Did you know that Northern Indiana’s Elkhart County produces over 80% of all RVs built in the U.S? Nearly 1,000 new RVs leave our factories each work day. The retail value of this bounty? Over $9.5 billion in 2015. We welcome current (and aspiring!) RV fans from around the world with signature experiences you’ll only find in the nation’s RV Capital.
Spend an afternoon “cruising” the RV Hall of Fame & Museum (Elkhart). The roads within are lined with retro rides that date back to 1913. Must-see’s include Hollywood screen siren Mae West’s 1931 touring car, a Tennessee Traveler from the same year and even a 1939 travel trailer that once belonged to aviation great Charles Lindbergh. Displays then move into the post-WWII era and feature tent campers, the ever-popular ‘70s-styled Winnebago and ultimately, the state-of-the-art mobile mansions of today.
Ramp up your ride with top-of-the-line servicing that might include a state-of-the-art sound system (Bradd & Hall), specialized refrigeration (Dometic), custom painting and body work (Pinnacle RV) or windshield replacement (Duncan RV). Chances are you’ll find your fix in the RV Capital. We’ve got plenty of nearby support industries to repair, update or customize your rig.
Tour Jayco (Middlebury), a fixture in Middlebury since 1968. Park at the Visitor Center, a restored 1880s farmhouse filled with photos and memorabilia. From there, a trolley will take you into the heart of the bustling production facility. You’ll see first-hand the process of crafting the luxury fifth wheels for which they are known. Note: There are 16 RV manufacturers* in the area that offer tours. We suggest you contact them beforehand as tours days / hours may vary during heavy production cycles.
Stop by Lambright Comfort Chairs (Topeka). Chances are, owner Vernon Lambright will be on hand to greet you with options for furnishing your RV. This family-owned shop in the heart of Amish Country is surrounded by fields of grazing horses. Step inside for a tempting display of Amish-crafted recliners in buttery soft leathers and gliders and rockers in a rainbow of upholsteries. Be sure to “test drive” the swivel wall hugger – a favorite among RV enthusiasts.
Go on a scavenger hunt for parts, accessories and those one-of-a-kind finds you’ll only find at RV salvage dealers. The RV Capital has miles of aisles of these treasures. Visit RVFun.org for a list of outlets.
Rally ‘round your fellow RVers. Consider attending or hosting an RV rally right here in the RV Capital. Our scenic rural landscapes are nationally recognized, and our centralized location is within a day’s drive of half of the nation’s population. Many rallies return to Amish Country year after year.
Swap your RV for a bike. You might rent your wheels at Pumpkinvine Cyclery (Middlebury) and ride the Pumpkinvine Trail, a level, paved path that skirts Amish farms, leafy canopies and locally owned businesses. We suggest the Middlebury to Shipshewana route.
Shop around for handcrafted treasures by skilled artisans (Old Bag Factory, Goshen), for sweet treats from local bakeries and candy stores (Amish Acres in Nappanee has both), for quilts and quilting supplies (discerning quilters love to “shop hop” here) or cozy accents for your home-away- from-home (We like the Davis Mercantile and Yoder Department Store in Shipshewana).
Servicing your RV?
You won’t have a problem filling the days ‘til your rig is ride-ready along the Heritage Trail. Here are some great ways to make that wait worthwhile:
Drive the Heritage Trail. A free audio driving tour CD takes you through seven welcoming communities and right past dozens of must-see attractions. Pick up the tour CD and a Heritage Trail Adventures Guide at the Visitor Center (219 Caravan Drive, Elkhart).
Be sure to check out the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail. These super-sized blooming beauties are scattered throughout welcoming communities, each is planted in a vibrant quilt pattern. It’s the only one of its kind in the world and viewable FREE May 30 – October 1.
Sign up for a guided Heritage Trail Driving Tour. Your driver-guide will share fun facts and must-see stops – you just sit back and enjoy. You can even add on dinner in an Amish home. Visit BuggyLine.com or call 888.44BUGGY for reservations.
Spend an afternoon at one of the Heritage Trail’s signature attractions like Das Dutchman Essenhaus (the bakery serves 30 varieties of pie), Wellfield Botanic Gardens (for water-themed displays and wildlife-inspired sculptures), Bonneyville Mill (you can still buy the flour ground here), Ruthmere Mansion (for a glimpse of Gilded Age glamour) and the Midwest Museum of American Art which features the largest Norman Rockwell lithograph collection in the state. A free Heritage Trail Adventures Guide will lead you to them.
*RV Manufacturers offering tours include Renegade, Thor, H-L Enterprises, Heartland, Nexus, Dutchman, Keystone, Forest River, Grand Design, Winnebago, Newmar and DRV. For a complete list, visit stop by the Elkhart County Visitor Center or visit RVFun.org.