Just 15 miles from Indiana’s second largest city, traffic slows to a horse and buggy pace, stepping into stores is like stepping into yesteryear, and Friday night entertainment is a cappella singing and yodeling. Grabill, Indiana, unlike other Amish towns, isn’t filled with overpriced specialty shops. Instead you’ll find simple shops with old-fashioned appeal. On my short visit, I browsed through a general store, an antique mall and flea market, and a coffee shop, all housed in buildings that have stood for more than a century.
Since the Souder family purchased what is now the H. Souder & Sons General Store in 1907 to start a harness shop, the building has been home to 24 different kinds of business, including a jail, a bank and a gas station.You’ll be taken back to your childhood—or maybe your parents’ childhood—in the store where nostalgic signs advertise candy that you may not have seen, let alone tasted, in years, like Zagnut candy bars or Chuckles sugar-coated jelly candies. Goods are displayed in the crowded shop on wooden crates, in bushel baskets and in barrels. Young and old are invited to sit and play a friendly game of checkers.
On hot summer days enjoy a refreshing cold bottle of soda.
I made two purchases in the store: candied ginger and a bag of loose herbal tea, each priced at around half of what you’d pay in a specialty shop.
The Country Shops combines 100 vendors in an antique mall, indoor flea market, and art gallery. Browse all the nooks and crannies of the two floors of for unique items.
The Coffee Cabin, housed in a log cabin built in 1791, offers an assortment of coffees and teas, treats like cherry pie cookies and banana bread, and soups and sandwiches.
Other businesses in Grabill include restaurants like Nolt’s Amish Restaurant (reservations required) with family style, buffet or menu dining. On Friday evenings, listen to Amish a cappella singing and an Amish yodeler. Visit the Amish Brass Shop for Amish made decorative items, a country store where you can purchase bulk dry foods, and a farm market that sells produce and Amish cheese and butter.
You can fill at least a half day in Grabill, or if you slow down to a horse and buggy pace, you can stretch it into a full day.
Grabill is located 15 miles northeast of Fort Wayne, about a half hour drive. Note that many of the shops are closed Sundays.
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Disclosure: My visit to Grabill was hosted by Visit Fort Wayne, but any opinions expressed in this post are strictly mine.
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