’s ownership, but when the family decided to sell in the early eighties things were never the same. Eventually someone bought it and turned it into a restaurant and they serve excellent food at very reasonable prices. The interior is lovely with its handsome wooden soda bar and a dark green tin ceiling. If you’re anywhere in the neighborhood, stop in for a bite – you won’t regret it.

    13. Rick

      I expect to make a return visit in August after having been there last June. The Shipshewana Flea Market is OK, huge but a lot of the same junk row after row. There was a nice large antique store more or less across the road, near Yoder’s Dept Store. Certainly the Pathway Bookstore (2580N 250 W in Lagrange) is the place to go if you want to see what Amish read and the one type of text book series they use. The restaurant in front of E & S Sales offers good value.

    14. Alice Mary

      More photos?

      Erik’s original post on this subject has certainly opened a goldmine of info on the Indiana Amish/plain community! Since Indiana is our next door neighbor (from Illinois, that is),I’m likely to make it there sooner than I would to Pennsylvania or Ohio. The Amish dept. stores mentioned sound very intriguing, as do the restaurants, and the Mennonite library will be a “must-see” for me!

      I’m hoping that those of you who have been to these places (or are visiting soon) will post some recent photos, especially of the stores/restaurants, indoors & out (if possible). I’m sure more folks than just “me” would be interested and appreciative!

      Thanks ahead of time!

      Alice Mary

    15. Shipshe

      I’m with Rick regarding Shipshewana and the swap meet. 20 years ago it was really great — the way a flea market ought to be, with home-made crafts, vintage items, and genuine antiques. Over the past several years though it’s become more of a junk vendor’s paradise, with cheap Chinese toys, socks, and mass-produced bric-a-brac. On the up-side, there’s still treasure there to be found but it’s harder to find, and they hold regular auctions where you can find all kinds of treasures.

      The antique mall across the street is wonderful and we always stop in for a visit. The little downtown area has many quaint shops and is a treat to visit, especially the Davis Mercantile, a large building with three floors of shops that should keep you busy for a while. On the third floor you’ll find the Daily Bread restaurant, which features delicious Amish-style meals, freshly baked breads, pies, and other desserts.

      I can’t wait to get back next month!

    16. Ann Whitaker

      Topeka, Indiana

      One of our favorite places in Indiana is Topeka. And the wonderful restaurant called Tiffany’s! We loved Shipse, and look forward to another trip up that way next year.

    17. Indiana photos

      Alice Mary, posting photos is a nice idea. I’m working on getting more interactivity on the site to let people do just that. In the meantime anyone that wants to can send them to my email (ewesner(at)gmail.com) and I can pass them along, or can share them on the Amish America Facebook page. Thanks for the good idea.

    18. micah

      hi all, long time lurker, not sure if i’ve ever posted before
      i may be able to post some photos of the shipshe area for you all.

      along with the previously mentioned attractions, i have to mention shipshe farm supply for all your horse drawn implements and livestock needs. shipshewana is also home to an excellent blacksmith.

      and of course you can’t mention northern indiana without mentioning st. joseph county michigan!

      1. ShipshewanaIndiana



        I’d love to see your photos on this site!

        I was a long time lurker myself, but have found this site is a great way to share with others the sights and experiences we obtain while living in / visiting amish country.

    19. James Stytle

      Parke County

      I live near Parke County, Indiana. I like to visit Swarey’s Variety Store and Peachy’s Bulk Foods. A great place to buy fabric and work clothes and boots is Meadow Sales.

      1. Parke County Amish

        Thanks for mentioning Parke County James. For those who might be wondering Parke County is home to one of 2 Amish communities settled by Amish from Lancaster County, PA.

        The other, of similar size, is in Wayne County on the opposite side of the state. These are the only places in Indiana you’ll find the grey-topped buggy characteristic of Amish in Lancaster.

        More on those 2 communities: https://amishamerica.com/indiana-amish/#pa

        1. Lance

          Hi Erik,

          There is now a third Lancaster Co daughter community in Indiana. This one is in Ripley Co, near Holton. This community is not yet 5 years old, I believe. It is growing, but not as fast as Parke and/or Wayne Cos. did. Land is more expensive there.

          1. Thanks Lance, as I wrote that comment, I thought “maybe I better check if there’s a new one”. Usually I listen to that voice 🙂 Good to know.