Grabill, Indiana may be a close neighbor to Fort Wayne, in Allen County, but if you didn’t know it, you would swear you were in the middle of nowhere.
That’s because Grabill has chosen to keep their tiny town small and homey, creating that small-town vibe that makes the thousands of annual tourists feel at home every year.
There are 1800 people who live in Grabill, including a lot of Amish people who are used to people coming to their town to get a feel for a real Amish experience.
“Grabill is more real, more authentic than other Amish towns,” said Jim Gehrig, president of the Grabill Chamber of Commerce. “They focus on bringing in tourists, we’re just trying to show people what life in a little town is really like.”
Of course, like other small towns, Grabill has H. Grabill’s General Store, Coffee Cabin, and Country Shops. It’s a large complex of small stores, shops, and an antique and crafts mall. We had a good time perusing the general store, which had a lot of candy and treats from way back when I was a kid, as well as my parents’ day. Having lived in small-town Indiana for a number of years, I also recognized a lot of the brands and goods they were still selling.
Finally, we even had a chance to ride in an Amish buggy, being pulled along through the main street of Grabill. It wasn’t my first time in a buggy, although it was my first time in an Amish buggy.
We spent quite a bit of time around Grabill that morning, visiting the shops, checking out the antiques and crafts — which we found out is a great way for small towns to stimulate the economy with visitors; craft shops bring in a lot of visitors — and enjoying the coffee and buggy ride, we were snared by its charms.
Even after living in a small town in Amish country, I still found a lot of things new about how the Amish lived and how this small town worked. It was definitely a highlight of the entire trip.