Join us for this fabulous journey through the Quilt Gardens of Indiana and through Amish Country. The Quilt Gardens are 17 different locations where gardens have been planted in the style of a quilt. Along with this, many of the locations also have large quilt murals on the buildings outside. But the Quilt Gardens Tour is only a part of our adventure. We will also experience the Amish life visiting historical homes, talking to the people there, and tasting their incredible cooking. We will have demonstrations of cooking and gardening from an Amish perspective as well a visiting some well known Amish quilt shops. In addition we will have quilting classes and lectures from quilt artists – even an Amish Quilting Bee! One of the highlights of our trip will be spending a day at the Amish Acres Art and Craft Festival held annually in Nappanee. For more information on the Quilt Gardens visit http://www.amishcountry.org/QuiltGardensTour2010
Tuesday, August 2 (Dinner included)
We leave Chicago and head out to Elkhart, Indiana, where we'll have dinner at the Texas Roadhouse.Legendary for their food and service, we'll sit down in this family-friendly restraunt and enjoy their hearty hand cut steaks, fall off the bone ribs, made from scratch sides and dressings, and hot, freshly baked bread. Alcoholic beverages are available to purchase on an individual basis.
We will then go to our host hotel, check in and get a good night’s rest to be fresh for our next exciting day!
Wednesday, August 3
After breakfast at our hotel we will head out to the Amish Country Visitors Center where we will begin with a brief overview about the unique, one-of-a-kind Quilt Gardens Tour. We will then explore the beautiful, handmade works of art by fiber artists Diana Bennett and Lina Zerkle.
We will head toward Shipshewana, known as “the trading place of America”. Where we'll visit the Davis Merchantile, featuring over 24 shops located on 4 floors, easily accessible by elevator, Lolly's Fabrics, and you can even stop in for a hand rolled Jo Jo's Pretzel ... a Shipshewana favorite. You will be able to grab lunch on your own anytime during our visit.
We'll enjoy an Amish Quilt Trunk show inside the Davis Mercantile Theatre, where we'll meet Rebecca haarer, known across the nation as a collector of vintage Indiana quilts, who will discuss the hsitory of Amish quilting in a format she describes as a "quilt museum on the road". She will show vintage Amish quilts and discuss how they have been influenced by the Amish culture. Rebecca also points out how changes in society have affected the Amish and their quilts.
After lunch we're headed to Yoder’s Department Store for a bit of shopping. Since 1968, Yoder's Shopping Center has built a second-to-none reputation among shoppers who frequent Shipshewana. On any given day, Yoder’s Department Store carries Amish Country’s widest assortment of quality fabric, clothing, linens, hats…you name it! Yoder’s Hardware Store - just across the hall - stocks wonderful surprises like enamelware, cast iron cookware, wood-fired stoves and silk flowers. (Yes…they carry hardware, too…)
Once we leave Yoders, we're off to visit the Quilt Garden at The Farmstead Inn. Followed by a visit to the Menno-Hof Amish/Mennonite Interpretive Center Quilt Garden and then we're on our way to Topeka for an evening of Amish-style fun.
Elaine Jones at The Carriage House has invited us to join her and her family and friends in an Amish quilting bee. The ladies will first serve us a delicious home-cooked, 2 meat, traditional Amish meal, also known as a Haystack supper. Then we will pull up a chair around 4 original quilt frames filled with hand pieced
They’ll demonstrate how to piece, mark and get the quilt ready to sew. Then we’ll sit beside them and participate, watch, learn or just chat as these Amish ladies lead the novice and experienced quilter in an old fashioned quilting bee.
Thursday, August 4
Our day will begin with a visit to the Wellfield Botanic Gardens, and to the Quilt Garden at Ruthmere. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh, what a relief it is" is the famous Alka Seltzer advertisement. Mr. Albert Beardsley helped to found the company that created Alka Seltzer in Elkhart, Indiana. His elaborate 1910 beaux-arts style house, Ruthmere, named after his deceased daughter Ruth, is our destination. We'll see a fine art collection including Tiffany leaded glass, Rodin sculptures, velvet window coverings, hand painted walls, and walnut woodwork.
We'll enjoy the Quilt Garden at Elkhart City Central Park, then depart for Wakarusa, were we'll have lunch at Miller's Senior Living Community Center. Then we head to the Quilt Garden in Wakarusa and spend some time shopping at the Wakarusa Dime Store, Jeanette's FAbric store, and the beautiful downtown area.
We won't want to miss shopping at Calico Point, located in Wakarusa. This locally owned Amish fabric shop features 3,000 bolts of fabrics, and is found in the heart of the countryside.
That evening we we've got a whole list of gardens! We'll visit the Quilt Garden at Dutch country Market, Greencroft, and Krider Gardens, drive by the quilt murals in downtown Middlebury, and finally, visit the Quilt Garden & Mural at the Essenhaus, were we'll enjoy an evening shopping and dining on our own
Later, Gail, at the Essenhous, will walk us through basic quilt patterns to incorporate into our own back yard garden, talk about color placement, make flower suggestions, and provide us with handouts to take home.
Friday, August 5
After breakfast, we hop the bus, and head to Goshen to visit the quilt murals and garden, ending at The Old Bag Factory, a quilt shop featuring original and unique contemporary designs that provide for breathtaking quilts. You'll meet owners, Dave and Shirley shenk, who will explain their philosophy, technique, and showcase their unique copyrighted original designs that showcase quilting as an art form. Then, we'll shop in the artisan complex of The Old Bag Factory complete with pottery, furniture, candles, unique gifts and handiworks.
We'll feast at a Garden Tea Party with a demonstration on making bath salts, then we'll tour and shop at the Prairie Trail Herb Farm, where we will listen to a discussion on the most popular herbs as well as a variety of uses for them along with basic information for growing and harvesting our own herbs when we get home. Complete with a “make-it-take-it” Herbal Bath Salt demonstration.
We will visit The Calendar Garden nestled within the River Preserve County Park in Benton, IN. The centerpiece of this captivating garden-- a pond filled with lush pink water lilies. And just like the seasons, the views in the garden are ever-changing. Time spent in the Calendar Garden will be time well spent, time for all seasons and time long remembered. It is truly enchanting.
Had enough flowers? We are not finished yet! Mac Boyer loves Dahlias and considers them “the most diverse flower in God’s kingdom”. Each summer from late July through September we can witness that diversity in all its glory at the gorgeous American Dahlia Society Test Garden at Bonneyville Mill County Park. For the past 22 years Mac has managed the garden; each year testing and showcasing about 140 new and different hybrids all grown from seed. We’ll go home ready to start planting and dreaming of Dahlias as big as dinner plates!
For dinner and entertainment, we will enjoy family-style dinner at the Blue Gate restaurant. Resembling a rambling, white farmhouse, this 600-seat restaurant at Riegsecker Marketplace in Shipshewana serves up a feast of home-style Amish and Mennonite favorites in a wonderful setting. We will dine family-style on Blue Gate’s much loved Monterey Chicken served with baked potato, green beans, freshed baked bread, tossed salad, and pie. Followed by an evening concert where we'll enjoy some beautiful gospel music.
Saturday, August 6
Stepping into Benedict’s Nursery is a bit like stepping into a scene from a fairytale – tiny,remarkable plants that make ordinary plants seem huge in comparison fill garden racks and specially made containers. That’s because Esther Benedict specializes in alpines and other unusual species that are seldom seen in a garden shop. It may seem curious that an Old Order Mennonite woman living in Nappanee, IN, is knowledgeable about species that manage to survive in high altitude or harsh desert terrain, but it’s her hobby. Esther can tell us all about these amazing, slow growing little plants. She also makes and sells the rugged, rock-like hyper-tufa pots ideally suited for these hearty miniatures and gives classes on making our own.
Then, here we come Amish Acres, Nappanee. The 80-acre restored Amish farmstead, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the focal point of Amish Acres. This heritage resort echoes the simple life of Amish society through historic interpretation, dining, lodging, theatre, countryside tours, baked goods and 10 different shops. A sixteen foot covered farm wagon with padded seats is pulled by an International Harvester H tractor and gives us an overview of the historic farm as it travels down the gravel lanes, around the pond, past the historic buildings, and through the woods.
The rest of the day we will enjoy the special ABA Top 100 Event “Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival”. Over 350 artists and crafters from around the country surround Amish Acres pond to ply their trade and sell their wares. Live entertainment on three stages throughout the day includes country bands, magicians and square dancing. Festival foods are a very important part of the four day event featuring everything from apple pie to zucchini bread. This festival is one of the Top 200 festivals in the nation and the 8th Top Traditional Crafts Show by Sunshine Artist Magazine. There will be continuous entertainment on 3 stages, roving clowns, medicine show & musicians, square & line dancing, paddle boats, cloggers, festival foods from roast pork to preaching pies, tasty ice cream to sassafras iced tea. Old time music fills the main stage while kids ride the swan paddle boats on the pond. Everyone is on their own for lunch. In the afternoon, we'll attend a matinee of "Plain & Fancy, " in the Broadway Musical Theatre, and end the day with Threasher's dinner.
Sunday, August 7 (Breakfast)
Our trip is almost over! We will check out of our host hotel and head toward Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Please make travel arrangements for 1PM or later.
Pricing & Registration
Early Registration Bonus!
Register, and pay your $200 deposit
by February 1, 2011, and receive a
$50 Gift Card
from Stitchin' Heaven Quilt Shop!
Per Person Rate:
$995 per person double occupancy
Add $350 for single accommodation
Terms & Conditions
A $200 Registration Fee is due now.
There is a $50 Cancellation Fee.
Questions: You can reach Clay at (903) 312-8591