Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We live, if not precisely in Amish country, very close to it. Just close enough that you don't do double-takes when you see beards and bonnets at Wal-Mart, far enough away that you still do single-takes.

Shipshewana is about an hour north of us on Route 5. Much of the Northern Indiana Amish and Mennonite communities center around Shipshewana. ("Wana" is apparently the important part of the name — it shows up everywhere: Wana Cyclery, Wana Coaches & Buggies, and according to one wag's handmade sign, Wana Beer.)

It's also a site for some amazingly diverse shopping, in the form of the Flea Market, which claims to be the largest in the Midwest (1050 stalls!), and is just as likely a source of Amish peanut butter (Mmmm....) as imported dresses from India. So, a Wednesday or so ago, we went to visit.

The road shoulders are extra-wide around here for a reason.

Our primary mission that day had been the flea market; Deborah and May concentrated on the clothes that you couldn't find anywhere else, and I kept my eye out for unusual equipment and used tools. Deborah and May certainly found what they were after, and I found some gems, too, like glass cutting bits and an army surplus booth that had insulated boots. I'll have to come back for those, but they look perfect for winter motorcycling.

Birds on the roof of the auction barn.

The old-timey goodness factor is in full effect... some of it done for the tourists, surely, much of it quite genuine.

Bicycles were in abundance. For some odd reason, at least half of them were recumbents — I probably saw more people reclining on their bikes in one day than all the years I lived in California.

Regular or premium for your horse today?

I got a good chuckle at the gas station, as bicycles and buggies lined up for gas — not for the horses, but for other equipment. The local Ordnung (community ordinances) doesn't allow cars, but chainsaws and generators are OK.

The advertising is pretty straightforward.

Yep... Neat Stuff!

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