Midwest Quilt Festival Week Extravaganza
Thousands of quilters and art appreciators converge on the Grand Rapids, Michigan area every year to enjoy four days of the best in international quilt and textile artistry. Hundreds of quilts will be on display, and tens of thousands of dollars in prizes will be awarded for quilting excellence each year. In addition, AQS QuiltWeek hosts a series of workshops with some of the top talent in the quilt industry and an extensive Merchant Mall comprised of both local, national, and international vendors.
At the same time, a short 2.5-hour drive south in Amish Country of Northern Indiana, are the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail. Designated a BEST OF THE BEST by American Bus Association, this one-of-its kind experience starts annually May 30 and continues to September 15. We’ve packed 150,000 plants, with over 1 million blooms into super-sized gardens planted in the shape of quilt patterns in six welcoming communities along the 90-mile Heritage Trail and you have a quilters and gardeners dream tour. With the bonus of exciting options, events, exceptional hands-on activities, dining and shopping, the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail sets the stage for an exceptional group tour wrapped in quilting and gardening themes, packed with fun and sure to entice new clients all found in one of the nation’s largest Old Order Amish areas.
Amish Country of Northern Indiana for Quilters
Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail in Amish Country
Your local Master Gardener guide will take you down scenic backroads to each Quilt Garden sharing pattern information, insights, tips, and tricks of the gardening trade to bring these living works of art to life. You’ll hear how over 200 volunteers work over 4 months to keep this project fresh, welcoming, and beautiful for all to enjoy while dealing with fickle Mother Nature!
Flower Power Petal Pen / Pin Cushion at 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 pen 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!
Enjoy the Quilt Garden at Krider “World’s Fair” Garden
Enjoy the Quilt Garden displayed at the historic Krider Garden. 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.
Amish Quilt Trunk Show
Rebecca Haarer, a nationally known quilt historian and collector of vintage Indiana quilts, tells the history of Amish quilting. In a format she describes as her “quilt museum on the road,” Rebecca shows vintage Amish quilts and discusses how they’ve been influenced by the Amish culture including how changes in society have affected the Amish and their quilts.
Amish rug weaving demo & whoopie pie break
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 famous whoopie pies and cold lemonade as both the Miller’s welcome your group and answer questions about their personal Amish lifestyle.
The Art of Traditional Quilt Making
Elaine Jones welcomes you to her homestead, The Carriage House, for an inside talk and look at the art of traditional quilt making. No fancy machines, software or computerized programs are used in Elaine’s quilts. She’ll discuss the process and creativity in choosing patterns and colors, how she marks, cuts, and sews her quilts all the traditional way.
Hand quilting will be demonstrated, and she will explain her use of stencils to assist in her creativity. There will be numerous quilts, solid fabrics, and related quilt items available for sale by cash or check. Guests will enter their name into a drawing where one lucky winner will select one of Elaine’s designed and hand quilted wall hangings to take home as a fond memory. Following your quilt making presentation, your taste buds will delight in a fabulous meal served at the table with fresh foods, hearty meats, handmade breads, and delectable pies. You won’t go away hungry, and you’ll leave with a great appreciation into the style of traditional quilt making.
Wellfield Botanic Garden
Wellfield Botanic Gardens accepts as truth that mankind is inseparable from nature while sharing a natural and man-made environment of unique beauty that attracts, inspires, and educates. The Gardens is situated on 36 acres including 18 acres of water and includes a ½ mile paved walking trail-path to a variety of themed gardens featuring water displays, sculptures, plants, and beauty of nature.
Intro to the History of Amish Quilting
Quilt making and woodworking are two of the most recognized art forms in Amish society. Rebecca Haarer, a nationally known Amish quilt historian and collector, will display up to 10 quilts made for children and adults in the northern Indiana Amish community since 1900. She’ll mix in interesting and informative bits about what makes an Amish quilt “Amish.” You’ll admire the hand-quilting, hear how marriage quilts were made, and see examples of scrap quilts created for everyday use. As you enjoy up-close viewing of these museum-quality quilts, you’ll have a chance to ask questions about the Amish quilt culture that is woven in their community. And you’ll leave with helpful tips to care for your own family quilt heirlooms in this 30-minute interactive program.
Amish Country Backroads Quilt Shop Hop
Join a local expert quilter as your guide and travel the backroads visiting numerous locally owned, often Amish, quilting and fabric shops. The first stop is Calico Point in Wakarusa, where fabrics (a couple of thousand bolts in stock always including batiks) are displayed on swinging racks. Visit Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Middlebury, where The Quilt Shop is in an old corn crib - “full to the rafters” with Amish and locally hand-stitched quilts and wall hangings, quality fabrics, books, patterns, kits, notions, and a huge selection of stencils. Welcome to a Quilter's "little bit of Heaven” found at Lolly’s Fabrics, in Shipshewana where you will find over 13,000 bolts of fabric, finished quilts, wall hangings, and an assortment of fabric collections. Round out your shop hop at Yoder’s Department Store, Shipshewana, where there is something for everyone inside the 50,000 square foot building including over 15,000 bolts of fabrics, notions, and patterns plus clothing, shoes, and an Amish hardware store.
Quilty Note Cards at The Quilt Shop at the Essenhaus
Located inside a restored chicken barn, The Quilt Shop 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 (special green themed patterns will be featured for this tour in March) 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. Allow 30 minutes for one completed card per person.
The Nappanee Center and Historical Collection PLUS paint an Amish Quilt Barn Art piece
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.
The Garden Cafe at Linton's Enchanted Gardens Group Box Lunch & Shopping at the Garden Center
Welcome to Linton’s Enchanted Gardens, home of a large indoor gift emporium and expansive outdoor garden center where enchantment comes to life down every path. A petting zoo and animal center, train rides and “be young again games” complete the experience. The Garden Cafe features over one hundred handcrafted hot and cold drink choices plus fresh baked cookies. Groups enjoy a gourmet box lunch including your choice of sandwich served with veggie chips and Linton’s own mango lime salsa, a fresh baked cookie and soft drink.
Strings and Thread, played by hand and made by hand
Experience the beauty of a live harp concert with a backdrop of hand-stitched quilts. Local harpist Anna Hagen weaves together a variety of musical genres from favorite hymns to rock ‘n’ roll while showcasing family quilts passed down to her by her mother and grandmother. Anna’s stories connect quilt patterns with musical performance, showing how these arts are pieced into the fabric of our lives. Your group will be entranced by the combination of elegant music created by the world’s oldest string instrument as they learn the intricacies of its workings while they laugh at Anna’s home-spun anecdotes.
Create a Wooden Quilt Block
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.
Visit the Ritchie Home Dahlia Garden
Meet Rusty & Anita Ritchie at their home dahlia garden. Rusty and Anita are leaders in the Elkhart Dahlia Society and are instrumental in organizing the annual Elkhart Dahlia Show each September. Featuring a half-acre garden of most of the top 100 varieties of dahlias on the market plus up to a total of 250 varieties in general. Take time to walk and explore including inside the cloth enclosure that holds up to 600 plants where they grow dahlias for show, not for bouquets. Anita and Rusty will be prepared to handle orders for tubers or plants. Plenty of parking for a bus.
Emma Schrock Quilt Art Exhibit at the Nappanee Center
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!
Experience Grand Rapids, Michigan for Quilters
American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek Grand Raids
More than 450 quilts will be on display, in addition, a series of workshops with some of the top talent in the quilt industry and an extensive Merchant Mart comprised of both local and national vendors will be the highlight. Special exhibits and evening events by world-renowned celebrities presenting their unique spin on fabric, quilting, and life round out the experience. Admission to AQS QuiltWeek includes access to all special exhibits and the Merchant Mall with hundreds of quilting items for sale. Hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Michigan's second most popular tourist attraction ... the world’s best sculpture park … number 45 on the world’s most visited art museums... one of the Top 30 Must-See Museums on the planet. These are just some of the accolades earned by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park since it opened in 1995. No trip to Grand Rapids is complete without a visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens!
Grand Rapids Downtown Market
Home to 20+ diverse restaurants and artisan food vendors, all under one spacious roof. After dining, shop the Market for food staples and gifts then visit the rooftop greenhouses.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House
A meticulous restoration with original furnishings and faithfully executed reproductions, the Meyer May House provides the rare opportunity to experience a Prairie house exactly as Frank Lloyd Wright intended.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
A place of never-ending inspiration and discovery with a focus on science, history, and culture. With fascinating exhibits on three floors, the museum offers a unique and entertaining experience for everyone. A convenient drop off location for motorcoaches is available at the main entrance, under cover from the weather, and an elevator inside ensures access for everyone. The Museum Café overlooks the Grand River and the city center and offers homemade soups, snacks, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and a daily special. Don’t forget to make time for a stop at the Curiosity Shop!
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Experience America’s most entertaining presidential museum, a multimedia tribute to the life and times of the city’s most famous son. The exhibit teaches democratic citizenship and allows for quiet reflection. In addition to the permanent exhibits, changing temporary exhibits draw artifacts from museums all over the country.
For additional information please contact:
Amish Country of Northern Indiana
800.262.8161 or office 574.262.8161
Michelle Thompson, Registration Coordinator
270.898.7903 ext 132
Experience Grand Rapids
Britny Avery, CTA
616.233.3574 or 877.847.4847 ext. 3574