Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Celebrating 22 Years of Marriage ~ Anniversary Trip to Syracuse & Nappanee, Indiana

July 13 was our 22nd anniversary.
Woohoo to us!

Since it fell on a Saturday, we knew we'd possibly have the opportunity to get away.
After a bit of planning & arranging, getting the boys situated
{Garrett has a busy work schedule, Gunnar was flying out to OK for a week, etc},
we starting making some calls.
We had no place in particular in mind ... we just knew we didn't want to drive over 3 hours or so
& we wanted to visit someplace we'd never been before.
After a couple of recommendations from a sweet church friend, we decided on where we'd go.

And here's where the story gets good!
We'd decided we go to northern Indiana to a few small towns: 
Winona Lake, Nappanee, & Shipshewana.
After checking online & making several phone calls,
we were quickly finding out there were NO available rooms anywhere for the weekend!
The last place James called, he asked the lady were there any other places she'd recommend to stay,
seeing as how we were finding nothing.
She said to try calling Oakwood Resort in Syracuse, Indiana.
She said it was a very nice place situated right on Lake Wawasee.
We called, they had rooms, & even gave us a discounted rate!

When we pulled onto the grounds, we knew we were in for a treat!
We really felt like it was a God extra-special bonus blessing!
This was SO much better than staying at an ordinary hotel!

It wasn't coming up online because it had been newly remodeled/reopened.
Click here & read all about Oakwood Resort ... it has an awesome history dating back to the 1893!

The resort has 2 restaurants.
This one is called the Back Porch ... live singing Thursday - Saturday.
All around the resort are park benches, chairs, chaise lounges, rockers, & wicker sofas.
After check in on Thursday evening, we found some comfy chairs & watched the water
while listening to the singing.
This restaurant was a popular spot for boats to pull up to, dock, & walk up for a bite to eat.

Around every corner on the lower level were sitting areas just like this one, complete with leather sofas,
chairs, tables, & a fireplace ... all with a view of Lake Wawasee.

Our room for the weekend.

 Loved the crisp summer colors.

For our 1st full day, we decided to drive around Syracuse in the morning for the lay of the land
& then head to Nappanee to spend the day.
As we get into town, we start to notice signs for quilt gardens & this was the 1st of many that we saw.

This beautiful quilt garden was in the yard of Coppes Commons, which we went into first.
Coppes Commons was once a factory, the premier kitchen/cabinet makers  {Hoosier cabinets}
that put Nappanee on the map, making custom kitchens for such customers as Elvis & the Kennedy's.

This beautiful building is now full of shops & an Amish bakery & restaurant.
It has many of the original features, even some of the machines & equipment is still on display.

 Such character in the wood floors!

There are a couple spaces that can be rented for events.
Love the arched brick wall!

There were workers inside this room setting up for a wedding.

This is the front of another little shop.

 This is a small grocery store inside Coppes Commons.

Check this out: homemade twinkies, which I've never seen these in an Amish bakery before.
This bakery was full of goodies galore.
We bought a mini-loaf of pumpkin bread & one of white bread...
& one sour cream cookie which we shared ... & all were delicious.

So happy to spend a few days with my sweetie.

After going through Coppes Commons, we explored the town, watching all the Amish comings & goings.
We traveled down many country roads admiring the busy farmsteads.
We saw many men & women working in their barns & fields, plenty of kiddos playing outside
& we even stopped at various country stores, most of them right the in folks front yards.

Here is another one of the quilt gardens.

It was near this Amish schoolhouse that we witnessed something that we've never seen before ...
& quite honestly, it nearly stopped us in our tracks.
We ended up turning around & driving past the sobering scene three different times.
I'll tell you all about it in an upcoming post.

We always ask the locals about where to eat & what to do ... their opinions are much better
then you'll get from looking on the internet.
One sweet shop owner, after congratulating us on our anniversary & giving us a bagful of homemade
chocolate turtle candies that she sells in her store, recommended that we walk down to the library.
She told us of how it had won a prestigious design award for the remodel/restoration project.
Boy, that was a treat.
They left the old library just as it was & they built right around it!
You walk through the doors of the new building only to see the historic old building, the steps,
the railing, the whole nine yards!
It was so, so neat!

My favorite part was the way they have all the original windows opened.

The front entrance into the old library.
Isn't this SO neat?!

 This stained glass is part of the new addition.

James snapped this pic as we were walking around town.
Wouldn't this be awesome hanging in a farmhouse?

We also visited Amish Acres.
It's an 80-acre attraction built around an Old Order Amish homestead,
which is on the for National Register for Historic Places.
You can meander through on your own or you can pay for a tour that includes going
through the Amish home, riding in a wagon & in a buggy.
There are various little shops to browse through to buy fudge, cider, & decorative items,
as well as a nice dine-in restaurant.

Our favorite thing about Amish Acres is the Round Barn Theater.
We came back that evening for the late show production of NunSense A-men,
a hilarious live show about 5 nuns {played by men} who were having issues in the convent.
We laughed our heads off.

Another couple fun things about our trip was riding on the Dixie, a double-decker sternwheel boat...

The top right picture in the collage below shows a Pizza King,
the only chain-type restaurant that we ate at the whole trip.
This is where you buy your ticket & board the Dixie.
We decided to have our anniversary dinner here {the height of fancy & romantic}
& then take the 9pm boat ride.
It was 75 minutes long, going around the whole lake.
We were serenaded by the fella in the pic ... he sang old love songs the whole trip.
This made up for the lack of romantic restaurant for dinner ;)
Nah, anywhere with my baby can be romantic.

22 years with this man ... & more in love than ever!

 AND ... before dinner & the Dixie ride, we went to an old-fashioned baseball game.
It was played by the rules of 1858 & the town team wore period uniforms.
I love how the teams were comprised by as many Amish as English.

Day 2 was spent exploring Winona Lake &  Shipshewana.
Winona Lake is a very pretty & quaint small town built around the lake for which it is named.
It's boasts of quite an extensive religious history, at one time having 5 different institutes/organizations:
Winona College, Winona School of Theology, headquarters of the free Methodist church,
& still home to Grace College & Grace Theological Seminary.
It was also home to preacher and professional baseball player Billy Sunday
& Christian musician and preacher Homer Rodeheaver.
In addition to the beautiful & serene grounds of Grace College, there are two museums,
the Billy Sunday home,& a variety of artisan shops & restaurants, all right on the lake.

Here we are on the grounds of Grace College.

As for Shipshewana, we've been there many times & enjoyed stopping in all our favorite stores.
We also visited a couple of newly built stores, this being one of them, big building full of various shops.
This is the only pic we took in Shipshewana.
I think we were needing a nap ;)

On Sunday, our 3rd day of the get-away, we started the morning by sitting at the lake for a couple hours,
watching the all the boats ... I think at one point, we counted 17 sailboats!

After packing up & getting on the road, we stopped for breakfast & then took our time heading back.

We decided to stop in Anderson & Pendleton, driving by all our old stomping grounds,
visiting the cemetary, & having lunch & dessert at 2 of our favorite places.
Again, more pics for another post.

All in all, we had one of the best trips ever.
We really did.
I have thought about this get-away nearly everyday since it ended.

So, thanks for staying with me for a long-ish post.
We like to take lots of pics to document our road trips & vacations for an online scrapbook, of sorts.
I have plenty more pics that I didn't share cause it's so hard to narrow them down for the blog post.

Since we're foodies, we had some good eats all weekend long.
We decided at the beginning of the trip that we'd try all new places, if at all possible,
only eating at local or new-to-us restaurants.
I'll tell you all about that in the next post ...
AND I'll tell you about two first-time experiences with the Amish.
You don't want to miss it.

 As always, thanks for stopping by.


Monday         Make It Yourself Monday        The Better Mom       C.R.A.F.T     
Tuesday    Domestically Divine     A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                   Women Living Well    Southern Lovely     The Thrifty Home
Thursday      The Shabby Creek Cottage     Lamberts Lately
Friday    Happy-Go-Lucky     The Thrifty Groove      Farm Blog Hop
Sunday  Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways


  1. Beautiful pictures!! Looks like you had an amazing time. Happy Anniversary!

  2. Happy Anniversary! I love trips to new places!

  3. Looks like a wonderful trip. Sometimes there's nothing like a little getaway! Happy anniversary to you both!

    1. Thank you! You're right ... something about getting away just lifts your spirit & puts in spring in your step.