While staying at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, IN, for the Escapees RV rally, we had one morning that didn't have any seminars that we were particularly interested in. That was Wednesday, and it so happens the Shipshewana Flea Market is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Therefore, we decided to drive about 30 minutes northeast to the town of Shipshewana to check out the flea market.
We visited this area a couple of times before, but this is the first time since we became full-timers. When we were here in the past it was always for a long weekend while we were working, and we were never here when the flea market was open. We were excited to finally be able to see the flea market.
We started out in the back row of the market, which had plants, produce and baked goods.
There was a baker who had bread, pizza crusts and focaccia. Focaccia is a flat, Italian bread usually topped with herbs and sometimes with other things like vegetables, cheese and meat. The baker had samples of several types of focaccia, and we couldn't resist buying a small piece of Mediterranean-style with herbs, egg plant and feta cheese. Margery had trouble smiling for the photo with her mouth full.
Not only did we finally get to see the Shipshewana Flea Market, but Wednesday is also the day they hold antique auctions in the large building adjacent to the outside market. When we first went in, it looked and sounded like total chaos. There was stuff stacked everywhere, there were people milling around, and there were 15 to 20 auctions going on at the same time.
All over the building there were auctioneers standing on stools or ladders chanting, and people were shouting out bids.
As we walked around, we started to see how things were set up and that there was actually a good bit of organization behind the confusion. Apparently, those wanting to sell merchandise arrive early, unload their trucks or trailers, and make a stack. Auctioneers and potential bidders work their way down the aisles stopping at each stack until all the merchandise has been auctioned off. Potential bidders can also walk among the stacks to examine merchandise ahead of time.
We came across some interesting things like a metal soap-box-style racer. There was so much stuff and so many people it was hard to get back far enough to get a good shot of the racer, but the next photo shows Paul standing beside it.
One of the lots of merchandise included several old fire helmets that were manufactured back in the 60s and 70s by Paul's former employer MSA. In the photo below, Paul is holding a phenolic (red) and a thermoplastic (black) Topgard® fire helmet.
We didn't bid on anything at the auction, but we ended up buying a couple of small items at the outdoor market. Paul bought some bungee cords to replace some we have that are all stretched out, and Margery got some masking tape for a craft project she learned how to do at the Escapade. We also made another pass down the aisle of baked goods and picked up some pumpkin whoopie pies.
The flea market in Shipshewana is pretty big, and we ended up skipping about a third of it because we wanted to get back to the Escapade in time for an afternoon session, and because we also wanted to stop for a late lunch on the way back.
In addition to being the RV capital of the world, this area is also Amish country, especially around Shipshewana. Our route back to Goshen took us along some back roads where we saw plenty of buggies like the one in the next photo.
We could see the buggy had a trailer; and as we caught up to it, we could see what was in the trailer. This little piggy went to market.
We passed a one-room, Amish school where the kids were outside playing softball during recess. Check out all the bikes - no school buses here.
We always enjoy seeing the well-kept farms. Many of them had laundry hanging out, and the farm in the next photo had a clothes line running from a tree behind the farm house to the peak of the barn roof. Nothing like having your gutchies (Pittsburghese for unmentionables) festooned like signal flags on a sailing ship.
We eventually made our way back to Goshen and the South Side Soda Shop and Diner, which was featured on Triple D (Diners, Drive-ins and Dives) back in 2007. It was originally a 1900s grocery store that added a soda fountain in the 1940s. It was restored in 1986 to a 1950s-style diner.
We both had a Philly cheese steak sandwich that was excellent.
South Side Diner is known for it's pies. We ogled the selection when the waitress brought the tray to our neighbors' table...
...but in the end, Paul resisted dessert, and Margery had a chocolate soda. Chocolate sodas are really hard to find, and they are Margery's favorite. This one was a little expensive (we can't see why a scoop of ice cream, a shot of chocolate syrup and a squirt of seltzer water costs almost $4), but it was one of the best she has ever had.
We made it back to the fairgrounds in time for the afternoon session we wanted to attend. The next day, there were a few more seminars in the morning followed by the closing ceremonies and a farewell picnic in the afternoon, and a dance complete with disc jockey in the evening. We skipped the dance and chilled out at the motor home instead.
The next morning, most of the rally attendees began pulling out. We got a fairly early start and headed east to Berlin, OH.