Fall is my favorite season. The weather is shifting with each hour, gone are the blistering summer days of sticky, hot heat. The leaves are changing enchanting colors of rust, eggplant, and flaxen. The air holds the scent of burnt wood smoke and possibility Halloween hides in the mind of every child. Pumpkins and gourds replace brightly colored planted pots on the front steps on a porch, hardy mums and blooming kale dot gardens and stoops. It’s a really, really beautiful time of transition in the heart of the Midwest.
We are celebrating the start of the season in Shipshewana, Indiana. A quaint Amish town on the Northern horizontal stretch of I-80, patched with hilly roads, traveled by lightly clomping horses, so stately and regal, towing modest black buggies. We drove in late Friday night, taking the pitches of the backroads in complete blackness. It really, really dark there. This weekend, the first of the month, is the Shipshewana Festival. People travel by staggering numbers, converging on this sleepily peaceful town to watch antique hale baling, shop the local crafts, pick fat ripe apples, and cut the thorny steams of huge orange pumpkins. It’s incredibly charming. It’s Autumn through the eyes of Norman Rockwell…or…the Amish.
It was the perfect lapse in the go, go, go rhythm of my life. Shoddy cell service, crisp air, unique trades…it was just what I need to break from the reality of publishing.
Life is simple in the boundaries of Shipshewana. Everything closes by five in the evening, and the restaurants serve hearty meals ordered “family style” prepared with few ingredients and served with a smile. Side paths through the towns main center lead to hidden stores housed in rickety shacks, bands play in gazebos, and there is the most delicious hot apple cider in styrofoam cups for the bargain price of a dollar.
It’s the perfect weekend getaway. Forget your cell phone, computer and just lose yourself in the culture and the pace of things. Discover a way of life that isn’t dictated by the next call or e-mail. Run your fingers over hand stitched quilts and aprons. Explore the recesses of the Antique Mall, uncover the item you never knew you really wanted. Sip cider, hold hands. It’s that kind of place…and it’s just as perfect as it sounds.