Handcrafted & Historic...along the Heritage Trail
From BUGGIES and RV’S to ART and the AMISH, celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of today and yesterday. See and learn how Mae West and an RV impacted the 1930’s movie industry. See the works of some of the Midwest’s greatest artists including Indiana’s largest Norman Rockwell collection.
Revel in the majesty of a Beaux-Arts mansion that “Alka-Seltzer built” while admiring Tiffany’s and Rodin’s. Take a walk and hear about the legendary creations of Hoosier Cabinets then see the quilt art of our very own version of “Grandma Moses”. Meet Amish handcrafters in their workshops. Watch, learn, and make amazing creations from glass blowing to wooden quilts and fresh baked scones.
YOU’LL BE AMAZED AT THE STORIES, ADMIRE THE BEAUTY, AND LEARN HOW ELKHART COUNTY’S HISTORY HAS IMPACTED OUR NATION.
HANDCRAFTD & HISTORIC ... 4 DAY / 3 NIGHT SAMPLE ITINERARY
NOTE: Prices subject to change without advance notice.
3:00 p.m. Arrival Elkhart, Indiana
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum, Elkhart [$10 pp incl]
This shrine to the RV in the “RV Capital” traces the history of RVing from early 1913 travel-trailers to today’s state-of-the-art motor homes. The 80,000 sq. ft. museum showcase a fascinating collection of one-of-a-kind camping cars, house trailers, and house cars including a gem custom built for Hollywood screen siren Mae West and the touring RV for Charles Lindbergh. Follow the time trail of vintage RVs arrayed among murals of scenic America. A knowledgeable guide shares RV folklore and the industry’s remarkable stories with groups.
4:00 p.m. Check-in at your host hotel
5:45 p.m. Depart hotel for evening dinner experience
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Farm Fun & Dinner at Historic Meadow Brook Farm [$50 pp incl lunch/dinner meal complete with meat, vegetable, fruit, dessert, soft drinks, coffee, fresh apple cider or lemonade, homemade donuts, hands-on felt donkey craft with Jesus Donkey origination story, live mini donkey photo op, local author and fall storytelling, self-guided tours of historic home, barns, farm and tractors, wagon driven hayride weather permitting]
Do you enjoy the sight of a tractor harvesting stalks of corn, the touch of a furry donkey nose, or the smell of warm apple cider or fresh squeezed lemonade? Come take a tour of the 1860 vintage home that was constructed during the Civil War. Hear documented stories from the farm’s Author and Storyteller from visitors that traveled the nearby Pumpkinvine Railway, while sipping on some cider and munching on a homemade donut. The carefully restored barns are places of gathering and fellowship and is your host location for a delicious lunch or dinner. Enjoy hands-on fun with a make-take homespun donkey craft followed by the story of the Jesus Donkey with opportunities to pet and take a fun fall photo op which is just irresistible! Your evening experience at Meadow Brook will be filled with memorable experiences and one you won’t forget.
Return to your host hotel following your evening experience
6:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Ruthmere Mansion Tour [$8 pp incl, 2 comps per groups over 25]
Who remembers the famous Alka Seltzer advertisement, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh, what a relief it is”? Elkhart, Indiana was the home to entrepreneur Mr. Albert Beardsley who helped found the company that created Alka Seltzer. His elaborate 1910 Beaux-Arts style house, Ruthmere, is available for guided tours. You’ll see a fine art collection including Tiffany leaded glass, Rodin sculptures, velvet window coverings, hand painted walls, and walnut woodwork.
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Indiana’s Largest Norman Rockwell Collection exhibit at the Midwest Museum of American Art [$8 pp incl]
This neo-classical style bank building, in the heart of downtown Elkhart, houses 19th and 20th century art from American Primitives to Pop art and includes original works by Grandma Moses and Norman Rockwell. The Main Gallery provides a unique setting for corporate/private parties, weddings and receptions. Groups can choose from two excellent presentations. “Learning to Look” is a presentation that highlights stories, places and people that bring art to life for the visitor. “Norman Rockwell: The Making of an American Legend” gives the visitor a chance to explore both the myth and the reality of this American icon while viewing the largest Rockwell print collection in Indiana.
Noon - 1:15 p.m. Lunch in downtown Elkhart at the Five Star Dive Bar Group Meal
[$18 pp incl PLUS dessert option if interested; count by individual order due in advance]
Welcome to downtown Elkhart’s popular Five Star Dive Bar. When you are hungry and looking for some delicious American food, Five Star Dive Bar is the place to come in Elkhart. Discover their extensive menu including such items as salads, soups, wraps, fish, and sandwiches that will bring you back for more. Featuring fresh, never frozen burgers. Locals love the loaded tot appetizers, yummy breadsticks, and giant loaded nachos with plenty to share!
A full bar is available on site for individual purchases on their own if desired.
1:15 p.m. Depart Elkhart for Goshen
1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Olympia Candy Kitchen Shopping for Chocolates served to Presidents [no admission fee]
The Olympia Candy Kitchen has been welcoming visitors for almost a century in its unchanged location in downtown Goshen, Indiana remaining a family run business, passed through 4 generations over 100 years. All their candies are handmade from scratch including the famous Turtles, which are made with their own home- made caramel, plus the famous Chocolate-Covered Cherries, which were so popular that they were served at the Inaugural Balls of both President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. They also offer a wide variety of the highest quality hand-dipped sweets, such as creams and chocolate covered peanuts plus a great selection of gummy candies, jellybeans, licorice, and other non-chocolate treats.
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Soapy Gnome Concoction of Handcrafted Soap [$10 pp incl for demo, facility tour and bar of handcrafted soap for each person]
Welcome to an independent shop in Goshen, Indiana, specializing in handcrafted soap and body care products. Soap made with locally crafted beer. Soap made with local fresh pressed apple cider. Soap combining Lavender with herbs. These and many more interesting and unusual concoctions make up her handcrafted and aromatic soaps,
lotions, body bars, oils and more. Her cozy and warm welcoming shop Is filled with great things to shop and enjoy!
3:30 p.m. Depart Goshen for Nappanee
4:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Shopping, Buffet Dinner & Theatre at The Barns at Nappanee [$59.95 pp incl for groups 15-49, $57.95 pp incl for groups 50+]
Enjoy the delicious Threshers Dinner served inside the historic barn restaurant at The Barns at Nappanee followed by a musical theatre production inside the majestic Round Barn Theatre featuring classic stories, musicals, and original productions. Shows vary by date and season. (Shopping on arrival, Buffet at 5, Theatre at 7:30 p.m.)
Return to your host hotel following the theatre production.
6:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel
8:15 a.m. Meet your guide in the hotel lobby
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Great Life Tours Heritage Trail Handcrafted Backroads Tour [$195 for guide (tip optional) PLUS components listed below]
Travel the nationally recognized by Time LIFE Magazine on the scenic Heritage Trail thru the nation’s third
largest Amish area. Your local step-on guide will share the stories, history, and details of the hardworking local Amish craftsmen. You’ll meet them in their shops, in their homes and enjoy the opportunity to get to know them too. Your tour options include (pick as many as interest, budget and time allow):
Bonneyville Mill & the Dahlia Garden [$2 pp incl]
One of the most photographed spots in Elkhart County, this handsomely restored mill is the oldest continuously operating gristmill in Indiana. It’s been producing flour for over 150 years. Hear the rumbling of huge millstones grinding grain into flour as the friendly miller tells all about the process. Flour and cornmeal are for sale, so be sure
to take home a bag. The beautiful county park surrounding the mill offers the perfect opportunity for a scenic fall walk and photo. Make sure and ask for the corn bread
Create a Wooden Quilt Block [$28 pp incl for hands-on crafting class, woodshop tour & shopping time]
Meet LaVern and Rachel, the Amish-Mennonite dynamic duo that has made Teaberry Wood Products one of Great Life Tour’s most requested stops. This experience appeals to men and women with a something-for-everyone flair! Groups enjoy one-on-one time with this artisan team creating a wall quilt pieced entirely with beautiful exotic hardwoods. The experience will include a woodshop tour, “weaving” demo, hands-on wood quilt kit with choice of materials and shopping time. Participants leave with an 8”x8” quilt block complete with engraved center tile and hanger. It is a work of art worthy of gifting or kept as a treasured memory of their travels. Highly collectible, a new pattern each season—keeping it fresh and new year after year. This is endlessly customizable with two frames, optional holiday and decorative laser engraved tiles available to choose from.
Enjoy Historic Krider “World’s Fair” Garden [$5 pp incl for guided garden historical tour]
Take time to stroll through the “World’s Fair” garden that blends a wide variety of plants, shrubs, trees, and
waterfalls with area history. The gardens were originally designed by Krider Nurseries for display at the 1933/34 Chicago World’s Fair. The community restored those original garden elements for future generations to enjoy.
Authentic Visit at an Amish Toy Maker [$4 pp with a $100 min]
Step inside an Amish toymaker’s workshop where an internet connection is not required to keep the kids entertained. Meet Owen a self-taught toy maker who crafts fine wooden toys and games for children of all ages. This experience includes a workshop tour, Q&A discussion, and shopping time.
Authentic Meet an Amish Harness Maker [$4 pp with a $100 min]
Horses and buggies are part of the Old Order Amish identity requiring specialized equipment and craftsmanship to provide their transportation needs. A skilled saddle and harness maker could earn an excellent living in colonial America but how does this work for a 21st century Amishman? Meet Owen and see how he makes harnesses and horseshoes to meet the needs of his community without power from the grid. This experience includes a workshop tour and ample time for Q&A.
Flower Power Petal Pin / Pin Cushion at The Quilt Shop at Das Dutchman Essenhaus [$10 pp incl]
Groups will love the fun and fast “Make and Take” fabric flower project. Each person makes a fabric flower pin or pin cushion with no sewing machine or prior sewing knowledge required. Materials are provided. Best yet it takes just 30 minutes to complete and everyone takes home their flower creation! Discover how fast fabric flowers bloom at The Quilt Shop!
Amish rug weaving demo & Cookie break [$3 pp incl]
Leo & Lorene Miller welcome you to their Old Order Amish home where Leo has been handweaving rag rugs for years. Taught by his family, Leo will demonstrate how he weaves and creates his beautiful and functional rugs. Meanwhile Lorene, his wife, will serve you her fresh from the oven cookies and cold lemonade as both the Miller’s welcome your group and answer questions about their personal Amish lifestyle.
5:00 p.m. Say good-bye to your guide
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Dinner at Heinne’s BackBarn, Elkhart [$27 pp incl tax & tip for 1/3 lb. cheeseburger or grilled chicken or pork tenderloin with fries, cole slaw, dessert and soft drink included. Other beverages on their own. NOTE: Pricing subject to change. Additional menu options available.]
Bill and Troy DeShone, are the 3rd generation of the DeShone family to continue the “Heinnie’s Tradition!” For over 56 years, folks have been enjoying the great steaks, Heinnie’s hamburgers and more at Heinnie’s Back Barn. “Heinnie’s” has won the “Best Steak” and “Best Prime Rib” category in the Elkhart voting area. Their “Heinnie Cheeseburger” was just recently added to the top cheeseburger stops in the United States by hamburger author and film writer George Motz! Groups enjoy sitting in rustic barn stalls in small table settings. A full bar is available for individual selection. Homemade soups, fresh salads, and a variety of sandwiches & entrees are offered. An Elkhart tradition!
Return to your host hotel following dinner
6:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. RV Factory Tour [no admission fee]
Welcome to the “RV Capital of the World”! Over 80% of the world’s inventory of Travel Trailers, 5th Wheels, Class C & A Motorhomes, Truck Campers and Fold-Downs are
all manufactured in this area. Your group will enjoy a plant tour through one of the numerous RV manufacturing facilities. NOTE: Guests must wear closed toe shoes.
Anyone with open toed shoes will not be allowed on the tour. Waiver forms must be signed by all participants. Group will be split in to two parts to take trolley to factory itself.
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Emma Schrock Quilt Art Exhibit at the Nappanee Center [no admission fee]
We are sure that you have heard of Grandma Moses, but have you heard of the “Grandma Moses of Elkhart County”? Not only does Nappanee serve as home to six nationally known cartoonists, an Air Force One pilot and a NASA aeronautical engineer but it also serves as home for the naïve folk artist, Emma Schrock, who was of Old
Order Mennonite faith. Growing up with physical challenges, Emma Schrock used painting to work outside of her home. Quoted as saying “I live what I paint, and I paint what I see”, Emma Schrock truly captured the Old Order Mennonite way of life and it is an excellent example of what makes our area so unique. The Nappanee Center is now home to fifty-seven Emma Schrock paintings and has a dedicated gallery for her works of art. Not only does the Nappanee Center tell the story of Emma Schrock but also the well-crafted storied past of Nappanee including its cartoonists, kitchen cabinets and so much more!
Noon - 2:00 p.m. Ice Cream Treats, Lunch on your own & Historical Feats at Coppes Commons, Nappanee
[ice cream treats on arrival from Rocket Science - small serving (big for a small size) - $6 pp incl or $7 pp incl for medium serving followed by self-guided tour/ shopping - no fee]
Nappanee’s colorful history comes alive when touring Coppes Commons. Originally the factory for Coppes Cabinets that once produced the famous “Hoosier Cabinet,” the 100,000 s.f. renovated factory now houses a variety of small businesses perfect for shopping for locally made, hand crafted and fresh baked. Groups are given a fascinating historical glimpse into the Coppes Kitchens on this self-guided tour, once ordered by Frank Sinatra and President John F. Kennedy, while touring this rustic and rambling brick structure. Then enjoy an “out of this world” ice cream that is flash frozen right before your eyes at over 320 degrees below zero from Rocket Science.
2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Homes of the Kitchen Industry Guided Walking Tour [$5 pp incl]
Tour homes built for and by the men of the Kitchen Industry! Homes of the Kitchen Industry takes you through the historic area of Nappanee on a short walking guided tour where you’ll learn about the Mutschler, Coppes and Zook family homes, the history behind them and the men who built them. Learn what home in Nappanee was designed by well-known architect E. Hill Turnock and find out what home used to be three floors but now only has two. Discover how one home was relocated to make way for Nappanee’s post office and find out which house in Nappanee was the “house the depression” built You will also learn about how Nappanee was once the “kitchen capital of the world.” This informative and educational tour has hidden surprises, secrets, and tales for all to enjoy!
Depart for home