July 2007


Rural Indiana

Odon Essen HausOn my way back to Bloomington today, I chose an indirect route by way of Washington, Indiana, up a back road to Odon, Indiana, and then around the Crane Naval Base before coming into Bloomington from the west. My first stop in the city was to pick up my new glasses, which I must say look quite fetching, but will require some time to get used to.

Going up the back-roads of Indiana yields some pleasant encounters: the Amish.

For the non-American readers, the Amish are a group of people for who time stopped back in the late 1800s. They do not use electricity and do not use cars. They are of German extraction and try to remain as invisible as possible to society-at-large.

I passed a few horse and buggies as I traveled up the back roads to Odon and I have to say I was struck: if Governor Daniels gets his way, these quiet traditional communities are going to be shattered by the arrival of an interstate right through the middle of their farmland. Families will be split and communities shattered—all in the name of making it possible to get from Indianapolis to Evansville 15 to 20 minutes faster than is currently possible.

It’s a travesty and the Amish don’t have a voice loud enough to stop it.

Along the way I stopped and picked up a copy of the Loogootee Tribune, which I took with me to Odon. I ate lunch at the Odon Essen Haus—an Amish restaurant that shows the Germanic roots of the community. While eating, I read the Loogootee Tribune and was shocked to discover that it actually contained news!

Who would have thought that in today’s USA Today era that newspapers could have news in them?! It was actually an interesting newspaper—and it had more content than I had stomach to eat from the incredibly inexpensive buffet. I’ve been to the Odon Essen Haus before, and I must return again. It is quite the enjoyable and inexpensive experience.

6 comments to Rural Indiana

  • Ed

    Now you went through my territory! I like the Essen Haus in Odon, but the Black Buggy in Washington is better. The Gasthauf Essen Haus in Montgomery is the best. My brother lives in Odon and has a camper at Montgomery. He works at Crane. The Amish are hard to understand. They won’t drive a car but will ride in one. They don’t have electricity, but their neighbors can’t get them away from the TV.

  • It’s nice to know that there are still little pockets of a more basic way of living. It sounds like you had a good time in Odon. It’s very interesting to hear about these tucked-away, timeless places.

  • Bud

    I LOVE the Amish. Lived in central Illinois for over 30 years, not more than 40 miles from Arcola / Arthur area. Had our kitchen remodeled by them, furniture refurbished, etc. One day stopped in a small grocery store to pick up some Amish noodles and apple butter. The YOUNG girl waiting on me in her modest Amish clothes had the BIGGEST hickey I´d ever seen on the side of her neck. I was so taken “aback” that I know she saw me. Perhaps they REALLY do “have it right.”

  • @Ed: I’ve been to the Black Buggy; I don’t remember much about it. The Gasthauf, as I remember it, is too touristy, and expensive. The Odon Essen Haus is inexpensive and small. I don’t need an enormous choice at the buffet.

    @Cameron: I hope you find your basic way of life soon… the Amish pockets are few and far between and whenever I take a European to see one, they are always amazed.

    @Bud: Those Amish girls are probably hard–even for Amish boys. How old was she?

  • Ed

    The Black Buggy includes the price of drinks in the Buffet price. I enjoy the Saurkraut and Sausages.
    The Gasthauf is a bit pricey. I went there with my brother and family recently. some of us ordered water and others Tea or Soda. Everyone was charged the same. There was a yard sale going on and we found a few bargains.

  • I find the Amish quite interesting. I think I should do a wiki research to know more about them