Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shipshewana Trip

     If you love flea markets and such, like I do, then you would absolutely LOVE the Shipshewana outdoor flea market.  WIth close to 1000 vendors, it runs Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from the beginning of May through the end of October.  Shipshewana is located in Northern Indiana and is considered the third largest Amish community in the US.  In addition to the seasonal flea market, there are over 100 shops to explore and year round antique and livestock auctions.  The town hosts many annual events throughout the year.  To find out more, visit

     Doug has never been to Shipshewana, so we decided to schedule a visit before they closed for the year.  This marks my fourth time to the town, and my first in Autumn.  The weather was just beautiful; in fact the temperatures had warmed up this week to the low 80's.  Walking in, I was shocked at how many vendors had already packed up and left for the season!  Nearly two thirds of the booth spaces were vacant.

While I admit I was disappointed at first, we began to realize that there were some advantages to coming later than early September.  Many of the vendors had their merchandise deeply discounted, and a smaller crowd meant no waiting in line at snack shacks or the restrooms. 

There were still plenty of bargains to be had and as Doug noted, even an "abbreviated version" of this flea market resulted in a lot of walking.  It was more than enough for the two of us. 

     I wanted to stay with tradition and have dinner at the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery (, which in my opinion is THE best place in town.  They serve Amish favorites, salads & sandwiches and offer over 25 varieties of pies.  The smell which emits from the bakery as soon as you open the door is heavenly and you'll find it nearly impossible not to leave with some freshly baked goodie.  As you wind through the bakery to the dining room, there are many unique gifts available for purchase in every nook and cranny. 

      During a previous visit, I'd thoroughly enjoyed a BLT sandwich from this establishment, so that's what Doug & I each ordered this time around.  It doesn't get much better than fresh, thick cut bacon on homemade bread.  We each took a slice of pie (he had his standard cherry, I tried the blackberry--yum!) back to our room.  Which is a whole 'nother story.....

      There will be no. photos. of our hotel.  Argh....long story, but I will try to give a condensed version here.  I booked this place, after looking around online and all I can say is frugality has it's limits!  My husband is retired & I am unemployed, so we have to consider costs whenever we do get out and do things. 

      As we entered the parking lot, I tried to have an open mind.  Walking into the office my fears were actualized.  There was an awful odor in the area and let's just say the people in charge were less than professional.  Less.  I glanced behind me at one point  and saw a cruddy coffee pot in what I assume was the "lobby" or, heaven forbid, "continental breakfast" area.

      With key in hand, we start bringing our luggage around to the room, which is located in the courtyard area.  I say courtyard lightly.   One could hardly ignore the very large hole, with dirt piled up, in the middle of this courtyard.   Curtains CLOSED, we started to settle in for the evening.  We were tired.  One light over the bed doesn't turn on.  There are NO hand towels and the AC/heating unit was circa 1920's, at least.  Choosing to focus on the fact that there are only two measly pillows, I call the "office" to ask for 2 or 3 more.   The fellow who delivered more pillows was so downright creepy that I decided it would be best to avoid him from there on out.  Whatever else didn't work didn't matter.  Are the doors locked??! 

      Snuggling into bed later, we both felt the bed sag deeply in the middle.  Fab.  At 6:15am, neither of us felt the need to linger longer than necessary, or to even step foot in that shower, so we packed up quickly and headed out.

      All said, the two of us enjoyed our time together and brought home lots of cool things.  We're looking forward to our own bed tonight though, because there's no place better than home, sweet home!!  



  1. Reading this, made want to go visit, except for the hotel stay. I would have tried Mel's favorite with the marinated chicken breast and smashed potato...definitely different. Did you buy anything cute from the flea market?

  2. I bought a queen sheet set for $15, some various things to put in the landscaping (yard art), 2 pr. sunglasses, 2 pr. reader glasses, nail polish (lt. blue!) for a buck, etc. LOTS of great buys!

  3. Oh, almost of the most important things I'd wanted to pick up when there are some cooking spices---they have EXCELLENT prices on them. They sell them in large bottles, so I got nutmeg for $10 (by comparison, Walmart had a TINY jar of nutmeg for just under $3), cinnamon ($5) & dark chili powder ($5). Next yr., I'm going to buy MANY more spices, you really cannot beat their prices!

  4. fun trip with my best friend!!