We had the opportunity to visit Northern Indiana’s Amish Country last summer for a couple days. Our first stop was Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort, an historic Old Order Amish Farm that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a member of the media, I was given complimentary admission so that we could do the research for this article. There is much to do at Amish Acres and the PastPort is a combination ticket that allows you do see most of it. It includes a House & Farm Tour, Wagon Tour, Documentary Films, Horse & Buggy Ride, and Threshers Dinner (all of which can be purchased separately). My kids and I each received a PastPort. Other combination packages include theatre tickets and overnight accommodations at one of the two inns on site.
Three generations of families lived on this farm before it became an historic attraction. Widow Barbara Stahly and her five sons were likely the first Amish settlers in Indiana when they migrated to Elkhart County from Germany in 1839. Her son Christian acquired this land to build a house and barn for his son Moses. Moses’s father-in-law, Noah Nissley, purchased the farm from Moses and sold it to another son-in-law, Manasses Kuhns. The farm was purchased from the Kuhns estate in order to preserve the buildings. It was opened to the public in 1970 as Amish Acres.
Amish Acres has both original buildings and historical structures that were moved from other locations. There are 18 buildings, two restaurants, two inns, seven retail shops, and the Round Barn Theatre. The House & Farm Tour is the best way to learn about all the different buildings. The House & Farm tour is actually two separate tours–one of the house and one of the farm–along with a documentary film. It takes about an hour and a half to do both tours and see the film. When you arrive, be sure to pick up a schedule so that you can plan your day around the tour and film starting times. We started with the Farm Wagon Ride, which is an easy way to see the various buildings on the property.
The wagon is pulled by a tractor and narrated by a costumed tour guide. Our wagon ride stopped at the Schoolhouse and we went inside to hear more about how Amish children were educated.
The wagon takes you past many of the buildings on the farm.
The House Tour is an excellent way to learn about the daily lives of the Old Order Amish.
Another costumed guide leads the house tour. I was surprised to learn that the Amish kept up with technology in the 19th century. We saw several home appliances.
I was also surprised that the furniture in the bedroom was as ornate as it was.
The house tour also included the out buildings and gardens. I want these flowers for my own yard.
We also saw an herb garden and an orchard.
Chickens, peacocks, and ducks wandered freely on the property.
My kids found the House Tour to be interesting.
Our PastPort also included the Horse & Buggy Ride. This is strictly a ride, not a tour, so there is no narration.
The buggy takes you past more of the buildings on the farm including several of the shops located on site.
Then the ride took us into the woods where the wagon tour had not gone. It was peaceful and relaxing, or a little boring, depending on your perspective and age.
Besides the animals, another kid-friendly feature of Amish Acres is the Ring Game. This kept my kids entertained for quite some time.
Then it was time to try the famous Threshers’ Family-Style Dinner. Make sure you come hungry! The restaurant is housed in a large former barn.
You can choose two of the three meat choices for your meal: Broasted chicken, Roast Beef, or Ham. But before the main course comes out, you’ll be served Ham and Bean Soup from an iron kettle, along with freshly baked bread that comes with butter and apple butter.
The rest of the meal includes garden relish, sweet & sour cabbage slaw, green beans, beef and noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sage dressing. All of those are served family style and you can ask for seconds. We asked for more mashed potatoes more than once. They were that good.
Save some room for pie for dessert. Pie lovers will love Amish Country. They brought a tray to show us all the options. Each person receives one piece of pie. I wish they had had a sampler where I could have tried a sliver of several different types.
If you enjoy shopping during your travels, reserve some time to visit the many shops at Amish Acres that include crafts, antiques, gifts, and food.
We didn’t have room for it after our Threshers Dinner, but a trip to the Soda Fountain would make a sweet ending to your visit.
Ready to visit?
Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort
1600 W. Market St., Nappanee, IN 46550
House & Farm Tour – $12.95 Adults, $4.95 Kids (4-11)
Horse & Buggy Ride – $5.95 Adults, $3.95 Kids (4-11)
Threshers Dinner – $18.95 Adults, $1.25 per year of age for Kids
PastPort (includes all of the above) – $32.95 Adults, $15.90 Kids
Check website for information about theatre tickets and overnight packages
Disclosure: We received complimentary admission to this tour so that I could research and write this article. Many thanks to the Amish Country/Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau for coordinating our trip.
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