Amish Hand Crafted
Amish Country. Two words that conjure up images of a community preserved in a simpler time. However, the people of Elkhart County’s Amish community are far from simple. They are a complex, fascinating part of the area’s tapestry. Yes, when you roll into town you’ll likely pass a horse-drawn buggy or two, and they shun most modern conveniences. But it’s the subtle differences that will have you yearning to connect.
And there’s no better way to connect than stopping by their shops, sampling their wares, and learning about the community from the makers. Maybe you’re looking for a piece of handcrafted furniture you can pass onto the next generation, or an Amish country quilt to snuggle under when winter hits. Here, simplicity meets utility with a level of craftsmanship you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Start your Amish shopping in Elkhart County at the Village Shops of Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury. You will find quaint treasures waiting to be discovered, many made by the local Amish community. While you’re there, be sure to stop by the Quilt Shop at Essenhaus, where you’ll find Amish quality as you’ve always imagined it. The stitching, colors, and patterns are ready to be admired. They’re so nice, you’ll hesitate to use them when you get them home, but one good cold snap will have you appreciating how perfect they are for warming up in winter!
For Amish-crafted, hardwood furniture you have to see to believe, check out Legacy Home Furniture at Middlebury Mercantile. If you’re looking for mass-produced, look elsewhere. The craftsmanship here makes each piece a one-of-a-kind heirloom.
The shops at Coppes Commons in Nappanee offer a bazarre of the best of Elkhart County craftsmanship. Inside you’ll find many Amish and Mennonite owned stores, and the owners will happily take time to tell you the story behind their homemade goods and wares, including the effort that goes into each individual piece of merchandise. Look out for items like fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, hand-woven rugs, and more.
Yoder’s Red Barn Shoppes in Shipshewana is part of the much larger complex of Yoder’s stores. Here at the Red Barn Shoppes, you will find some of the finest handcrafted Amish furniture, home accents, and homemade goods in nine stores under one roof.
Be sure to also keep an eye out for stores known as Shingle Shops. These are small, independent stores on Amish farmsteads, and get their name from the “shingle” or sign hanging outside.
Here are a few pro tips to successful shopping in Amish Country:
- Most, if not all, Amish businesses are closed on Sunday. However, secular shops that sell Amish goods will likely be open.
- Bring cash. Amish businesses likely don’t accept credit or other electronic-based payments.
- Take very few pictures. Religious beliefs prevent them from posing for pictures. They may allow you to take pictures of their products, but always ask first.