In keeping with my vow to make the most out of the remaining summer, I had an event-filled weekend when my brothers were in town two weeks ago.
The idea came up during one of our weekly Zooms when I said to my Wisconsin brother and his significant other that they needed to come for a few days to do some fun things. Normally they make a quick visit on their way somewhere else or they come to help out with my house. Karen asked when the Nappanee arts and crafts festival was — she’d been wanting to come back after a quick stop there one year on their way out of town.
As we set the date my eldest brother in Maryland said, “I’ll come too!” So he flew into Milwaukee and they drove down together. We invited my sister in Florida but she wasn’t able to come. They arrived early evening on Thursday and I’d made my mom’s meatball recipe with Italian sausage and macaroni and my BFF Deb joined us for dinner.
Friday was “Nappanee Day”. We stopped at the Nappanee Center and they enjoyed seeing all the displays of the Hoosier Cabinets, the 7’ apple pie pan, the Hartman House, the new Emma Schrock and cartoonist displays, among others.
From there we went to The Barns at Amish Acres for the Arts & Crafts Festival and I hate to say that we were disappointed; it seemed like there were fewer vendors than the year before and none really caught our eyes. The old schoolhouse that was always open during the festival with an Amish woman quilting was locked up and my WI brother, Don, was bummed about that. We were also bummed that they didn’t have the food windows open in one of the buildings so there was no sarsaparilla and no donkey ears.
My MD brother, Dan, said he’d never had an elephant ear so we were telling him he had to have a donkey ear, but alas, there weren’t any and he had to settle for an elephant ear. I realize new owners change things but tradition is important, too so I’m hoping some of those traditions will be added back.
Later that evening we went to Nappanee Raceway to watch the Trottingbred races. It was a beautiful evening and we enjoyed watching the horses and luckily left before the storms came through.
Saturday was “South Bend Day” and I had a tight schedule planned. Dan had never been to Notre Dame so we visited the grotto and we wanted to go in the cathedral but there was a wedding so while we waited we went to the bookstore and inside the golden dome building—that was new for me, too.
We managed to get a 10 minute peek inside the cathedral before the Saturday evening Mass started and Don said we should’ve just planned to attend Mass there, but it didn’t fit with the schedule.
After Notre Dame we went to Macri’s Italian bakery for cannolis (a family favorite) to take home and then to Fiddler’s Hearth for dinner. Don likes to go to Irish pub/restaurants so I wanted him to see ours. That put us just a few minutes behind schedule for the start of the South Bend Cubs game.
My brothers were impressed with Four Winds Field, as I thought they would be and Deb and I were surprised by all the apartment buildings that sprung up around the field since the last time we were there a couple of years ago. The game was great and the Cubs won 8-3, which made it exciting. Don kept saying he couldn’t believe he was cheering for the Cubs as the major league team is the archenemy of his Milwaukee Brewers.
We were all exhausted after such a busy day and Deb said she was staying home the next day! On Sunday I’d planned a ‘lake day’ with a ride on The Dixie on Webster Lake in North Webster and then a ride to Winona Village for dinner at the Boathouse and ice cream at the cute shop down the street.
After attending Mass with me and the boat ride we decided to just go home and order pizza. We thought we might go out to The Chief afterwards but even that was quashed.
We did make a quick trip into Goshen on Monday before they left to see the police booth — a mention of the gangsters on Webster Lake reminded us of that — and we had ice cream at The Chief.
It’s a tradition that visitors have to go to Amish Acres and if it’s summertime — The Chief, too! We crammed a lot into a couple of days but I had fun playing tour guide to my siblings. I think it’s a good idea to do that now and then no matter where you live — it helps you appreciate what’s unique in your own backyard!
Denise Fedorow is a columnist and correspondent for the Goshen News. Readers may contact her at [email protected]. Follow Denise on Twitter @DeniseFedorow