I wonder what would entice a husband-wife team to run a bed and breakfast for 20 years like Gwen and Gene Newcomer have run Songbird Ridge Bed and Breakfast in Shipshewana.
When I asked Gwen that question, she replied without thinking: “I love the friends we’ve made over the years. It’s fun to have people enjoy their time here. I love seeing them having a peaceful, restful time. They need to get away from work. They like to hear the rooster crow in the morning and watch the sheep and goats graze in the pasture right behind us. Right now we have babies, baby sheep, and seven baby goats in the last few days. People love watching the little goats jumping along in the pasture.”
This is only part of what you’ll see in the back yard of Songbird Ridge.
I witnessed a couple of those baby goats with their mother, and I laughed at the two lambs playing in the pasture. I also got to pet Wink, the Newcomers’ miniature horse.
Indeed, Songbird Ridge does exude peace, even amidst springtime’s flurry of new life. There’s just something about breathing in the country air that makes one exhale gratitude. Relaxing among the rolling hillsides where Amish children play barefoot is better medicine than anything else I can think of.
The Newcomers add beautiful touches throughout their home. In the right corner is a clock Gene made.
Even though Songbird Ridge is only two miles from downtown Shipshewana, it feels like it’s in a different world and time, not only because of nature’s surroundings, but also because the many symbols of history on the inside of the home.
This beauty decorates the downstairs area.
Gwen has decorated with many interesting antiques. From wagon wheels to a pump organ, from dishes to desks, from quilts to cupboards, the items in this bed and breakfast tell their own stories.
Pointing to a two-tiered coffee table made from wagon wheels, Gwen shares, “My mother saw a table like that at the World’s Fair years ago, which is where she got the idea for having this one made for Gene’s and my wedding. The wheels are off my husband’s grandfather’s old grain wagon.”
This spool cabinet is only one of the many beautiful antiques that adorn the interior of Songbird Ridge.
Gwen also explains the antique being used as a side table was once her mother’s spool cabinet.
Gwen has many beautiful quilts in her bed and breakfast.
Pointing to a quilt on the second story, Gwen adds, “This is at least a hundred years old. It was Gene’s parents’ quilt, a wedding gift to them.”
All the guest rooms, like this Cardinal Room, are named after a songbird.
And of course, not to miss the obvious, the name “Songbird Ridge” comes from the many songbirds that rest on the hill and in the trees. “You can watch the birds feed in the morning, watch them grab the worms,” explained Gwen. “We also named each of the rooms after a bird. It seemed only natural to do so.”
Songbird Ridge can sleep a total of sixteen people, with eight sleeping downstairs and eight sleeping upstairs. Each bedroom has its own bathroom.
Guests enjoy a full breakfast menu of bran muffins, baked oatmeal, toast, cereal, juice, coffee, and a fruit cup. Gwen will add a meat and cheese plate, and sometimes, she will offer an egg casserole.
Enjoy a quiet breakfast, a large eating area, and expansive views of the Amish countryside.
The dining area offers several different tables to linger and enjoy the day’s first meal.
Gwen and Gene are pros at making you feel at home. Hospitality runs in their veins. Gwen’s mother was the first person in the area to have any lodging at all, before any hotels even existed in Shipshewana.
“I worked for Mom when I was young,” said Gwen, “and that’s when I started enjoying getting to know people.
“Now I’m told coming here is like coming home.”
Songbird Ridge Bed and Breakfast is located at 4350 N. SR 5, Shipshewana.
For more information, click here.
These hand-carved swans are made locally, says Gwen.
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