By Donna Christenberry

nappaneeAfter a recent long drive, a stopover in Nappanee was a welcome treat. From the bed & breakfast, to local eateries, to the profusion of flowers in the quilt gardens, Nappanee is an enjoyable visit for travelers in Indiana.

Due to a late arrival in Nappanee, it was necessary to head quickly to Amish Acres at 1600 W. Market St. to sample their Threshers Meal before the restaurant closed for the evening. If visitors arrive early in the day, they can visit the nearby cheese and fudge shop, a shop for home gift items, and take a horse-and-buggy ride and tour of the farm. The complex also contains a theater where tourists can take in a play in the evening.

The Threshers Meal is hearty down-home cooking served family style. Diners pick two meats from a choice of ham, fried chicken or roast beef (which is really so tender it’s almost like pot roast). The opening round consists of ham and bean soup, freshly baked bread with butter and apple butter, pickled vegetables, and sweet and sour cabbage salad. With the meats come stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, beef and noodles, and green beans. On top of that is a choice of dessert – anything from crème brulee to fruit pies and cream pies.

rocket science ice cream

For another unique treat, try Rocket Science Ice Cream, located in Coppes Commons at 401 E. Market St. in Nappanee; it’s been featured on Ice Cream Nation on The Cooking Channel. Pick a flavor, and your order is whipped up right before your eyes with a blast of liquid nitrogen. Want to try unique flavors like key lime pie, pina colada or s’mores? Rocket Science has more than 50 ingredients to choose from.

homespun country innThen it was on to a good night’s rest. The exterior of the Homespun Country Inn at 302 N. Main St. is inviting, from the early 1900s architecture to the little garden in back. On the first floor, a parlor facing the street contains furniture upholstered with seemingly endless shelves of books in the fabric. It’s a perfect spot to curl up with a book, or perhaps work on the community jigsaw puzzle. Another room in the parlor area offers additional seating and magazines to read. The bedrooms upstairs are decorated in the whimsy of an earlier era, with lace and an old-fashioned quilted spread. Sally's Room, named after an original occupant of the house, is large, comfy, and the bed provides an ever-so-good night’s sleep. Breakfast the next morning was a tasty, light and balanced meal of an egg casserole, fresh fruit, yogurt, a cranberry muffin and raisin toast.

heritage trailSeeing the two quilt gardens in Nappanee was enhanced by talking to a volunteer tending one of them. Designs for the 19 flower gardens along the Heritage Trail in Elkhart County must be approved by a committee, and each year a team of volunteers plants and cares for each floral quilt. The combinations of flowers, greenery and herbs are well worth the stop for visitors in Indiana.

The visit was all too short. Stay tuned; Wabash Valley Wonders will explore more of the area on another trip.