Quilt Gardens Along The Heritage Trail

4 Day/3 Night Sample Itinerary

Designated a TOP 100 EVENT and a BEST OF THE BEST by American Bus Association, this one-of-its kind experience in Elkhart County, Indiana starts annually May 30 and continues to September 15.

We’ve packed 150,000 plants, with over 1 million blooms into 16 giant gardens planted in the shape of quilt patterns and 24 murals in six welcoming communities along the 90-mile Heritage Trail. It’s a quilters and gardeners dream tour!

With the added 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 quilt 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. 

Quilt Gardens

EXPERIENCE THIS TAPESTRY OF COLOR BLANKETING NORTHERN INDIANA AMISH COUNTRY!

QUILT GARDENS 4 DAY / 3 NIGHT SAMPLE ITINERARY

DAY ONE

11:00 a.m. - Noon Shopping at Linton’s Enchanted Gardens [no admission fee]
Visit the Quilt Garden at Linton’s Enchanted Gardens at your leisure. Then explore this huge garden center with its many themed gardens including the Japanese Tea House, Southwestern garden with Mine Shaft, Victorian House, Dutch Gardens and Grist Mill. Shop in the 25,000 square foot gift emporium featuring Vera Bradley, kitchen items, home décor, ladies apparel, jewelry and garden supplies.

12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Garden Party Picnic Box Lunch and Krider Garden Tour [$15 pp incl for box lunch PLUS $5 pp incl for guided garden tour]
Enjoy the Quilt Garden displayed at 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.

2:15 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Amish rug weaving demo & Whoopie Pie 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 famous Whoopie Pies and cold lemonade as both the Miller’s welcome your group and answer questions about their personal Amish lifestyle.

3:15 p.m. Check-in at your host hotel
3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Quilty Note Cards at The Quilt Shop at the Essenhaus [$5 pp incl for one completed card WITH OPTIONAL family-style meal following inside the restaurant]
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.

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Dinner at Das Dutchman Essenhaus [$29.20 pp incl, note this rate is for 2022, 2023 prices haven’t been set yet]
Das Dutchman Essenhaus offers a unique combination of dining, lodging and shopping opportunities. The attractive Amish style restaurant seats 1,100. Manicured grounds invite a leisurely stroll or perhaps a carriage ride through a quaint covered bridge. Enjoy the Quilt Garden & Mural during your visit. Enjoy shopping in The Village Shops, coupons provided for gift items, ladies apparel, home décor, baked goods, books,
cooking supplies, games and much more.

Return to your host hotel following your evening

DAY TWO

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel
8:00 a.m. Meet your guide in your hotel lobby
8:15 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Quilt Gardens Tour Step-on Guide for the day [$230 per guide (tip optional)]

Join your local expert gardener and get the inside scoop on a guided tour of the official Quilt Gardens and Murals along the Heritage Trail. Your day will include with the guide to determine final routing/timing with lunch on your own at a location determined by the guide:

- Visit the Quilt Garden in Wakarusa and shop at the Wakarusa Dime Store [no admission fee]
Shop around at the Wakarusa Dime Store for old-fashioned candy treats, super-sized Jumbo Jellybeans and more. Explore additional downtown shops as time allows. Be sure to see the giant jumbo jelly bean quilt.
- Enjoy the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail with route and stops determined by the guide
- 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.
- 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 as a way 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!

Visit the Ritchie Home Dahlia Garden [no admission fee]
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.

4:00 p.m. Say good-bye to your guide

 

Amish Haystack
 

5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Amish Quilt Trunk Show and Amish Wedding Feast [$8.50 pp incl for Trunk Show PLUS $28 pp incl for Wedding Feast]
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.

For dinner enjoy the Amish Wedding Feast. It’s a once of a lifetime experience feasting on a traditional Amish wedding dinner in the charming setting of The Carriage House. Elaine and her son Seth explain what an Amish wedding day is like complete with this special meal that would be traditionally served by the Amish to their wedding guests. Groups see an Amish bride’s wedding dress up close, and hear the customary German Wedding song sung at an Amish wedding. Served with mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles, homemade bread with butter, apple butter plus Amish peanut butter spread, plus wedding cake dessert and homeade ice cream with homeade caramel sauce.

 - Choose TWO meats from: Baked Chicken, Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, Seasoned Pork Roast, Baked Chicken Breasts Parmesan, Ham, Ham Loaf, Meatloaf, Poppy Seed Chicken Breasts, Roast Beef, or Salisbury Steak
 - Choose ONE salad from: Broccoli & Cauliflower, coleslaw or tossed salad
 - Choose TWO butterd vegetables from: Corn, Mixed Vegetables, Green Beans, Peas & Carrots
 - Choose THREE pies from: Angel Cream Pie, Apple, Banana Cream, Blueberry, Bob Andy, Cherry, Black Raspberry, Chocolate Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream, Butterscotch Cream, Coconut Cream, Custard, Pumpkin, Fruit in Season, Lemon Cream, Peanut Butter Cream, Peach, Pecan, Raisin Cream, Red Raspberry Cream

Return to the hotel following your evening

DAY THREE

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at your host hotel

8:15 a.m. Meet your guide in your hotel lobby [$195 for guide (tip optional)]
8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Amish Country Quilt Shop Hop & Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail continued [$230 total for guide (tip optional)

PLUS stops and options
Participants “hop” to numerous fabulous quilt fabric shops with a local expert guide to feed your “stash” of the latest and most beautiful of quilting fabrics, supplies, kits, notions and gadgets. Each quilt shop is unique from the other and many are owned by the Amish located in the scenic countryside. Add a generous dash of fun while touring with optional pie making demos and cooking classes plus continue to visit more posies on the Quilt Garden along the Heritage Trail. Your day will include with the guide to determine final routing/timing with lunch on their own at a location determined by the guide OR optional included lunch:

 - Wellfield Botanic Gardens [$6.50 pp incl for self-guided tour, $10 per guide for guided tour, optional golf cart rental of $10 each for ease of transportation if desired (2 carts max)]
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 are situated on 36 acres including 18 acres of water and includes a half-mile paved walking trail-path to a variety of themed gardens featuring water displays, sculptures, plants and beauty of nature.
 - Visit the Quilt Gardens & Quilt Murals along the Heritage Trail [no admission fee]
 - Visit Lolly’s Fabrics, Yoder’s Department Store, Calico Point and more fabric stores as time and distance allows [no admission fee, optional pre-purchase fat quarters or kits available]


2:00 p.m. Say goodbye to your guide
Depart for home


EXPERIENTIAL ADD- OPTIONS:
Intro to the History of Amish Quilting [$200 total per group]
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.

The Art of Traditional Quilt Making [$14 pp incl PLUS meal cost at The Carriage House]
Elaine Jones welcomes you to her homestead 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.
 

SPECIAL QUILTING EVENTS IN THE REGION:
June 8-10, 2023 AND June 6-8, 2024
Elkhart County Quilt & Fiber Expo

Featuring quilt & fiber seminars, demonstrations, presentations & workshops including a vendor mal and quilt show. Enjoy the “Taste of Elkhart County” area offering locally made gourmet popped corn, chocolates, jams, jellies, maple syrup and Amish noodles. Food trucks on site for snacking or dining.

September 22-23, 2023 AND September 20-21, 2024
Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale

Since 1968, the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale has been raising funds to support the projects and programs of Mennonite Central Committee, a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches. MCC shares God’s love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. The sale is one of 42 relief sale events in the U.S. and Canada that together raise over five million dollars annually. The sale is made possible with the  help of hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time and resources.

Attendees can purchase a variety donated items in the various auctions, craft building, as well all of the many food booths. Highlights include the Amish/Mennonite Bake Sales, hundreds of hand stitched quilts on display for viewing and photos, faith based music, festive atmosphere and sense of local community.

September 13-17, 2023 AND August 21-24, 2024
Midwest Quilt Festival Week Extravaganza

Thousands of quilters and art appreciators converge on the Grand Rapids, Michigan area (a short 2.5 hour drive north of Amish Country and the Quilt Gardens) every year to enjoy four days of the best in international quilt and textile artistry during the American Quilter Society (AQS) Quilt Show. 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. Combine this amazing event with the Quilt Gardens for a regional itinerary in the Midwest that is ideal for quilters and gardeners alike!

 

Prices subject to change without advance notice