ELKHART, Ind. — Whether it’s a weekend escape or a family vacation, you don’t have to drive far to reach plenty of fun in the Elkhart area, which lies along the Heritage Trail in northern Indiana.
There’s a different sort of farm experience that feels almost like a mirage when you see Arabian camels at the River Jordan Camel Dairy. Camel milk is said to be high in Vitamin E with 10 times more iron than cow’s milk, and you can give it a try. The owners also produce hand-made shampoos and lotions.
There is also a more traditional farm adventure just a two-hour drive from Chicago. The horse-drawn plows and buggies are a telltale indication you’ve reached Indiana Amish Country. At Amish Acres you can experience life on a pioneer farmstead, including a barn and original farmhouse that are on the National Register of Historic Places. The family-friendly heritage resort is found in Nappanee, Indiana. Visitors can also enjoy a country feast at the restaurant and a shop where you find local apple butter, maple syrup and cake mixes.
Special packages include dinner, wine-tasting, comfortable lodging and a show at the Round Barn Theater, where a resident repertory theater company produces Broadway musicals nine months out of the year.
For shopping, visitors can see artisan rug makers a short drive away in downtown Nappanee. There’s also a rich variety of locally-produced merchandise, food and treasures from the past at historic Coppes Commons. Coppes Nappanee has the distinction of being the longest continuous operating cabinet manufacturer in the United States.
The Heritage Trail continues on, and draws visitors from across the country to local communities like peaceful Middlebury, where visitors can see live wood-working demonstrations. There is also Elkhart’s wildly entertaining Recreational Vehicle and Manufactured Homes Hall of Fame, and the picturesque Wellfield Botanic Gardens, complete with its own “Quilt Mural.”
Downtown’s landmark Lerner Theater has fine-dining at Artisan restaurant with gourmet farm-to-table cooking.
Elkhart County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
1600 W Market Street, Nappanee, IN
River Jordan Camel Dairy
1512 W 1000 North, Milford, IN
* By appointment only
The History Museum
808 W Washington South Bend, IN
Teaberry Wood Products
1450 N. 1150 W. Middlebury, IN
Wellfield Botanic Gardens
1011 N Main Elkhart, IN
401 E Market St. Nappanee, IN
401 E Market, 574-305-1736
South Bend Brew Werks
216 S Michigan Avenue, 574-334-0356
505 South Main Street Elkhart, IN
Studebaker National Museum
201 Chapin Street South Bend, IN
Indiana Dunes State Park
1600 N. 25 E. Chesterton, IN
National Park Service
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
1100 N. Mineral Springs Road Porter, IN 46304