I love Zoe and I love my iPad. I love a lot of other things but these are the two I was most appreciative of at the end of the day today: Zoe for her enthusiasm in the final leg of out trip, and the iPad for helping us figure out where that final leg would end!
We started the day refreshed and excited to start our journey on US 20. Our first stop was Sauder Village. It wasn’t on the itinerary but I saw a sign for it so took a quick detour. The village wasn’t open for another hour but we found a great bakery which was open. I got a cinnamon roll and Zoe got peanut butter puppy cookies. We agreed that a visit to Sturbridge Village in MA would make up for missing this one.
Another hour down US 20 got us to Shipshewana and Middlebury, the centers of Anabaptist communities in Indiana. I did need my iPad to tell me when I was there; I figured I had made it when I was suddenly sharing the road with horse-drawn buggies and I saw women mowing their lawns in long dresses and head bonnets. I spent some time at the Menno-Hof Mennonite-Amish visitor center where they give a great tour and have some really neat mixed media displays about the history, beliefs, traditions, etc of the Anabaptists. Unfortunately they also noted that the Amish preferred not to have their pictures taken, so I followed directions. I wish a was a little more shameless and took some any way. In Shipshewana I found an antique quilt store and picked up a couple pieces that were made in the 1930s. Also had a conversation with an Amish women who had just come back from a trip around Colorado. I forgot to ask her if she made the whole trip with her horse!
In Middlebury I got super lucky and stumbled upon a folk festival. Every kid there wanted to either pet Zoe or know “what’s that thing on her head?”. My favorite moment was when a little Amish girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old and wearing a pink dress, quietly came over and gave Zoe a hug.
One thing I noticed at the festival: all normally dressed kids were always accompanied by adults, but I saw most of the kids in Amish clothes wandering around on their own, no adults following around. Not sure what tot take away from that.
I stayed in those two towns much longer than planned so I decided to skip Notre Dame and South Bend to continue straight to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We did a quick climb to the top of “mt. Baldy” and looked out across Lake Michigan and could just see the Chicago Skyline across the lake.
Soon we were back on the road and moving very slowly through Chicago areas. Determined to make up some time and get to my target destination for the day, we drove until 11pm to get here. I’m sure I missed some beautiful scenery by driving in the dark, but tomorrow morning I will wake up next to the Mississippi River and will take a long walk around historic Galena and maybe some surrounding towns.
I will post pictures later. Time to charge the batteries again!