End of day six, November 23, 2017
Today was Thanksgiving Day 2017. Last night we stayed at The Inn at Amish Acres in Napanee, Indiana. Amish Acres is America’s only Old Order Amish farm listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is the eighty acre Stahly-Nissley-Kuhns farmstead settled by Indiana’s first Amish pioneers.
Thanksgiving lunch was in the barn. We took our time getting over to the barn from the Inn even though we knew that the doors opened at 10:30am on a first come first served basis. We figured not a lot of people would be interested in having Thanksgiving lunch that early so we arrived around 11:00am. We realized immediately that we had figured wrong.
The double doors of the barn opened to reveal the place was already packed with people. Squeezing inside I tugged the door closed behind me. Smashed between the door and the people waiting in line panic and claustrophobia began to set in as I imagined getting stuck in this sea of hungry souls for hours. I managed to calm my anxiety by remembering that we had driven over a thousand miles to have this experience. Sharon inched her way toward a vacant seat on a bench to wait for me to get through the line. As I stood motionless for what seemed like an eternity I noticed Sharon had relinquished her seat on the bench to an elderly lady. With no movement and people continuing to arrive the door was now standing open as people were forced to stand outside waiting for the lines to move. The crowd pressed tighter together in the two lines. Panic began welling up inside me again as bodies pressed against me on all sides. I was on the verge of giving Sharon the signal to bolt toward the door to escape drowning in this ocean of strangers when I felt myself propelled forward as my feet finally began to move. A full one spot forward, optimism returned.
Thankfully my forward path crossed with an entertaining couple, a mother and son, in the line next to me. She was probably in her late seventies and he was my age, tall, attractive, but obviously not any better than me at making relationship choices since he was spending Thanksgiving alone with his mother. We proceeded to engage in an informal flirtatious race to the counter, albeit shuffling by inches-at-a-time. Before long our cheerful energy had become a distraction for the others waiting in line and there was chatting and laughing as they joined in the shuffle race. Much to my surprise it became apparent that they were all locals, not tourists like me. Eating at the barn is a popular local holiday tradition and here I was thinking they were all probably curious tourists like me. Finally, a cheerful young cashier was asking me how many people were in my party. I had won the shuffle race!
For a moment I thought about asking my tall charming competitor and his mother to join us at our table, but remembered that sometimes we can ruin a fun moment by making more of it than it was. So I answered that their were two members in my party and received a golden ticket for two spots at a treasured table. Sharon had noticed me advancing and positioned herself at the dining room entrance. We didn’t have to wait long now, we were escorted through the throng of diners and to our table . Once we seated we realized our eternity of waiting probably equated to less than forty five minutes from the time we walked in. Isn’t it amazing how our mind can put us through needles turmoil?
What a blessing awaited us. We were positioned by the windows with a beautiful view overlooking the grounds. Four types of buffets offered delicious dining choices. Amish servers kept our drinks filled and plates cleared. The chatter surrounding us was cheerful as neighbors voices rang thru the rafters greeting each other in joyful tones.
After dessert and coffee we decided to explore the shops on the grounds. As we exited the barn much to our amazement the double line waiting to dine now stretched all the way to the parking lot. A person has to really want to experience something to stand in the freezing temperatures for up to an hour waiting to get in. This sight made us glad that we had remained calm, I had won the shuffle race and we had received the reward of an experience so many hoped to partake of.
After browsing through the shops we started toward our next destination. The night before we had decided to change our route and go through the mountains on our way home so we were now headed toward West Virginia. The afternoon drive through the Indiana and Ohio countrysides was lovely. We even got to see a few windmill farms.
We capped off our day with a late supper at IHOP. It always reminds me of family vacations as a kid because my dad loved to stop at International House of Pancakes for breakfast. A short time later we were preparing for a good nights rest and looking forward to whatever adventure the drive home was to bring.