Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend Get-A-Way, E Awards, and Daffodils

This weekend, I went on a 'girlfriends' get away to Shipshewana, Indiana. What a wonderful time of shopping, sight seeing, and enjoying the company of my 2 other companions!

Shipshewana, located in northwestern Indiana very close to the Michigan state line, is an Amish community. In fact, the surrounding communities of Nappanee, Goshen, Middlebury and others also have large populations of Amish. The Amish live a very simple life of plain neat houses, no electricity or cars, and unadorned clothing of black and simple colors. What we see as quaint or odd is a way of life dedicated to love of family, stewardship of the land, and a deep abiding devotion to their religion. I find it slightly ironic, but they have used our curiosity about them and their way of life, and turned it into a profitable business.

This small town of maybe 500+ has at least 60 shops, 7 or 8 motels and a dozen or more bed and breakfasts, all designed to lead us at, least for a while, back to that simpler, less stressful way of life. And we were transported to calmer, more tranquil, and quiet era.
We arrived late Friday evening to horse and buggies, driving along side the roads on wide shoulders, with battery operated blinking red lights on the back and headlights on the front. Our motel had called us about 10 pm and asked our arrival time. When we replied that we wouldn't be there before 10:30, they told us our room number, said we'd find our key under the front door mat and they would see us in the morning! The next morning, we woke to the clomping of horse hooves on the street and crowing roosters at the farm across the street from our motel. Oh yes, and rain and cold!

Undaunted, we headed out for a drive around town to orientate ourselves and plan our siege of the shops! Breakfast at "Wanna Cup?" and our destinations agreed upon, we set out for a full day of sightseeing and shopping. One of the first places we came to had this lovely water feature in front.
Although there were no flowers, the shrubs, small trees, and the stones made for interesting eye candy.
I won't go into details about the shops and the time we spent in them. Nor will I bore you with our purchases. What I will tell you is we shopped until closing time. In Shipshewana closing time is 5:00. Thank goodness! I couldn't have lasted until 8:00. After a rest back at our motel, we drove to Middlebury, about 7 miles to the east, to eat and shop some more at what is billed as Indiana's largest restaurant, 'Das Dutchman Essenhaus'. They do stay open a little later as do their shops. Wonderfully homemade foods and pies, delightful crafts and beautiful handmade furniture awaited us inside!

Tired beyond belief, we finally retreated to our room, but not before getting a picture of a horse drawn carriage we met on the way back.

Sunday morning and it was still drizzling with flakes of snow floating down in between raindrops. No horses on the streets, but the rooster didn't realize what day it was and he carried on in his usual fashion. No shops were open, I think our pocketbooks were grateful, nor were there any restaurants, and after a lazy morning, we headed home-less stressed, more relaxed, and decidedly lighter in the purse. What a wonderful time we had enjoying the shopping, the sights and maybe most importantly, each other!
Now, for this. Last week I was awarded the "E" for excellent in the blogging world by Brenda of the Brenda Blog. I am most appreciative and really don't think I am worthy, but will accept it humbly. The rules are to pass it on to 10 others you think are worthy. You must go to their site and leave the award in their comment section. I have thought about this all weekend(between shopping, eating, and gabbing) and am having a time picking only 10. Most of the ones I read are so very good in their own unique way. I have, finally, narrowed my list to 10 and want you to find out for yourselves why they are so 'excellent' by going to them and reading.

Update: Blooming Writer and My Wildlife Sanctuary already have "E" awards and cannot(by the rules) accept them again. But rather than pick 2 more, I am going to leave my list as is. I want you to check these out and hopefully make them a part of your regular reading!

#1. Prairie Rose's Garden. (This is my life-long best friend and I have always loved her wit, her writing style, and how she sees the world!)
#2. Greenbow (reading her blog gave me the courage to start my own)
#3. Blooming Writer ( always! always! very interesting posts!)
#4. Mary's View ( a truly gifted photographer! and she wears her heart on her sleeve)
#5. My Wildlife Sanctuary ( one of my first friends in the blogging world and she is truly dedicated to making her space a sanctuary for all life!)
#6. Beth's Stories ( Beth has a way of bringing you into her life in the mountains of Maine and showing you her love of family, gardens, and life!)
#7. Robin's Nesting Place ( I love Robin's photos of birds and gardens, and how she shares her life with her readers)
#8. The Brenda Blog ( she writes so sinerely of her life and shares her beautiful gardens in wonderful photos)
#9. Water When Dry ( a look at the southwest and all of it's native plants. Her posts are full of information and glorious close-ups)
#10. High and Dry (last but not least! A delightful look at the world of her area in pictures and writings!) Amy declined as she already has
#10. Julie Zickefoose ( Bird pictures- out of this world! And such a s sense of humor)
I feel my day just isn't complete with out reading these and many, many more! I have learned, laughed, cried and shared with all these, my blogging friends! ( To get your E, click on the "E' save it to your files, then add it from your files through 'add an element' in customize)

And Finally!! My daffodils have bloomed!

Enjoy your week!


Cheryl said...

Lovely post Beckie, what a great time you had, such fun, shopping eating, and best of all with your friends.

Thank you so much for giving me the excellent blogger award. I am truly grateful to you, it has amazed me that people like what I do and write. I mainly started blogging purely for me,I did't expect to make such lovely friends on this journey.

Cheryl said...

Hi Beckie. Silly me forgot to congratulate you. Well deserved. I have to say you are the one person who never fails to comment on peoples posts. Your comment are always worthwhile and I am always pleased to see your name come up on my comment section. Your posts are never repetitive and I feel show the true Beckie.
Well done you deserve it Best blogger.

Amy said...

Thanks so much for thinking of me Beckie, I really appreciate it! Unfortunately, Meems over at Hoe and Shovel gave me this award last week, and according to the rules I'm not allowed to accept it twice. The good part is that now you can nominate someone else :)

You go on such great outings! I'm starting to feel the need to get out - probably because I've been stuck inside with a cold and two sick children while the weather has been just fabulous :)

beckie said...

Thank you, Cheryl. I do enjoy answering the comments I get. To me, it like we are having a conversation.(and I love to talk to friends!) I, too, started blogging as a way to record my garden and my life. I am amazed at the response I have gotten. But more importantly, I feel I have made true friends! And how wonderful is that!!

beckie said...

Amy, I will award to another, but am so glad you have one. You deserve it!

Cheryl said...

Beckie I did not realise you could not have more than one, I also have one. I don't display my awards so that is my fault.

Tku anyway, you have another one to give.

Beth said...

Hi Beckie, your weekend sounds delightful and your daffodils are so pretty. Congratulations on the Excellence award and thank you for thinking of me. You are kind and your posts and comments on my posts are always enjoyed.

beckie said...

Well. shoot! I wanted to be the one to give it to you!:) You deserve 2. I will give it to another one though. (I'll admit, I didn'tknow the rules eithr before Amy mentionrd them.)

beckie said...

Beth, thank you and you are welcome. I look forward to your posts as well. You write about such diverse subjects, and I am always entertained!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Gosh Beckie thanks so much for giving me the big E. I am glad I helped you along with your blog.

I too was out of town this weekend. It must have been girls weekend away. I have never been to Shipshawana but I know people that go there yearly as a get away. It must be as fun as you say.

Thank you again for the Award.

Teri C said...

What a fun trip. I was at that same little interesting village many years ago and before I was sketching. I need to go back!!!

Congrats on your award. Wonderful looking through here.

No Rain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
No Rain said...

Hi Beckie,
First, congratulations on your award, and secondly, thanks for thinking of me. These memes get around fast! I checked out the blogs I would nominate, and they have all accepted this award before, so I'm going to have to pass this time as I don't want to just add blogs indiscriminately, which I think takes away from the award. I've visited most of the blogs you've listed, and will get to the others this evening.
Thanks again,

Rose said...

(Beckie, I know I left you a comment earlier. If it comes flying in from space, you can just delete it. I was probably frustrated from working on a new post and eliminating all the extra spacing twenty times.) Congratulations, Beckie, on the award. You certainly deserve it, since you are the one who got me started in this whole blogging community in the first place.
And thank you for nominating me. Now if I can just figure out how to transfer that file..

Also, I'm jealous about your trip this weekend--sounds like so much fun!

Hedgewitch said...

really interested to hear about the Amish way of life .. and thanks for the links to some more blogs to read!

Mary said...

Dear Beckie,

I'm flattered to receive an award from you. I'm having fun getting to know you and understand why you received the big E award. You're a delight.

I should display my awards on my sidebar but the html code is such a hassle and I get frustrated too quickly, ya know?