Friday, November 24, 2017

Shipshewana Ice Festival

Last year in December we decided to return to Shipshewana the week following Christmas. We had visited the area a couple years earlier and Shipshewana is lovely at Christmastime, especially when there is a blanket of snow on the ground among the twinkling lights in town and the horses galloping along the roads.

We also picked this time of year for a visit because I had noticed there was an ice festival there. It was a few days after Christmas and I love to travel during that time - when the hustle and bustle of the holiday is behind you, but the Christmas spirit is still alive and everything is decorated in festive holiday beauty.

On our first visit to the Shipshewana Ice Festival - around 2012, we had not yet had snow on the ground in our area that season, but as we arrived in Shipshewana a beautiful layer of white was on the ground and snowflakes were gently falling. We parked beside a park where the kids promptly ran out of the van and engaged in a snowball fight. They were having a great time and I was marveling in the joy of watching my boys all getting along -- until one threw a snowball with a chunk of ice in it at my youngest, which hit him in the face and resulted in an instant bloody nose. Ah, life with boys. Happy times often end with someone hurt or bleeding or something broken.

Anyway, on our most recent visit in 2016, the weather was a bit warmer and there was no snow on the ground, but it was just cold enough to sustain the impressive ice sculptures. 

On each of our visits, we have spent a little time shopping at the Davis Mercantile, Yoder's Red Barn Shoppes and a couple other spots. We've stayed at the Blue Gate Garden Inn on our trips to the area, which is a perfect spot for families. The place was really beautiful at Christmas with lights and trees and poinsettia balls hanging from the ceiling. A cozy fire was going in the lobby. There are several common spaces to enjoy time together as well as an indoor pool and game room. There's an ice cream parlor where the boys loved getting treats. We always enjoy our time there in Shipshewana and particularly slowing down and hanging out in this clean, family-friendly inn.

This year's Shipshewana Ice Festival takes place December 28 and 29. For more information, visit

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