Quilting is a popular activity in Amish country and six communities in Northern Indiana have created the Quilt Garden and Mural Heritage Trail. There are 17 quilt inspired gardens and 21 hand painted quilt themed murals. On two different days, I drove around to see the quilt trail and found it a nice way to learn about the area and enjoy some artistic creations. At each garden and mural site I found a sign with the name and information about the quilt pattern as well as the flowers selected for the gardens.
My favorite of the quilt gardens was located at the Dutch Country Market in Middlebury. They even had a platform to stand on to better view the garden from above. I really liked the lavender colored flowers.
The Dutch Country Market was also a treat to visit. They sell a variety of items including jams, honeys, pickles, peanut butters and their specialty, homemade noodles. The store features a viewing window to watch the process of making the noodles. I saw racks of dough sheets hanging and watched as a worker fed the sheets into a machine to cut into strips.
I bought some noodles to try. Here in Indiana, they use the noodles in a soupy meat based broth. I prefer the browned butter noodles we had in Pennsylvania Amish country. One night for dinner I made some browned butter noodles using noodles from this market and fresh butter from a local Amish dairy.
In the town of Goshen is the Elkhart County Courthouse hosting a quilt garden out front with a pattern of flying geese called, “The Wild Blue Yonder.” The garden was pretty but I thought the grand court house was the most gorgeous sight.
I headed over to Bonneyville Mill County Park in Bristol for two reasons. The main reason was to see the mill, but also to see a quilt mural called “Trapunto and Appliqué.” This is a scenic park with a rushing stream, ponds and forest trails.
Bonneyville Mills is Indiana’s oldest continuously operating grist mill, established in the 1830’s. The day I visited was “Scottish Oats” day with a demonstration on how the oats are ground and used. We were treated to homemade oat cakes and oatmeal served with real maple syrup. Brochures with recipes were also provided. A variety of grains ground on the premises such as flours, oats, spelt and cornmeal are sold here in cute little sacks.
In downtown Bristol is the Elkhart County Historical Museum (below) and another lovely quilt garden called “Turnstile Garden.”
The City of Elkhart has a quilt garden next to the impressive Ruthmere Mansion built in 1910. When I arrived the mansion was having their last guided tour of the day, so I popped in for a look. It took about an hour and a half to see the furnished home and grounds.
Krider’s World’s Fair Garden in Middlebury featured a quilt garden called the “Krider Festival Rose Garden.” Krider’s World’s Fair Garden is a little oasis of lush green that was once displayed at the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair so visitors could see what the nursery business had to offer. Krider’s gained more than 250.000 names and addresses from these visitors after they signed the register. Using this list, Krider Nurseries grew into the largest mail order nursery business in the U.S. One of Indiana’s first garden parks established in a town, it is still maintained today with many of the same features from the time of the World’s Fair.
Each year the Quilt Gardens Heritage Trail brings a change of design and sometimes location. It was a nice scavenger hunt and If I lived in the area it would be fun to see how it changes from year to year. I will close with a photo of the Varns & Hoover Hardware Store which displays the “Welcome to Middlebury Murals.” This store has been in business for over 125 years and is a fixture on Middlebury’s Main Street.