Awhile ago we visited Northern Indiana to get some warranty repairs done on our Cyclone fifth wheel at the Heartland RV Headquarters. We were there for over a month, so we were able to explore the area in depth. One of our favorite things to do was visit Amish country and learn about how the Amish live. Northern Indiana has a huge Amish community and so many amazing things to do. One of the more touristy things to do is to visit Amish Acres.
Amish Acres, in Nappanee, Indiana, is America’s only old order Amish Farm that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It sits on 80 acres of land, on the homestead of some of Indiana’s original Amish settlers. Many of the buildings are original, and many have been moved from nearby areas and refurbished.
We enjoyed walking around the courtyard and exploring the buildings. The kids loved seeing the peacocks and other birds, and finding feathers. There was a funny donkey to pet, and some chickens running around. They also loved the buggy and wagon rides, and the old time soda shop! Many of the employees are Amish and are very knowledgeable and willing to answer questions we had about the Amish way of life. In order to get the full Amish Acres experience, you really need to buy tickets for a tour or two.
We chose the Amish Acres PastPort Package. It was $33.95 for adults and $15.90 for kids. It was the best value for us to do all of the things that we wanted to do. It included:
-House and Farm Tour
-Farm Wagon Ride Tour
-Horse and Buggy Ride
Our tour guide, Fannie Mae, was patient with the kids’ questions and was very informative on the House Tour and on the Wagon Ride Tour. The House and Farm Tour was a walking tour through the main farmhouse and outbuildings. We learned about the ways that the old order Amish went about their daily chores and business. There was even an older Amish woman quilting in the grandparent’s house. She was very sweet and fun to chat with.
The horse and buggy ride lasted about 10 minutes. The buggy was driven by Toby, who also happens to be our tour guide, Fannie Mae’s, father. Toby was very friendly and answered our questions as we enjoyed a leisurely buggy ride around the farm. The kids loved the buggy ride. Now they want their own wagon and pony!
Toby also drove the tractor that pulled the wagon for the Farm Wagon Tour. The Farm Wagon Tour included a drive out to a refurbished old Amish schoolhouse. We got to go inside and learn a bit about how the Amish schools work. The tour also included information about the houses and buildings on the greater area of the property. It lasted approximately 25 minutes.
The traditional thresher’s dinner was served in the thresher’s barn. It was a delicious meal that left us completely stuffed! Apparently, the men used to go from farm to farm helping each other with the threshing, and the women would serve huge meals to refuel the men for the hard work. Hence, the Thresher’s meal. We got to choose 2 meats out of 4, and we chose the broasted chicken and the ham. Then they serve you family style and bring out a bunch of sides, like green beans, mashed potatoes, dressing, pickles, beef and noodles, etc. You can ask for them to bring out seconds of anything, but we could barely eat the first round! They had 9 or 10 delicious pies and cakes to choose form for dessert. We each got something different, and everything was fabulous!
Amish Acres also has a round barn theatre that hosts some great musicals and theater productions. We didn’t have time to attend any on this trip, but we talked to some people that had attended and said it was top of the line.
We ate at the soda fountain and fudge shop on our way out. The old fashioned sodas and floats were fabulous! We were stuffed from the meal still, so we didn’t buy fudge. But you can get free samples! You don’t need to buy tour tickets to go to the Fudge shop and soda fountain, the restaurant in the thresher’s barn, and the meat and cheese shop.
Make sure you give yourself 4-5 hours to tour the farm properly. We were rushed a bit because we chose to eat first and finished at 2, which limited our tour times significantly. They stop tours around 4:30 and 5, and close up shops a bit later. But the restaurant is open a few hours later.
Overall, it was an excellent day for everyone. It was a great learning experience for both kids and adults, and a lot of fun too!
1600 W Market St, Nappanee, IN 46550