If your travel habits include staying at bed and breakfasts, you’ve probably experienced a variety of homes. Some are fancy while others are not.
Shipshewana’s Old Carriage Inn is a simple ranch-style home. It’s very clean, and it is home away from home for many people, such as Becky, from St. Louis, a visitor I talked with. Becky, an attorney, has booked her stay at Old Carriage Inn for eight straight years. She loves the comfortable beds, raves over the peaches and cream French toast, and boasts on the owner-turned-friend, Brigitte.
Meet Brigitte Forstinger
Brigitte is a kind soul. I knew it from the moment we met. She greeted me with a calm smile and welcoming eyes.
Brigitte is also originally from Austria, her accent still strong and her words chosen carefully.
How did she end up in Shipshewana?
She explains: “I was 16 when we moved to the States from Austria. My dad moved to South Bend, and I lived there for 17 years. The hotel business brought me to Shipshewana many years ago. I worked for what is now Super 8, and then it was the only hotel.
“From there I managed the 5 and 20 Country Kitchen Restaurant. Eventually I wanted to buy a house. This one came up for sale and already was a B&B. That was the summer of 2001, and I have been here ever since.”
Brigitte is busy. She has 11 rooms, five bedrooms in her home and another six in her nicely renovated two story barn-turned sleeping quarters, separate from her house. She can sleep up to 11 couples or 40-44 women when they share beds.
The setting is as inviting as its owner. The yard features two different patios with tables and chairs in abundance. Mature trees provide a natural shade, and flowers are abundant.
One special feature is the yard’s walkway taking you to a gate that leads to the Flea Market, which is located just a few hundred feet from Brigitte’s back yard. This pathway is lined with glorious greenery; it all was so intriguing to me I felt like Dorothy on the yellow brick road headed to the land of Oz.
Brigitte calls her guests “a blessing. I have fantastic customers,” she brags. “I’ve had a lot of newcomers, but I also have many returns. They re-book when they leave because they want their same rooms when they return!”
Given her kind spirit, Brigitte is the blessing to her guests, too.
For more information on the Old Carriage Inn, click here.
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