Buggies, carriages & coaches

Sometimes you get the road all to yourself 😊

Many in town roads have a carriage and bike lane – bicycles are ridden by Amish folks commuting to work or meetings.

This large group of carriages were parked at an Amish & Mennonite Youth Center on Sunday – no stores or restaurants are open – it’s a day of rest and family time. It’s the Mennonite families are allowed to have cars.

An elegant two horse drawn carriage that seats five or six passengers.

Below another larger version carriage with just one strong steed to pull its passengers.

This eleven year old beauty – Kate – pulled our carriage during our thirty minute ride through the neighborhood. He gave us a few pointers about the horses and their goals as we passed pastures filled with them.

Below is one of the smaller buggies the carry two or three people. It’s the compact car version.

Above a horse and carriage – the SUV version – waiting for the family at one of the many shops along Van Buren Avenue in Shipshewana.

Below is the other larger horse who pulled carriages for tourist rides – waiting for the next customer.

Traveling through an intersection – heading into rain….great protection for weather.

Below we saw a number of carriages waiting patiently for groceries at one of the local shops.

And the last photo is the ever present carriage in the family farm driveway.

It’s a great way to travel!

Barns, Barns and more buildings like barns

Few words – more pictures….

Old and tilted…

Bright and shiny…

Patch work roof…

A smaller brick building we loved..

And some distressed, others modern and brand new…

Lots of red barns…loved this weathered one above…and below….

This one had the Ten Commandments on plaques over front door.

Unusual shape…

A beautiful red door….

Oldest probably… above and below…..

These won’t be the last barns we see but they were such inspiration.


Indiana Amish Country

Two years ago Rick and I traveled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and were introduced to the Amish culture and core beliefs prevalent there. However after a few days in Elkhart County, we have learned there are differences between communities and while each community adheres to the core beliefs, there are differences – some use no electronics while others allow its members to use engines and electricity. Mennonite families are often seen using cars and they worship in churches or centers while conservative Amish restrict themselves to oil lamps, no electricity, and they worship together in each other’s homes. Middlebury, Shipshewana, and Elkhart are three areas we’ve visited and each offer intriguing views.

Eighty percent of recreational vehicles are manufactured here and the industry has bounced back from the 2099 decline – it provides employment to the surrounding communities and good benefits

Farming was historically the main occupation here, it is no longer primary – now it’s also woodworking, cabinet making, guilting, and furniture design/manufacturing work often as part of the RV industry. Our coach was built here and we benefited from the Amish precision and expertise with wood and details.

However almost every home has farm animals especially horses – several different breeds and ages. Horses for the small buggies – the commuter vehicles every Amish family uses, also the larger Belgium or Percheron horses for plowing fields or hauling equipment, and smaller horses or Shetland ponies for the wagons younger Amish uses around their neighborhoods.

The month of May is foaling time for these beautiful creatures and we were lucky enough to see youngsters were in every pasture – some merely hours old. They were endearing and genuinely special creatures – very interested in their new world. Their desire to walk, run and play was overwhelming and overtook any common sense they might have had.

This foal seemed as intrigued by us as we were of him. Someday soon he will be pulling his owners family along the local byways with his own buggy. He was just days old and full of curiosity. Below is another foal who seemed to want his tired mom to get up and play with him. In background is an expectant mom counting the hours till delivery. We saw many other horses who were equally as beautiful and sweet but the babies really grabbed our hearts.

Barns have always had a special attraction for me – here there is usually a buggy with or without horse in the driveway, a hitching post for buggy & horse parking, and a small outbuilding at the end of driveway with a telephone for emergencies. The homesteads are well maintained, often meticulously by hand and play-sets for kids are usually visible in the backyard even a trampoline.

I have refrained from photographing the Amish people as that is their preference but it has been a joy to see them working, walking, biking and just living their lives.

We have enjoyed their food, service and smiles – we ate at the Blue Gate Restaurant, had a buggy ride with a delightful Amish gentleman, shopped at their stores and experienced their genuine pleasure at sharing their peace with us – strangers.

We have slowed our pace and hopefully learned from them about treating all people we meet with kindness and savoring every minute of our day. If you ever swing through this area – stop and enjoy the respite offered by the plain and simple life

Goodbye to the Low Country

We said goodby to South Carolina east coast yesterday and drove to Mocksville NC off Rte 77 to get the Taj’s new Magnets Shades. Spent a quiet night and departed by 9 am heading to Ohio, then Indiana. The rolling hills we enjoyed on this leg were so different from low lush land of sea coast and the Smokey Mountains in the distance are draped in spring green and wildflowers. Another spring will blossom around us as we travel north.

As we entered Ohio her rich agricultural heritage became apparent. A leader in soybean and corn crop production southern Ohio has been composed of farming communities for generations. We drove along both big interstates like I 77 and 75, and smaller state roads that gave us a view into these tiny old towns with one traffic light but acres of ripe farm land.

Unique buildings like this covered bridge on one farm added to the land’s appeal and character.

Took this quick shot as we made a left turn along State Road 33 – loved the colors.

We spent the night at a rest stop just north of Dayton – it was a bit noisy but we slept well and rise at 8 am to start our final leg to Middlebury.

We crossed into Indiana – the roads quality improved but the scenery was the same. The barns along the way fascinated me so I started shooting photos of them – old and new, big and small. Here are a few.

Middlebury is in Elkhart County which is the heart of Amish country in Indiana. As we got closer to the towns the Amish plain and simple culture became more apparent. Buggies and carriages replaced cars and trucks and horses were obvious on every farm – horse for pulling farm equipment as well as the small buggy for quick trips to town. There is a serenity in the air here – you can feel it. So much less rushing about. It’s a vacation for the spirit.

And horses are everywhere….

We are on this area for a week so we will sample the bakeries and restaurants during this visit. More about that later.

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