Explore Indiana Amish Country: A Perfect Weekend Itinerary

posted in: City Guides, Indiana, Midwest | 14

UPDATED 2020. Spend a weekend walking through beautiful gardens, biking the countryside, perusing artisan shops, visiting a few breweries, and getting acquainted with Indiana Amish Country.

What a surreal experience and only two hours away from Chicago!

Wellfield Botanic Gardens, a must-stop in Indiana Amish Country.
Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Indiana’s Amish Country

Amish Country Indiana Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts

We spent the night truck camping, which always seems to provide its own type of entertainment but if you are interested in different lodging see below:

READ NEXT: THE BEST WEEKEND TRIPS IN INDIANA

Indiana Amish Country Itinerary

I read about driving the Indiana Amish Country Heritage Trail, a 90 mile loop through multiple towns with quilt designed mural and flower displays. Maybe that doesn’t sound quite that interesting right out the gate, but when I saw the lovely pictures and read about some of the other things to do, I was hooked.

Next step I had to get the husband on board and in comes the biking and breweries! This weekend we decided to go tramping in Amish Country and we were both pleasantly surprised at what Northern Indiana had to offer.

Best Time of Year to Drive the Amish Country Heritage Trail

Although you can plan your trip any time of year, I suggest planning it around the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail. It typically runs from late May to mid-September.

Local communities join forces to make this a one-of-a-kind event with over a million blooming flowers. You’ll see 17 quilt-inspired gardens and 21 hand-painted quilt-themed murals.

2020 Quilt Gardens Dates: May 30th – September 15th

TIP: Please make a special note that some of the area attractions and restaurants are closed on Sundays so plan accordingly.

Bonneville Mill
Quilt Mural at Bonneville Mill on Indiana’s Heritage Trail

Friday on the Indiana Amish Country Heritage Trail

Indiana Amish Country
Elkhart, Indiana Visitor Center

Start your weekend in Elkhart, where you can pick up maps of the Heritage Trail and Pumpkinvine Bicycle Trail at the Visitor Center. They also have a free audio driving tour available on CD or you can download it to your phone.

Elkhart Indiana

Next head over to downtown Elkhart, a small town situated on the St. Joseph River. Stroll down Main Street where the sides of the brick buildings are adorned with quirky murals and a few stores and restaurants dot the street.

Downtown Elkhart, Indiana
Main Street in Downtown Elkhart
Mural in Downtown Elkhart, Indiana
Map Mural in Elkhart, Indiana on the Heritage Trail

Pizza and Craft Beer for Dinner

Stop at Iechyd Da Brewery for dinner. Supposedly pronounced Yah-key-Dah, not sure how that works! It means good health in Welsh.

The pizza is good and they have a large selection of beer: the hubby tried the Revolution IPA and American Black Ale (our bartenders favorite) and I had the Tatarosa Razz Berliner Weisse and Summer Wheatley Hoppy Wheat.

They offer half pints which is a great option so you can sample a few different beers on your visit.

TIP: No kids allowed. 21+ only. If you are looking for a family-friendly restaurant, check out Per Bacco Ristorante Italiano or Heinnies.

Pizza at Iechyd Da Brewery
Pizza at Iechyd Da Brewery

Saturday on the Indiana Amish Country Heritage Trail

Get an early start this morning because you have a long day ahead of you!

Wellfield Botanic Gardens

Start with Wellfield Botanic Gardens, your first official stop on the Heritage Trail, a unique spot for a garden as it sits on the site of the wells that supply the city with its drinking water. What a great idea to turn a functional space into a beautiful and peaceful walking area!

They definitely have more work to do on the expansion of the garden, but it was a delightful stroll with tons of photo ops. The garden can also be the start of a set-your-own-pace walk or ride on the RiverWalk Culture Trail, a trail that brings you to all the highlights of Elkhart.

Admission: Small fee with discounted rates for children under 12 and free for children under 3.

Indiana Tourist Attraction: Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart.
Stretch your legs at Wellfield Botanic Gardens on the Heritage Trail.
Indiana Amish Country
Wellfield Botanic Statue
Indiana Amish Country
Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Indiana’s Amish Country

Ruthmere Mansion

From Wellfield, head over to Ruthmere Mansion to see your first quilt garden. If you would like to tour the interior, check times on their website. Unfortunately, the mansion was closed or we would have loved to take one.

indiana amish country
Ruthmere Mansion Quilt Garden on Indiana’s Heritage Trail
Ruthmere Mansion in Indiana Amish Country.
Ruthmere Stop on the Heritage Trail, a 1910 Beaux Arts Mansion

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens

I’m not sure how to describe the next quilt garden stop, Linton’s Enchanted Gardens. It is a home and garden center, but with a strange and genius twist.

Entering the store you are thrown into sensory overload with gifts galore. They have jewelry, wall art, clothes, home decor, and many other items. There’s a small cafe next to a trickling waterfall that serves breakfast, lunch, and an assortment of drinks.

The Enchanted Garden area is enchanted alright and a genius way to get additional income from random attractions; it has a small petting zoo, gemstone mining, a real tree house (top of a 200-year-old hollowed out tree), paddle boat, and train rides all among the huge selection of plants, flowers, and trees.

It’s definitely worth the stop as we have never seen anything quite like it.

Linton's Enchanted Gardens Quilt Garden

Linton's Enchanted Gardens- Shop

Linton's Enchanted Gardens - House

Tree House at Linton's Enchanted Gardens

Bonneyville Mill County Park

Bonneyville Mill County Park is one of my favorite stops on the Heritage Trail. We had never been inside an 1880’s working flour mill before and we had our first Amish sighting there as well! I hate to say it like that, as if they are an attraction, but their whole lifestyle piques my curiosity.

Driving the Heritage Trail in Indiana's Amish Country
Bonneville Mill

Bonneville Mill

Bonneyville Mill County ParkBuggy Parking in Amish Country

Sunday on the Indiana Amish Country Heritage Trail

Middlebury Amish Indiana

Plan to bike or walk a portion of the Pumpkinvine Bike Trail, Middlebury to Shipshewana is about 10 miles round trip. The paved trail is great!

Some sections were lined with wildflowers and as we passed through the Amish countryside, we saw many working farms and families using the same path as us to bike to town.

If you need to rent bikes, check out Pumpkinvine Cyclery here. Reservations are not required but a good idea.

Pumpkinvine Bike Trail

Amish Farm

Amish Countryside

Pumpkinvine Bike Trail

We parked at Krider Gardens, the grounds of which were originally designed for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. It’s a small garden area but filled with flowers, a fountain, windmill, and sculptures.

Krider Garden

Krider GardenKrider Garden

Afterwards, we stopped at Rise ‘N Roll, an Amish bakery, for some much-needed sugar. The cinnamon roll was good but the cinnamon caramel donuts and the apple fritters stole the show. SO GOOD!

Don’t forget to pick up a free 8 oz coffee with your snacks. They had many samples so even if you’re not in the mood for a donut, stop by and try all the other goodies.

Rise 'N Roll Bakery

Cinnamon Roll at Rise 'N Roll Bakery

Shipshewana Amish Indiana – Our Favorite!

Shipshewana was our favorite town we visited in Amish Country. It is quaint and charming with a theater, artisan shops, and restaurants. We stopped in the Davis Mercantile, a four floor shopping complex, for a coffee break, then wandered through the shops.

Shipshewana

Shipshewana in Amish Country
Shipshewana

While driving on the way from Shipshewana to Goshen, we encountered a group of Amish people on bikes to the left of us and two horse buggies to the right. There’s something you don’t see every day!

RELATED: WHY YOU NEED TO SEE THESE 5 AMISH TOWNS IN PA

Amish Buggy

Goshen

Goshen was another delightful, small town. The Elkhart County Courthouse, a stately brick building with a large clock tower, sits at the heart of town. We didn’t eat there, but heard Olympia Candy Kitchen was a great place to stop for lunch or ice cream. The Old Bag Factory, built in 1896, is another great stop for specialty shops.

The Old Bag Factory in Goshen

Unique Finds

Wakarusa and Nappanee Amish Indiana – Final Towns

We didn’t spend much time in the last two towns on the Heritage Trail, but we did find our favorite quilt garden at the Nappanee Center. It is a recreated Amish garden with stepping stones, a water pump, and bench. Make sure to stop by the Wakarusa Dime Store, it’s every child’s fantasy with countless candy options.

Nappanee Center Garden - Amish Country

Detour If You Are Coming from the Chicago Area

Notre Dame Campus and 3 Floyds Brewery Stop

We ended the weekend with a bike ride through Notre Dame’s beautiful campus in South Bend. Then for dinner we headed over to 3 Floyds Brewery. The food and beer were amazing!

Notre Dame Campus

Notre Dame

3 Floyds Brewery

We had a wonderful weekend tramping in Northern Indiana’s Amish Country! We covered a lot of ground in two days, but we could have easily made it a full three day trip.

Want to read more about our adventures, sign up below!

Have you been to Indiana’s Amish Country? Did we miss anything?

Highlights of the Trip:

Wellfield Botanic Gardens, Biking the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, and the town of Shipshewana.

Other Things To Do Not Listed Above:

Elkhart: Time Was Museum, The Lerner, NYC Railroad Museum, Midwest Museum of American Art, New Paradigm Brewery, & RV Hall of Fame

Bristol: Elhart County Historical Museum

Middlebury: Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Dutch Country Market

Shipshewana: Flea Market & Auction, Yoder’s Meat & Cheese, & Menno-Hof

Other Campgrounds:

Elkhart Campground, Middlebury KOA, Shipshewana Campground South, Pla-Mor Campground

Other Lodging:

Various Hotels & B&B’s throughout the county

Other Indiana Adventures

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Tramping in Amish Country

14 Responses

  1. mark wyld

    This is the sort of travelling i love . Discovering real town America would right up my list if i ever visit the USA. Amazing pictures make it look even better

  2. Marge Gavan

    The botanical garden is wow, the landscape is amazing. The other places that you want to are also just as beautiful like the Middlebury.

    I have never heard of tramping before but I’d love to give it a try. I am really not that picky about where to sleep so long as it’s safe and clean. Sleeping in a truck can be a unique experience.

    • Dang Travelers

      Thanks Marge! The pictures at the botanical garden turned out so good, I wanted to publish them all. Oh yea, tramping isn’t so bad. We’ve actually turned a few family members and friends onto it-even though they thought we were nuts at first!

  3. Marta

    I would love to see this part of America. I got glimpses of it on tv and movies and it would be really interesting to experience it in real life. The gardens look wonderful: the enchanted houses would be my favourite!!

  4. Johna

    Lovely photos! This looks like such a lovely place. My favorite would have to be the Botanical Gardens! So pretty! My mum would really enjoy this place hehe. I should try “tramping” soon with some of my friends hehe, sounds fun! 😛

    • Dang Travelers

      Thanks Johna! Yes, the botanical gardens was a highlight for sure. The pictures turned out amazing from that stop!! LOL Tramping is a must-do too!

  5. Voyager

    The towns of Amish Country are really so charming and what beautiful gardens, and top it all, you were tramping which would have added to the excitement. I am sure you enjoyed the trip, would love to do something similar too!

  6. Darlene

    WoW! Amazing pictures! I have heard and seen tramping before from my friend when he and his gf went around Australia and NZ. They even have a kitchen onboard. Haha. I would like to experience that even just once. Although I’m not a big camper myself. Hehe. I’ve also always been interested in the Amish. I used to watch about them in Discovery.

    • Dang Travelers

      Thanks Darlene! I wouldn’t say I’m an avid camper (I’ve come along way in the last 10 years), but it’s actually better than tent camping. No noise, no hard ground and I feel much safer in the truck. We are heading out on a 3 month camping road trip in a pop up camper so I’ll let you know how it compares 🙂

  7. Vickey McCue

    We are headed that way 4th of July. Thanks for the info. We love the Amish area in Berlin Ohio & Lancaster Pa. I wish all children today could witness their lifestyle & how simple they live. No electricity, plowing the gardens using horses, etc.

    • Dang Travelers

      That will be so much fun! How many days? We could have easily added another day. Great idea, it could be a summer camp! All kids could spend a week with the Amish…no cell phones, games or tv!

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