On a recent trip to Northern Indiana I found a hidden gem in Amish Country – the quaint town of Ligonier. Founded in Noble County in 1835, Ligonier is known more for its Jewish heritage than German being called Little Bethlehem at the height of its settlement. If your in the area, I would suggest doing a little exploration of your own of this beautifully preserved downtown to savor the Jewish, German and, even, French influences.
Here’s 6 stops to get your exploration started:
1. Annie Oakley Perfumery – Here perfumer/entrepreneur Renee Gabet uses the finest, natural perfume essences from around the world to create hand blends producing an elite line of fragrances. Enjoy an amazing sensory experience, learn about Annie Oakley’s history and see the making process at work. You may even come away with a customized fragrance blend.
2. Beautiful Murals of Ligonier – There are 20 murals that dot the historic downtown. Each mural gives a taste of the local history with the most prominent mural being the Strawberry Valley mural on the northeast side of downtown. This mural depicts the early settlers discovering the Native American settlement known as Strawberry Valley, which later became Ligonier.
3. Ligonier Historical Museum – Located on Main Street just west of the downtown shopping district. The museum is housed in a former 1800s one-room Jewish Temple and displays Ligonier’s past industries and residents’ artifacts. Its architecture boasts beautiful, original stained-glass windows, fixtures and steeple. I also suggest a stroll down Main Street. This quiet fairway is lined with mansions of the past and just north of the museum is the town’s original Carnegie Library. [Beautiful.]
4. Kimmell House Inn – About 10 minutes south of Ligonier on US 33 enjoy a French-inspired lunch at this Bed & Breakfast. Known as the Bistro in the Country, the B&B serves up breakfast and lunch [and occasionally dinner] in the ground floor restaurant. Sweet dreams are offered upstairs in the four elegant bedrooms with private bathrooms.
5. Luckey Hospital Museum – Located on US 33 just south of the Kimmell House in the small community of Wolf Lake. Founded in 1931 by Dr. James Luckey, this hospital turned museum offers medical intrigue and nostalgia from the early 20th century. Make an appointment before you go – only guided tours are offered.
6. Ligonier Marshmallow Festival – Held over Labor Day weekend, this festival is not to miss if you love these ooey-gooey treats. Start with a marshmallow roast, then join in the marshmallow bake-off on Saturday and finish up with the annual Marshmallow Parade. The festival has been featured on Across Indiana and Food Network’s All American Festivals.
If your looking for a comfy overnight, then look no further than the Solomon Mier Manor Bed and Breakfast near the heart of Ligonier. Once the home to German-Jewish immigrant Solomon Mier, one of the first Jewish settlers in Ligonier. This stately Italian/Queen Anne-style mansion offers four beautifully-decorated bedrooms with private baths. Rise to a homecooked breakfast in the elegant dining room with its original painted canvas murals, built-in cabinetry and crystal chandelier. The mansion accommodates up to 12 guests.