Last week, I ventured to a land previously only heard about through stories. A place so uniquely magical, talk of it's wonder has been circulating among my family for years and years. Passed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter, and friend to friend.
Where is this fantastical place you ask? SHIPSHEWANA, INDIANA OF COURSE!!!
Yes I'm serious.
No lie, I have been dying to make a trip to the Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market for literally years. If you know me even a tiny bit, you're aware that I can NOT pass up a good flea market, yard sale, or thrift store. So this basically is my personal version of heaven-on-Earth. Shipshewana is at the heart of Northern Indiana's Amish Country, and home of the largest flea market in the Midwest. Open every Tuesday and Wednesday from May through the first week in October, people travel from miles around to shop, attend weekly auctions, and experience a one-of-a-kind atmosphere only found at the Shipshewana Trading Place.
It. Was. AWESOME!
Bright and early Tuesday morning, Mc Donald's coffee and Diet Cokes in hand, my sister, aunt, mom, grandma, and myself piled into the van and hit the road!Our first stop, just south of the Flea Market, was Eash Sales. Two buildings and a giant parking lot jam packed with furniture, decorations, swing sets, bird baths, signs, planters, statues, anything you could POSSIBLY imagine for your outdoor space.
Mom walks outside:
"Aww cute! There are kids playing on the swing set....OMG...those are MY KIDS!"
We're fun people.
Quick trip up the road and we finally arrived!!!! CUE SINGING CHERUBS AND RELEASE THE DOVES!
First impression = holy sh!t...this place is HUGE. Rows on rows on rows of booths, tents, tables, shops, and trailers all selling their goods and wares. I felt like Jasmine when she ditched the tiara and pretended to be a commoner walking down the streets of Agrabah. FRESH FISH! WE CATCH EM YOU BUY EM!
On the outskirts of the market is a massive auction and antique building. Here is where the Wednesday auctions are all held, and although we didn't plan to attend any, we still were able to walk around and scope out the merch.
Did I mention that after a week of 90 degree temps, Mother Nature decided to grace us with two days in the 60's???? Yeah...we were NOT prepared. Hence the costume change and an impromptu purchase of sweaters and leggings.
Of course after an exhausting day of shopping, shopping, and more shopping, a girl's gotta EAT! These hungry ladies headed to the Blue Gate Restaurant, where we immediately fell in love with the cozy atmosphere, piping hot comfort food, and bread. Ohhhmama the bread. Smear it with the Amish Peanut Butter spread, and you're golden.
We finished up Day 1 of our adventure by chillin in our room at The Van Buren Hotel. Sipping wine (note: bring your own alcohol if you want to party at night. Shipshewana is in a dry county so you can't buy it there), poppin peanut M&M's, and binge watching America's Got Talent. PS have you seen this chick?!?!
Day 2 was dedicated to "down town", AKA all the little shops tucked among the side streets. There's a nice lot across from the Blue Gate Restaurant where you can park your car, and just walk from store to store. My heart was so happy the entire day. Every time we walked up to a store and the front was just buried in things, my face broke into a huge cheesy grin.
I wish I took more pictures of all the knick knacks we saw, I wish there was time to visit every single place, but I guess that's just another reason to go back!
Below is a quick list of some personal favorites:
Bread Box Bakery (top right) - Perfect place to eat breakfast or lunch. Magic fairy-tale-like outdoor seating, pecan rolls the size of your face, fresh homemade salads, sandwiches, wraps, and shelves of salsa, jams, and sauces you can purchase.
Country Elegance (top left) - I would've been satisfied just digging around outside and never actually entering the store. Piles and piles of things!
Davis Mercantile (middle) - So many places to go! A lower level, three floor of shops, and a full size carousel featuring hand carved animals greets you at the top. Plus adorable statues to imitate, and if you happen to misplace your purse...just ask around because according to the locals "Oh you'll be fine! Only honest people vacation to Shipshewana."
Rustology - Cute antique and specialty store where I snagged this funky lamp (bottom left) as well as the beverage carrier pictured below. Also chatted with the store owner, who is super nice!
Yesterday Once More - Country chic, with a whole little section dedicated to dog owners.
Yoder's Hardware - Don't let the name fool you, this is NOT your average hardware store.
Blue Lakeside Treasures - If you're looking for glassware, this is the place for you. The owners were very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable of the manufacturers and history of each piece.
Ben's Soft Pretzels - Dear Ben, thank you for making the most gloriously delicious soft pretzels this girl has ever tasted. Love, a newly devoted fan.
Other Flea Market go-to's: (click for vendor directory)
Olde Tyme Poppin Korn - Just go for the big bag, you can afford it.
Summer Rose 21 Wine & Cocktail Mixes - Slushies for grown-ups. Yes please.
Jennifer's Nicely Spiced Olive Oil - Ask for samples!
The list could go on and on...
So after 2 days, countless stores, picking things up, putting them down, and a couple moments of "actually...I think I WILL run back and get that!", here is what I have to show for it!
A beautiful typographic sign, two glass bowls, two cocktail mixes, Amish salsa, sauce, and PB spread (not pictured), an adorable drink carrier, one funky marble and lucite lamp, and another blue and white ginger jar vase to add to my ever growing collection.
It's only been a week since we took our Trip to the Ship, and already I'm itching to go back. I mean there was a whole Antique Mall we didn't even visit!!! Pictures can't do justice the vastness of the flea market, capture how adorable the "down town" shops are, or the pure deliciousness of authentic Amish baking.
Take it from me, you just have to go for yourself.