Going on Faith

Summer 2017

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ summer 2017 ] NORTHERN INDIANA BY B R I A N J E W E L L AMISH COUNTRY S ometimes our similarities are more striking than our differ- ences. Case in point: a visit to the Amish Country of Northern Indiana, where church groups can have real encounters with members of the Amish orders that call the area home. Though they are famous for their plain clothes, low-tech lifestyle, German dialect and traditional values, Indiana's Amish aren't all reclusive, and the numerous opportunities for visitors to spend time with them highlights the many ways people are alike, regardless of the differences in their cultures. Church groups that take tours of north- ern Indiana can have numerous experi- ences that include personal encounters with the area's Amish, during which they will learn about their lives as family mem- bers, churchgoers and entrepreneurs. "We find that people like the authentic, the rural, the opportunity to meet people and get to know personalities," said Sonya Nash, director of group and experiential sales and marketing for Amish Country of Northern Indiana. "It's not just driving on the bus and seeing something out the win- dow. It's the in-home Amish meal experi- ence, the Amish camel dairy farm, the fam- ily that makes baskets and the Amish cof- fin-maker. It's the interactive experience that's really taking off well." Each of these visits is part of a raft of hands-on activities tourism offers to groups visiting town, and each gives visi- tors the chance to meet and talk to local Amish residents, see their work and, in some cases, sample their products. Product samples are an important part of another experience that has become popu- lar with groups visiting the area: the Brown Bag Tour. "This is the fun, hidden surprise tour," Nash said. "Everybody gets a bag. You go with a guide to the tea shop, the noodle shop, the popcorn shop. Everybody gets something everywhere you go, so you end up with a bag full of goodies. In the fall, it might be doughnut holes and cheese. So, people have a ball seeing the things they're going to get next. It's another way to expe- rience the back roads." In addition to these interactive cultural experiences, here are four other highlights that should be on your next Indiana Amish itinerary. SNAP T R A V E L S H O T All photos courtesy Elkhart Co. CVB Northern Indiana is home to one of the country's largest Amish populations.

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