Each time I visit a bed and breakfast, I declare that one my favorite.
So far, I have six favorites. Each one is as unique as the owners who invite their guests into the homes.
Welcome to Big House in the Little Woods Bed & Breakfast
Today makes my seventh favorite as I visited Big House in the Little Woods Bed and Breakfast.
If you want seclusion, this is it.
If you want to be surrounded by Amish farms and neighbors, this place is it.
If you want to rest beneath a handmade quilt, most of them hand-stitched by the local Amish community, sleep here.
If you want to make friends with the other guests, stroll the owners’ wooded grounds, and explore the Amish backroads while riding a buggy, this place is for you.
About Big House in the Little Woods
Five miles from the busiest highway, stretched beneath a ruler-straight country road and robin’s egg blue sky, you’ll discover this get away from it all gem.
Along the way, you’ll see handmade road signs announcing locals’ cottage industries: There’s the woodworker, the toymaker, the weaver, and the family who hosts in-home dining.
You’ll also see an Amish girl, barefoot, playing with her kitten in her yard, a mom walking across the field to greet her neighbor, lots of Amish farms, and friendly waves from passers-by in their buggies.
You’ll even make friends with the local livestock.
Most of all, you’ll become quick friends with the owners of Big House in the Little Woods.
About The Owners
David and Gail Hodges grew up in the city, but it didn’t take long for them to settle into the country life eight years ago upon purchasing the already-established bed and breakfast.
One thing that significantly helped was the warmth of their surrounding Amish neighbors.
“I came home one day and saw four or five people standing around the sign by the road,” explained Gail. “As I drove closer, I realized it was my neighbor and her children, pulling weeds around the sign and flowers for me.”
Another time, she came home to her neighbors cleaning windows.
One Amish neighbor, whom they call “Ben,” is especially kind. Shared David, “Ben will come over some mornings and have breakfasts with the guests and just sit and talk with them. He understands people want to know about his culture.
“He also takes guests on buggy rides.”
Ben is the organizer of the well-known twice-a-year Honeyville Quilt Auction, occurring once in April and again in September. Nearly all the quilts sold are handmade by the Hodges’ Amish neighbors and surrounding rural community.
The quilts are, in a word, exquisite.
Most of the beds at Big House in the Little Woods are adorned with quilts from this auction. The other quilts are made by Gail and her mother.
About the Accommodations
Two very unique qualities make Big House in the Little Woods a very attractive place.
First, the Hodges established a wheelchair-accessible room. It has its own entrance, its own sitting room, and is assembled with all the rails, shower amenities, and wide frames needed for easy movement.
Second, the property is home to not one but two homes.
The main home has six rooms with private baths, several sitting areas, and a screened in porch that makes you feel as if you’re lounging outside but without insects.
The second property, also a two-story, is a former “dawdy house” that was moved from a different location, complete with the original 1950’s floor and locally-crafted hickory kitchen cabinets.
In this second property, visitors have access to a full kitchen. It contains two large bedrooms and an upstairs sitting area with a daybed.
Both homes are filled with beautiful antiques purchased inexpensively from the Shipshewana Antique Auction.
An Added Bonus
If you come at the right time of the year, say, Mid-June, David and Gail will also introduce you to other Amish neighbors who own a small strawberry patch.
I couldn’t help but make my way there, as the Hodges spoke so kindly about the family. Sure enough, the mom and her six children greeted me and loaded me up with strawberries. The Millers were busy making homemade jam, but they visited with me a few minutes, the two of the girls escorted me back to my car.
Upon leaving Big House in the Little Woods and the neighbors, I felt a renewed sense of perspective that the area obviously encouraged in me: to slow down, embrace the simple things, and celebrate the kindness of humanity.
Big House in the Little Woods Bed & Breakfast is located only eight miles from downtown Shipshewana, at:
4245 South 1000 West
Millersburg, IN 46543
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