My family and I took our vacation this year to Shipshewana, Indiana, one of the nation’s largest Amish populations.
We paid over $600 for five nights stay in an Amish- built log cabin, which featured two queen beds, indoor-plumbing and a nice porch in a pine forest.
We didn’t have a kitchen, so that meant everything would have to be cooked on the gas grill that we brought from home – creature comforts, I guess.
It was quite interesting that it rained almost like clockwork around lunch and around dinner daily.
The location was gorgeous and the countryside was dotted with big white farmhouses with pristine yards.
Having the benefit of arriving on a Saturday, knowing that Shipshewana would not come “abuzz” until Tuesday and Wednesday, we had several days to explore the surrounding area of northern Indiana on our own. It was quite enjoyable to sit on the porch and listen to the clip-clop of hooves on the pavement and marvel at how well Indiana integrated the Amish people into their world.
Tuesday rolled around and Shipshewana was swamped with visitors from more places than I can count on two hands.
We paid our $3 for parking at the market area and were excited to see rows upon rows of Amish horse and buggies tied to their respective fences outside the market area.
For years I’d heard and seen signs to visit Shipshewana for the Amish experience, for their quality furniture, for pure American-made goodness – and I was deeply disappointed on that Tuesday morning, after we were raked over for parking.
Shipshewana greed had taken over what used to be an all Amish market, and it has been replaced by all things made in China.
As it was, there were no Amish vendors at all, no fruits, no vegetables, no Amish furniture, no fine fabric to make those beautiful dresses and no fresh flowers or fresh honey. It was all made in China. Perhaps it is because I am spoiled from Michigan, but if you haven’t been to Shipshewana, save yourself the trip, toll roads, hotel stay and frustration.
We are graced with two different locations for Gibralter Trade Center. One location is close to us, in Taylor off Racho and Eureka roads. The other location is Gibralter Trade Center North located in Mount Clemen’s near I-94 around 22-Mile Road. So you might wonder why I mention GTC? Well, if you take GTC and triple it in size and remove the actual building, you will have all that Shipshewana can offer you – which is mostly someone else’s used treasures with a Chinese flair.
At least with GTC, you don’t have to pay for parking and they have some cheap food vendors inside.
I went into several “shops” in the downtown area that appeared to have Amish tatted table runners, only to turn one over and see the “made in India” sticker — yet the label says “Yoder Linens.”
At another little shop, they had “Yoder Cheese” and the location for the company; the “other” label says “Real California Cheese.”
It makes me angry that they have stolen a name, a way of life, an identity, for greed. It makes me angry that the vibrant area which has a way of life different and slower than our own has been exploited. In the end, I won’t ever go back to Shipshewana until they go back to being the Amish centered community they used to be, instead of being treated like a circus sideshow.
But what are the odds that the greed will go away?