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Travel: Shipshewana, Indiana

Four hours east of my parents' home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, lies a sleepy Amish town in Indiana: Shipshewana. My most recent, and inaugural, visit happened to coincide with the seasonal Saturday flea market that takes place at the Trading Place, which is in the heart of town. In addition to the large indoor space that houses nearly one hundred vendors, there are several dealers who set up temporary shop outdoors for the day. The best part of the market? The kettle corn stand that sells gigantic bags of freshly made sweet and salty goodness for $5.

I also had the pleasure of stopping into a few retail establishments in town. One was Rebecca Haarer Antiques (165 Morton Street; 260-768-4787). Upon initial glance, it resembles an old timey holiday themed shop, filled with baubles and ornaments from Christmases past. But the back room houses several vintage Amish made quilts, rope rugs, and a handful of antiques. And at the register, there is a vintage case filled with Native American jewelry and ephemera.  

My favorite stop during my tour of Shipshewana was Cliff Pequet's amazing leather goods and antique store (160 Morton Street; 574-596-1022). Cliff used to work at a leather shop in Colonial Williamsburg, eventually bringing his trade to the Midwest. He makes shoes and boots, along with hand tooled leather bags. He also sells an impressive and eclectic array of Americana, from brass telescopes, to tintype photographs, to his father's watercolor paintings.  He is immensely passionate about history, and is able to give a lesson on each and every item in his shop. I will make the trek again just to visit my new found friend.

Finally, so the girls could have their own memories of our trip, we stopped into the Davis Mercantile. It's four floors of stores and places to eat. The two main attractions for the twins were Aunt Milly's Candy and Nuts (for obvious reasons) and the Dentzel Carousel. This merry-go-round was built in 1906 and the carved animals represent those that are local to Shipshewana.

We had a wonderful visit, learned a lot, and will definitely make the trip again next summer.