Escape to the Simple Life at Indianas Amish Acres | Reader's Digest

Escape to the Simple Life at Indiana’s Amish Acres

from Off the Beaten Path | 318

1600 W. Market St., Nappanee, Indiana

In 1874 Christian Stahly, the first Amish settler in this area, built a farmhouse here for his son. Today the 80-acre restored farm provides not only a fascinating look at the old-fashioned ways of the German-speaking Plains people, but it also gives an overview of 19th-century American farm life.

Amish Acres, Indiana, © 2009 John Gilkey courtesy Clark-Floyd County CVBAmish quilts air out on a split-rail fence at this restored farm. The Amish community in northern Indiana is the third largest in the United States.

The main house, its smokehouse and other outbuildings, and the nearby Grossdaadi Haus (Grandfather House) are visited in a group tour, which originates near the farm’s main gate. The 12-room white-frame farmhouse, which was greatly expanded in the 1890s, is outfitted with period furniture, cookware, woodstoves, and equipment, such as a sausage stuffer, spinning wheel, and rocker-action churn. After the tour, visitors can take a hayride and are free to roam the grounds and look at the other buildings, many of which were brought here from town and from other farms.

The sweet smell of hay fills a large barn containing threshing equipment and a hay wagon. Stables and milking stalls adjoin a barnyard and pasture. A horse-drawn school bus and an Amish church-bench wagon are among the old carriages in the wagon shed.

Other buildings include a smithy, an icehouse, a sawmill, a windmill, and a small 1870s town house. The farm has a sorghum press, a mint still where aromatic oil was distilled from mint plants, and a shop where brooms are still made from broom corn. The kitchen garden includes herbs and flowers, while mulberries and other old-time favorite fruit trees grow in the orchard. The Acres are least crowded in spring and fall.

Open daily May– Nov.; Fri.– Sun. in Mar.; Tues.– Sat. in Apr.; Wed.– Sun. in Dec. Admission charged.

www.amishacres.com
(800) 800-4942; (574) 773-4188