Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Our home for the next month in northern Indiana.....Shipshewana, the nation's third largest Amish community, the Mid-west's largest flea market, and an area known for their handcrafted wares.

Countryside of Shipshewana, IN

A bonus for adventurous travelers is to discover a special place you weren't aware even existed.  We are fortunate enough to spend an unusually interesting month in Shipshewana, Indiana, a heavily populated Amish community located east of South Bend.

Shipshewana South Campground
Beautiful rural countryside 

 Our campground's central location made it easy for us to visit outlying areas and at the same time enjoy seeing the beauty of the countryside and a simple way of life carried on by the Amish of Indiana.

Amish Traffic - Shipshewana, Indiana

Amish traffic
Shipshewana, Indiana

Farms are productive and carry on years of
traditional farming methods.

Horse and Buggy is the Amish mode of transportation
Not unusual to see draft horses ploughing the farmlands or traveling on the roads

Our visit to Shipshewana brought unexpected surprises every day.  We've been here long enough so we're not surprised to hear the clicketty-clop of hooves as a black buggy and horse pass by our campground, or whenever we see 4 draft horses and a farmer ploughing a large plot of land.  We've been here long enough to admire the Amish simplicity of life and love of family.  

The communities we visited were stitched together and welcomed us with their uniqueness.  The unhurried rural Amish life is woven together with urban distinctive downtowns filled with craft breweries and great restaurants, fascinating museums and historic places, eclectic shops and live entertainment.

Part of our exploration of Northern Indiana included historical and unique cities like South Bend, Nappanee, Middlebury, Topeka, LaGrange, Elkhart, Mikawasa, Wakamusa and Goshen, all within driving distance of our home base campground.

Entegra Coach Manufacturing
Middlebury, Indiana

Coachmen Industries
Elkhart, Indiana

While we explored the RV Capital of the World, Elkhart, Indiana, we found the huge manufacturing facilities of Entegra Motorhomes and Jayco Industries in Middlebury, IN.  A trip to northern Indiana wouldn't be complete without  a visit to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

RV/MH Hall of Fame
Elkhart, Indiana

We arrived at the beginning of the planting of the Quilt Gardens and Mural Sites along the Elkhart County Heritage Trail.  We could only imagine what a couple of weeks will do to the carefully planned 18 Quilt - inspired Gardens and the 21 hand painted, quilt themed, supersized murals.

Nappanee Quilt Garden
Coppes Commons

The beautiful historic town of Middlebury appears to be the ideal community and reminds you of small town America and also offers the Quilt Garden at the Krider World's Fair Garden.

Krider World's Fair Garden
Quilt Garden
Middlebury, Indiana
Main Street
Our month long stay seemed to pass by so fast.  We felt so fortunate to spend time and slow down to another pace of living.  We move into Michigan for a few days and plan on visiting the spectacular 90 acre Gilmore Car Museum, near Kalamazoo, MI.  This is north America's largest car museum and Michigan's #1 attraction!

Friday, June 15, 2018


We discovered Krider World's Fair Gardens, the crown jewel of the Middlebury, Indiana's park system, while exploring the beautiful and historical town of Middlebury, IN.  Krider Nurseries began business operations in 1896 by Vernon Krider.  Their first catalog was produced in 1906 and primarily did regional wholesale business, but also mail order.              

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

Exploring the town of Middlebury, we discovered the cool, quiet beauty of a garden with landscaping and appointments that duplicated the 1933-1934 Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair.  Krider World's Fair Gardens is known as one of Indiana's oldest garden parks, and has been designated as an Indiana Historic site.

Long before social media was ever visualized, Krider gained more than 250,000 names and addresses from visitors signing the Garden's guest register at the Chicago World's Fair.   Using this list, Krider Nurseries grew into the largest mail order nursery business in the United States.

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

It took about 10 years for Krider Nurseries to become Middlebury's largest employer (100 people) and it obtained the patent for "Festival" .... the first thornless rose, which was offered to the public in their mail order catalogs.

Krider Nurseries closed in 1990 as a result of declining sales and box store competition.  

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

In 1993, a 2.4 acre nursery display garden was donated to the town of Middlebury to be used as a community park.  In 1995 the Krider Nurseries World's Fair Gardens was dedicated as a garden park, for displaying plants and landscaping features.  

Krider World's Fair Gardens - Middlebury IN

After the Chicago World's Fair the Dutch Windmill was returned to Middlebury as a display garden for its customers.
Dutch Windmill - Krider World's Fair Gardens
Middleburg, IN

The Middlebury Quilt Garden is on the area's Heritage Trail/Quilt Garden Tour.  The Quilt Gardens along the Indiana Heritage Trail offers 18 quilt inspired gardens and 21 hand-painted, quilt-themed, supersized murals in the communities of Bristol, Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee and Wakarusa.  

Quilt Garden - Krider World's Fair Gardens
Middlebury, IN

The Toadstools, more than 85 years old, were also a feature from the Chicago World's Fair.

The Toadstools - Krider World's Fair Gardens
Middlebury, IN

The statue of Hebe, goddess of youth, is in keeping of the 1930's when Greek revival statues were popular garden features.

Hebe - Krider World's Fair Gardens
Middlebury, IN

The community of Middlebury, IN is fortunate to have such a beautiful and peaceful part of town dedicated to perpetuating a natural park for all to enjoy.  A regional bike path also meanders through town with parking on the edge of the Krider World's Fair Garden, offering a place for rest for passing bikers.