There is nothing like the fresh bounty of gardens in the summer and nearby Indiana County offers a wealth of opportunities for fresh produce, cheeses and even wines.
Indiana County is home to nearly 300 Old Order Amish families and we can benefit from their simple, wholesome farming ways.
Visit Smicksburg Community Cheese Plant on Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings and watch cheese-makers craft cheese with milk from local Amish farms.
The plant has a wide variety of cheeses, some with unusual flavors and delicious combinations – the cheddar pepperoni is one of my favorites. Stop any day and pick up cheese or a sandwich for a quick snack or, better yet, take it down the road to Windgate Vineyards and Winery.
As you drive up the long driveway to the Windgate Vineyards, you instantly start to relax — even before your first glass of wine.
You have a choice of wines for that first glass — be sure to try a few samples. After you have chosen your favorite to purchase, then you can sit outside and relax with your cheese and wine. Windgate hosts tours and special events.
If you can find the energy to tear yourself away from the beautiful winery, nearby Smicksburg is home to more than 20 specialty shops and numerous Amish family home-based businesses.
I particularly liked The Drying Shed, a shop dedicated to dried flowers and herbs, but there is more than enough shopping to keep you busy for a day or two in the community.
Make another fun stop at Silverbrook Fiber Arts & Sheepskin. The 10-room restored 1860 house is filled with yarn — some from their own animals — as well as spinning wheels, looms and sheepskin products.
There are many lovely farm markets in Indiana County and one of our favorites is Yarnick’s Farm Market. It is the longest running farm market in the county and carries a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats and gifts.
During a visit last year, we got to talk with owners Lynette and Dan Yarnick who love having guests to their beautiful farm.
“People want to know where their food is coming from and it is fun to show them,” Lynette Yarnick said.
Walk into the greenhouse to cut your own herbs, pick your own lettuce and choose beans picked only moments before. Their gift shop offers a variety of items that help you get an early start on holiday shopping.
Anna Dubrovsky, author of Moon Handbook Pennsylvania, recommends stopping at the shop,Downtown Smicksburg Amish Country, for locally made furniture including gun cabinets, cradles, and other Amish-made wares and foods.
We missed that shop, but will hit it on our next time through!
My husband and I enjoy biking along the Rails Trails throughout the state and the Ghost Town Trail in Indiana is a wonderful ride. If you are riding on the trail, stop at the Dillweed Bed & Breakfast and Trailside Shop for a quick snack or take a longer break. They have lovely overnight accommodations if you want to turn your day trip into an overnighter.
For more information about Indiana County visit www.VisitIndianaCountyPa.org.
Daytripper is a weekly travel feature on Moon Patch highlighting location destinations within a day's drive of the township.