By Lora Gates
Date: Jan 24, 2018
Shipshewana has gotten a bit of a misperception that it is only open during the Midwest’s Largest Flea Marketseason from May – September. And while the Flea Market is a huge claim to fame for this 3rd largest Amish community in the US, that simply couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are many things to do in Shipshewana throughout the year but if you are looking for something to help with the winter blues and need a getaway, here is a list of 5 activities you won’t want to miss.
1) Sled, Cross Country Ski, or Soak Up Mother Nature at Local Parks
Open Daily, Year-Round – Check online for Seasonal Hours & Special Programs
Just a few miles west in nearby Elkhart County you can visit Bonneyville Mill County Park. When the snow is on the park offers cross-country skiers miles of challenging terrain and beautiful scenery making it one of the most popular cross-country ski areas in the region. You’ll also find 2 great little sledding hills providing hours of winter fun for the whole family and these are sure to excite the kids and the kid in you. Our family just discovered this secret this year and we are sold! There is even a small warming building near the sledding area for you to take a break from the cold and now we just can’t wait till the next snow is on.
A good sign of a great sledding time… my broken saucer sled????.
2) Bid at the Shipshewana Antique & Misc. Auction
Every Wednesday at 9 AM, Year-Round
The Shipshewana Antique & Misc. Auction is a sight like you have never seen. Each Wednesday, year-round, this barn fills up with a variety of antiques and collectibles where you can discover unique finds that you just can’t get anywhere else. You will see all kinds of great items and may even find your next do-it-yourself upcycling project (and there are some great Pinterest project ideas available for all your treasures just by searching things like “upcycling projects for old windows” or “DIY mason jar projects” for example).
Or, you may find just the perfect piece or quality antique ready for decorating your home without any work at all. Any way you look at it, you are not going to find any auction quite like it anywhere around. 6-10 auctioneers begin selling each Wednesday at 9 am and sell into mid to late afternoon. All of this takes place in the Shipshewana Auction Building at 345 S. Van Buren Street in Shipshewana every Wednesday all year long, so yes, it is open in the winter!
Plus, after a day of shopping this huge auction, you can stop in one of the many specialty stores around town. All within a couple of blocks of Shipshewana Auction. Winter hours may vary slightly so call ahead, but once again stores are open year-round!
3) Delight in Exclusive Discounts at the Annual Pajama Sale
Held the first Saturday each February
When can you get amazing bargains all around Shipshewana? At the annual Pajama Day sale of course! What started in 2003 (and from what I understand could have actually been named the Shipshewana Zucchini Day Sale… yeah, yeah I know who would shop a Zucchini Day right?), has now become a popular annual outing for so many Shipshewana visitors each year. The fun starts early and that is when you get the best deals. (And I am talking EARLY so check out the schedule ahead of time????)
Shop in your pajamas to get special offers from participating stores throughout town…and this definitely saves you time – just wake up and roll right out of bed to be sure you get all the early deals. Most stores give the best deals the earlier you shop so don’t stay up all night anticipating the day, get your beauty rest and even stay in town so you don’t have to drive as far which also saves time (no commute time, yes!!!).
4) Enjoy a Sleigh Ride at a Local Amish Home
By Appointment, Weather Permitting – Call Ahead for schedule.
If you catch just the right combination of weather and schedule for the local Amish family (who likes to get away for a brief time usually during the month of February – so breaking the rule and not open ALL… winter) you can take in a beautiful sleigh ride across the Shipshewana country and all guided by a wonderful personality if I do say so myself. Just call ahead for the schedule and of course, weather permitting for a chance to enjoy country life here in the area like you have never seen it. (either by sleigh or buggy).
5) Take in a Relaxing Retreat at the Farmstead Inn
Dates/Times Vary and Based on Availability – Call for Details!
Throughout the year, there are a number of conferences held at the Farmstead Inn who may have available space open to the public. Some of these include scrapbooking, quilting or speakers of all sorts. If you are coming to town and looking for something unique to do during the winter this is a great option to check into to.
Just call and ask for the Conference Coordinator who can share with you if there are any conferences that suit your liking and they can get you all the details. (Maybe you would like to plan your own church, couples, girls, or family retreat… the Conference Coordinator can help you with that too!) This place is open 7-days a week, 365 days a year, so it is never closed.
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