When I was writing my ebook on How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips, I tried to include unique attractions that reflected the character of each state. I was thrilled to discover that Indiana had an attraction that is truly unique, that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. I’m talking about the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail in Northern Indiana’s Amish Country. What’s a Quilt Garden? Imagine a giant quilt created from colorful flowers.
A cool idea for a garden, isn’t it? Closer up, you can see the individual flowers.
This is just one of 20 gardens that are spread out over seven towns in Northern Indiana. Each one is different and has a theme. A sign located at each site tells you about the theme and about the flowers used to create the design.
In case you can’t read that, it tells you that the design of this garden, located in the town of Nappanee, includes a carpenter’s square as a tribute to the town’s woodworking heritage. The garden is located at Coppes Commons which once housed a cabinet factory. Nappanee is also home to another Quilt Garden named “Nappanee…on Track.” It features a locomotive engine.
I just love the added touches of the tracks and railroad crossing sign. In addition to the gardens, the trail also includes quilt murals. This display, on the side of John’s Butcher Shop in Nappanee, consists of four Amish Quilt Commemorative Stamp murals.
While you’re driving around Nappanee looking for the quilts, you’ll probably notice the giant apple sculptures. These were fun to spot.
While in Nappanee, you should consider visiting Amish Acres. The next community we visited was Wakarusa which has a garden and a mural. The Quilt Garden is titled Cross in a Cross.
The quilt mural is a reproduction of a well-known quilt crafted by local quilters and is titled Dancing Leaves.
Another notable attraction in Wakarusa is the community-built playground. My kids (well, two of them) loved it and wanted to stay longer.
The next Quilt Garden we visited was at the Elkhart County Historical Museum in the town of Bristol. The sign says that the garden is inspired by a Log Cabin quilt that is part of the museum’s collection and dates back to the late nineteenth century.
The final quilt that we saw was at the Dutch Country Market in Middlebury and is a Hummingbird garden. The design was chosen by members of the Lehman family who operate the market.
Those are just five of the Quilt Gardens spread throughout Amish Country. There are several more that we didn’t get a chance to see. A couple tips for parents: your kids probably won’t want to visit all of the gardens, so you might want to select a few that sound interesting ahead of time. Pick up a map at one of the visitor centers or view one on the website. Add in stops at other locations throughout Amish Country. Check back: I’ll be adding more information about the other places we visited in Amish Country.
Ready to visit?
Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail
Located in the Northern Indiana Amish Country communities of Elkhart, Bristol, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Goshen, Nappanee, and Wakarusa
Open annually from May 30 through Oct. 1
This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.
Many thanks to the Amish Country/Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau for coordinating our trip.
You might also be interested in
Amish Acres (Indiana)
Cycling Through Amish Country (Indiana)
Cook’s Bison Ranch (Indiana)
Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (Michigan)
Holden Arboretum (Ohio)