Posted by The Lam | Jul 24, 2008
Eerie in Indiana... Goshen, Indiana

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Goshen, Indiana, and its surrounding areas two weekends ago. It was a trip planned by the Community Cell Group at my church and I was invited to join them despite my non-membership. It was a good time of fellowship, of meeting new friends, and learning more about the Amish and Mennonite history.

The Cell Group knew a fellow named Jeremy who from time to time would attend the cell group meetings in Toronto. He suggested to the group to visit Goshen (his home town) and over a short while, this trip came into fruition. Jeremy would serve as our personal tourguide over the weekend.

We stayed at this place called Das Dutchman Essenhaus Inn (see here). At $104 per night, I was expecting it to be something akin to a Super 8 Motel or some reasonable facsimile. To my surprise, it was quite the opposite. It was a Mennonite operated facility which includes the afforementioned inn, a bevy of shops, a mini-golf course, a large buffet restaurant, a bakery, amongst other things. The suites that we stayed in were unique in that all the furniture was all handmade and the design of each room was customized to give off its own distinct feel. No two rooms were alike, which added to its uniqueness.

We toured Goshen College, which is a Mennonite College for about 1,000 students. We were impressed with the $25 million newly built music facility which featured state-of-
the-art equipment to accomodate concerts, recitals, sound recording & production, and so forth.

We also did a tour of the RV Hall of Fame as Goshen is the RV manufacturing capitol of America. On paper, it sounded boring, but it was more interesting than expected. We got the chance to climb in and explore million dollar RVs, view RVs from every decade, and even see RVs owned by famous people (including Mae West, hubba, hubba).

We learned the history of the Anabaptists, Mennonites, and Amish through meetings with various historians working at Goshen College as well as a visit to the Menno-Hof, a Mennonite cultural museum.

The church (Maple City Chapel) we visited on Sunday was also unique. The building itself used to be a Wal-Mart. However, I guess Wal-Mart deemed it too small, so they bought the land across the street and built one of those massive new Wal-Marts that does groceries and all that junk. So their old building was sold off and turned into an entertainment facility; mainly being a roller-rink and a 10-screen cinema. After that business closed down, Maple City took over the building. The roller-rink was turned into the main stage area and 9 of the 10 cinemas were stripped of their seating and turned into fellowship rooms and offices. They left one of the cinemas I guess so that they could show their own movies time to time. The Sunday service was upbeat and relevant. The demographic of the church seemed skewed towards young families; there were not many elderly people. The atmosphere of the church was extremely friendly, everyone welcomed us with opened arms.

After service we had lunch at this place called the Lux Cafe. It was awesome. The food was great in quality and abundance (with a low price tag). Bonus points were awarded because the waitresses were very attractive. Keep in mind this was a Mennonite town ie. predominantly German ie. tall and blonde.

What stood out the most for me during this trip was the hospitality and friendliness offered by our Mennonite brethren. Their hospitality was second to none. My favourite thing however was their world famous broaster chicken. As a big fan of KFC, I've got to say that this was better. Christ almighty, it was awesome. There are a few restaurants that offer all-you-can-eat broaster chicken, and I highly recommend you try it if you are in that area.

You can see all the pictures here.

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