Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Independence Day

For this Independence Day Weekend, the family and I went down to northern Indiana to visit Amish country and allow Tash to do some serious quilt supply shopping and for the rest of us to have a short break.

We visited Shipshewana, where we stayed for a couple nights at a hotel with a water park, which the kids loved, We also did some day trips to Nappanee and Elkhart. Northern Indiana is a very beautiful pastoral area - lots of farms, and horses galore and the locals are friendly.

Since Leah at 4 seems to have every young girls love of horses, we couldn't go more than 5 feet down the road before a joyous cry of "horse!" arose from the back seat.

This meant that we had to do a buggy ride in Shipshewana, which was a lot of fun.

An Amish man ran the buggy and told us quite a bit about Amish culture during the ride. He amazed both kids with the news that Amish children as young as grade 2 could take their own horse and buggy to school if they were responsible enough to do so.

Lots of horses and buggies on the roads and of course, Amish-style food is out of this world good - the broasted chicken is awesome, as are the many amazing ways they can prepare egg noodles. Not to mention the desserts.

Then on July 3 we went to Elkhart for a three hour tour on the River Queen, a 150 passenger stern-wheeler, on the St. Joseph River.

The River Queen was leading the annual flotilla of 4th of July boats, many of them extensively decorated:

But, this idyllic riparian cruise was not to last.

While leading the boats, there was a sudden clang and the River Queen came to a sudden and complete halt.

So sudden was the stop and so loud was the noise, I was going to ask if there was an extra charge for the unplanned wreck dive.

The boat had struck an underwater stump on its keel and was well and truly stuck.

We were stuck on a stump for about an hour with two police boats and a jet boat with volunteer river patrol members all with ropes attached trying to tow the vessel off the stump:

They finally succeeded in their efforts and we continued on our way.

The grounding of the River Queen was such a rare event that it made the local news.

So today we woke in Shipshewana and went to both the Shipshewana flea market and Yoders. The flea market was huge, with a tpical vareity of flea market wares from used books to beautiful woodworking to chinese junk trinkets and everything else you could think of at a flea market.

Yoders Meats and Cheeses however was the highlight of the day and the place to go for incredible food to take home.

We bought excellent Amish made cheeses, especially after the kids loved the samples, and a 1.5 lb grass-fed sirloin steak. Then we drove home.

We BBQ'd the steak tonight and it was big enough for the four of us with an unbeatable taste - only a slight bit a kosher salt and a couple grinds of pepper were used and it was fantastic.

A great vacation.

Now the kids are asleep, I'm going to walk outside and see the fireworks.

Happy Independence Day!


Scott said...

Next time you go down you'll have to go and stuff yourself silly at Das Essenhaus in Middleton. Great heaping platters of fried chicken and all the trimmings.

I get food coma just thinking about it.

Aaron said...

Das Essenhaus is good, but the Blue Gate restaurant in Shipshawana and the Amish Acres in MNappanee give Das Essenhaus a run for its money.

Both had the broasted chicked to maim if not kill for.

Blue gate had a egg noodle dish cooked in a chicken broth base that was great, but Amish Acres had an egg noodle dish with shredded beef brisket that was pure heaven on a plate.

The pies at both locations were, of course, to Amish standard, which is to say out of this world good.