Hands-on Fun Activities for Groups
Hands On and Interactive...along the Heritage Trail
These options are GROUP-FRIENDLY and the perfect way to get your group active and engaged in their experience.
Weave your own basket to give as a gift (or keep for yourself, we won’t tell anyone). Hand twist your very own pretzel then watch it being baked before your eyes. Experience a Hell’s Kitchen inspired wine and food event where you become the chef. Increase your quilting proficiency and hone in your piecing skills.
THERE ARE SO MANY HANDS-ON AND INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES FOR GROUPS.
Amish Quilting Bee & Family-Style Meal at an Amish Homestead [$30 pp incl]
Join Elaine Jones, her family and friends in an Amish quilting bee. First sit down to enjoy a delicious home-cooked, two meat, traditional Amish meal. Then pull up a chair around one of four quilts pieced by Elaine. Feel free to ask the Amish quilters how they piece, mark and get the quilts in frames - and enter your name for the quilt give-away! Sit beside them as they lead the novice and experienced quilter in an old fashioned quilting bee - participate, watch, learn or just chat. For those not interested in quilting, head out to the barn with Elaine’s son, Seth, and take a buggy ride up and down the lane.
Lavender Patch Quilt Shop Origami Fabric Folding [$15 pp incl]
Lavender Patch Quilt Shop Learn an ancient Japanese art and open your eyes to the world of embellishment of quilts & wall hangings. Watch fascinating demonstrations on various folded fabric techniques and embellishment options. Each class member is given the necessary fabric and instruction to make their very own origami embellishment.
Lavender Patch Quilt Shop What’s In Your Tool Shed? [$15 pp incl]
Lavender Patch Quilt Shop. New quilters and veteran quilters increase your piecing skills and proficiency in quilting with this workshop that covers the use of quilting rulers and several other tools all designed to get great results. Select your fabric and try cutting a block of your very own.
Ben’s Pretzels Make your own Pretzel Demo [$5 pp incl for 50+, $7 pp incl for 20-50, $10 pp incl for 10-19]
Ben’s Pretzels was founded in 2004 by Ben and Elizabeth Miller, an Amish family from Shipshewana, needing to provide for their family. Ben and his wife, 3rd generation Amish bakers, spent years perfecting the Amish/Dutch dough recipe that makes a perfect soft pretzel. Ben’s has grown to over 71 locations nationwide as well as a mobile / concession program.
Ben’s pretzels are preservative free. Groups will enjoy a short presentation highlighting Ben’s story and history of the company followed by an opportunity to roll your own pretzel then watch it being baked before your eyes. Enjoy this tasty treat with cheese dip and a beverage of your choice before departing. A great treat anytime of day!
Weave Your Own Basket at Sonshine Baskets [$25 pp incl for hands-on weaving experience - or - $20 pp incl for demo and a completed basket (no hands on) - or - no cost for tour / shopping / demo only]
Welcome to Sonshine Baskets homestead and workshop as you meet Anna and her daughters, Amish artisans. Watch as they construct and weave their custom designed baskets. Tour the workshop and observe the various steps to bring a piece of handcraft to life including cutting, weaving, staining and finishing with leather handles. Browse thru the showroom featuring hundreds of baskets on display. Groups can weave their own basket and custom select individual stain colors for a lasting keepsake of your Amish Country tour.
NOTE: Due to time required for drying of stains, this program must occur first on arrival in Amish Country and the baskets will then be delivered to group hotel prior to departing the area or would require shipping to guests home after departure from the area (extra expense required to cover shipping). Not enough time available to weave your own basket? Then select the option to include a custom made basket that group members can select from the showroom. Different shapes, sizes, function, colors and options will be offered as an immediate take-away.
The Nappanee Center and Historical Collection PLUS paint an Amish Quilt Barn Art piece [$15 pp incl]
Explore inside the Nappanee Center and see the quilts depicting historical Quilt Gardens while enjoying the fascinating display chronicling Nappanee’s storied past. Enjoy the beautiful Quilt Garden on site and then sit down with local artist, Linda Pieri, and be shown painting secrets developed throughout the ages. Linda has taught over 1000 people in the art of acrylic painting encouraging them to “not just look at what you are drawing or painting, but to see what is really there.” You will be able to observe a demonstration and follow step-by-step instructions that will help you create your own masterpiece. This is not a paint by number situation. Linda helps each person discover the creative artist inside of each of them.
Flower Power Petal Pin / Pin Cushion at The Quilt Shop at Das Dutchman Essenhaus [$10 pp incl]
The Quilt Shop at Das Dutchman Essenhaus. 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!
Fabric Make-n-Take Pumpkin at The Quilt Shop at Das Dutchman Essenhaus [$10 pp incl]
The Quilt Shop at Das Dutchman Essenhaus. This hands on make-n-take your own fabric pumpkin is offered in two versions for groups of all skill levels. One version uses a tiny bit of hand-sewing while version 2 is NO SEW and perfect for men and women! The project kits include all materials and tools needed (except for scissors & hot glue gun) to complete a fabric pumpkin. The scissors and hot glue gun are provided for your use while on site. Once completed, your fabric pumpkin is approximately 6” in diameter and perfect for gift giving or fall home decorating. Time to complete is approximately 45 minutes.
“Hell’s Kitchen Inspired” Interactive Hors D’oeuvre and Wine Pairing Evening at LEX530 [$90 pp incl]
LEX530. Come join us for a wine and food pairing event like no other and an evening you won’t soon forget brought to you by local vintner and businessman Carl Tiedemann. Tonight, your group will enjoy a “Hell’s Kitchen inspired Interactive event.” Participants will be welcomed and then split into groups for a friendly competition. Each group will be led by a chef and encouraged to learn and participate in their food preparation. They will then serve the rest of the group the course they prepared and explain why it pairs well with the wine chosen. The portion sizes will make even the hungriest in the crowd pleased. Your evening includes an Amuse Bouche, along with 3 individual courses then a final dessert course, each paired with an appropriate wine. Water, coffee and iced tea will also be available. Tiedemann Wines and Glenwood Cellars Wines will be available for purchase, many of which are exclusive to Indiana.
Great Life Tours Create a Wooden Quilt Block [$28 pp incl]
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”x 8” 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.
The Fiber Nest 6” Christmas Star Mandela Ornament Making Class [$20 pp incl]
Using white, silver & gold yarn your group will learn how to make a “Christmas Star” Gods Eye Mandala ornament. Each one will be festive and fun to make, keep or give as gifts. You’ll leave after an hour learning all about this technique, art form and having had a fun experience with your local art expert, Carrie Beachey.
Popcorn Olympics at Shirley’s Popcorn Classic Flavor Game [$10 pp incl (adults or children) with small bag of either Windy City or Jelly Bean flavored popcorn bags for each person]
Shirley’s Popcorn, Compete against your group friends and family members in this fun, interactive game! Race the clock, test your skills, and munch on freshly popped Original Movie Theatre flavored popcorn kernels as you have fun. Some games are independent, some in teams of 2 or more. All are led by the Shirley’s Popcorn staff and coaches complete with supplies and instructions. Choose Three games for your group Olympics (in advance) from fun activities like a “cup toss”, “straw blow”, “distance throw”, “basket toss” or popcorn toothpick swap. Winners receive fun and tasty prizes!
Meet & Make Scone tasting & demo at an Amish home [$6pp]
Get to know the Amish where they live and work. Meet Linda Miller and watch as she shares her scone making techniques and tips. Enjoy a coffee break and scone as you learn everything you need to know to ensure perfectly baked scones time and time again. This experience includes tasting, recipe and sconces to take home.
Coffee with the Curator at the Midwest Museum of American Art [$10 pp incl]
Midwest Museum of American Art. 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 Grant Wood and Norman Rockwell. Each Fall the Midwest finest artists from 24 regional counties submit their best and finest art for a juried competition. Your group will have an opportunity to see and hear about some of these amazing Midwest artists on this “coffee walk/chat” with the expert curator of the Museum and exhibition.
Quilty Note Cards at The Quilt Shop at the Essenhaus [$5 pp incl]
Located inside a restored chicken barn, The Quilt Shop at Das Dutchman Essenhaus located on the grounds of Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, offers an activity that will make one special “quilty” note card that is blank inside. Basic quilt block components in various colors are precut and you can arrange them to create a quilt block for the front of your card. This is a beginner activity and only requires the ability to use a glue pen. A short introduction talks about the history, technique, construction, and sample of a locally sourced quilt.
Group Acupuncture Experience [$20 pp incl]
5 needles inserted per ear following the NADA protocol to simulate a mini “reset” of the central nervous system which induces a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. This protocol is often used to treat PTSD as well as support the body’s natural detoxification processes. Maximum of 10-15 people per session at a time.
Personalized Aromatherapy Make & Take Experience [$20 pp incl for 2 products made per person. Additional make-take products additional $5 per person each]
Participants will be lead in a unique experience of making their own aromatherapy blend. They will be educated on basic essential oil safety and be able to experience many essential oils not commonly found on the open market. This experience is both educational and covers a variety of health and wellness goals for the participants. This group will be lead by a Clinical Aromatherapist. Maximum of 20 people per session at a time.
Chair massage [$20 pp incl for a 15 minute session]
Chair massages increase blood flow, reduces pain and encourages relaxation. Maximum 4 hours of hands on time per session (multiple sessions can be schedule on one day).
Hands-on Fall Craft Fun! [options and pricing varies; can be conducted at a variety of locations throughout the destination during the day or evening]
Join a former teacher and craft expert, Loann Harms, as she helps your group guests create something fun, memorable and giftable too that are all perfect fall! Choose from these options:
Jar Leaf Lanterns [$8pp]
A pretty way to celebrate fall with these decoupaged lanterns. So pretty and so easy. Perfect for a fall mantle or Thanksgiving table.
Sock Pumpkins [$7.50pp]
Using old sweaters and stuffing create a darling little pumpkin with a cottage/shabby chic look.
Scarecrow wreath [$12pp]
Welcome fall with this cute scarecrow door wreath. Made with a straw hat, felt and painted face, raffia hair, decorative bow, and a bright sunflower to finish the look.
Sebastian the Snowman Make-Take Hands-On Holiday Ornament [$3 pp incl]
Join Rachel and your new friend “Sebastian” in a cheerful holiday make-take ornament program. You’ll make an adorable Snowman we call Sebastian made out of Birch wood. Cute as a button and customizable too! There will be a variety of embellishments provided to brighten and bring this little guy to life including things such as markers, buttons, bows, and ribbons so each person can get “crafty” and give THEIR Sebastian personality! During this crafting experience your group will be greeted on the coach and given a brief overview of the project. Half will begin their ornament while the other half enjoys a woodshop tour and shopping time and then they will switch, assuring ample time to complete all aspects of the experience. Participants leave with a jolly six inch snowman worthy of gifting or kept as a treasured memory of their travels.
Homespun Holiday Hands-On Experience & Dinner at Meadow Brook Farm [$45 pp incl lunch/dinner meal complete with meat, vegetable, fruit, dessert, soft drinks, coffee, apple cider, homemade donuts, hands-on felt donkey craft with Jesus Donkey origination story, live mini donkey photo op, local author and storytelling, self-guided tours of historic home, barns, farm and tractors]
Do you enjoy the sight of twinkling holiday lights on a snowy old tractor, the touch of a furry donkey nose, or the smell of warm spiced cider? These are all things that can be found at Meadow Brook Farm and Historic Home in Northern Indiana. 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 afternoon or evening experience at Meadow Brook will be filled with memorable experiences and one you won’t forget!
Soapy Gnome Concoction of Handcrafted Soap [$10 pp incl for demo, facility tour and bar of handcrafted soap for each person]
Soapy Gnome. 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! Jenny will give a tour and demonstrate how she crafts her concoctions with everyone leaving with a full size of specialty soap.
The Carriage House Christmas Card Upcycling & Meal [price varies by meal type]
Ever engaging Amish entrepreneur Elaine Jones demonstrates the simple task of gift giving, Amish style, with her Christmas Card Upcycling Project. After the holidays are over, most people simply discard their Christmas cards, but Elaine and her family will teach you how to get creative with their stylishly functional keepsake boxes, perfect for tree trims that hold little surprises when tied with colorful ribbons. You’ll leave understanding and appreciating the simple way the Amish celebrate the holiday season.
Roll your own Pretzel at Jo Jo’s Pretzels [$5 pp incl]
Hear the story behind the pretzel shape! Roll your own soft pretzel made from the King family secret pretzel dough recipe perfected by generations over the years. Some say they are the “world’s greatest soft pretzels”! In a flash, your pretzel will be hot out of the oven and will be served with your beverage of choice.