• Oct 10

Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

Chives are a member of the lily family and are grown for the many uses of their leaves and flowers.  Both onion and garlic chives are grown and used much alike.  The hollow, round leaves of onion chives, as the name implies, gives an onion flavor when added to foods.  The leaves of garlic chives differ in that they are flat and add a garlic flavor to foods.  Garlic chives are sometimes also called Chinese chives.

Plant chives in rich, well- drained soil and a sunny location.  They like plenty of compost or a good slow-release fertilizer at planting time.  They will not need much care other than water until their roots have established.  If you harvest often, apply a liquid fertilize every three to four weeks.  Onion chives produce purple globe flowers and the garlic chives will have many small white flowers.  By keeping the flowers snipped the plant will produce more leaves.  Cut the plants back to the ground after a few freezes have occurred in late fall.  Chives grow in clumps and can be divided in the spring.  Garlic chives will reseed themselves generously, and I mean generously!  They produce such pretty flowers, but in those flowers are many seeds.  If you are going to grow them, place them in an area so they can take off without them obtaining a weed status.  That happened to me.  I had to dig up all the “stray” plants.  Of course if you snip the flowers off you will not have that problem.

Neem or insecticidal soap can be used to rid the plant of aphids.  Spray thoroughly, getting down into the crown of the clump.  Watch for aphids during the growing season, but especially in the spring.

Avoid harvesting the leaves on a newly planted chive until the second year.  This gives the roots a chance to become well established.  After the leaves are about 6” tall they may be harvested by cutting them off about 1” above the soil line.  Although fresh is preferred, you can store some for winter use by chopping them into ½” lengths and placing them into ice cube molds with some water.  Freeze them, then defrost an ice cube or two when you need them.  You can also preserve them in herb butters, oils and vinegars.

Add the chopped leaves to food at the very end of the cooking process as their mild flavor is destroyed by heat.  The purple flowers of onion chives are also edible and look pretty floating in soup.  I find the flavor of garlic chives to be a bit stronger than onion chives.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information is available online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Extension service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Karen Weiland, Master Gardener, Purdue Extension, LaGrange County

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  • Sep 26

You’re a simple guy or gal, right? All  you need is a place to lay your head at night. A comfortable, clean bed. A bit of television to watch until you get sleepy.

The rest of the time, we’ll find you exploring the area. Enjoying parks, lakes, or the Amish backroads.

Enter two budget hotels: Patriot Inn in Howe, and Budget Motel in LaGrange.

Both motels offer the basics when the basics are all you want to pay for so you can go about your business everywhere else.

The Patriot Inn is located near the I 80-90 Toll Road, perfect for visiting the Michiana Event Center, downtown Howe, or Howe Military School. You’ll definitely want to start your day at the Howe Restaurant where you can get homemade, fresh, huge cinnamon rolls.

Budget Motel in LaGrange is right downtown near the intersection of US 20 and SR 9. You’ll have easy access to all the lakes, downtown shopping, and many LaGrange County parks. Start your day from this hotel by visiting the ever-popular Foltz Bakery.

Best of all, Shipshewana is a quick 10 minute drive from both places. Along the way, explore the backroads cottage businesses, or download a map for the LaGrange County Barn Quilt Trail.

Then in the evening, come back, get some great shut-eye, and have another great day tomorrow.

Just think of all the money you’ll save….

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  • Sep 22

No need to fear spending October in Shipshewana and LaGrange County. We have no ghosts, goblins, or other spooky items. What we do have are family-friendly events that will leave you a-howling for more. Read on to see what we have planned just for you:

October 1-31: “The Confession: The Musical,” Blue Gate Theater
This musical, revised from the books by Christian fiction writer Beverly Lewis, will have you both laughing and crying. You’ll also enjoy the beautiful songs, written exclusively for the musical.”

10/3-10/5 Fall Crafters Fair, downtown Shipshewana
This very popular annual event always packs the town with crafters, lovers of crafts, and entertainers. Food vendors are set up along with craft tents, a farm animal petting area, and four tents of beautiful, handmade arts and crafts.

10/10-10/11 Gold City,  7 pm, Blue Gate Theater
Since the group’s formation some 30 years ago in the historical gold rush town of Dahlonega, GA, this Southern Gospel quartet has consistently remained at the top of their field with songs like “In My Robe of White” and “I’ll Think I’ll Read it Again.”

10/12 Lonesome Meadow Band, 6:30 pm, Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Middlebury
Enjoy a mixture of classic and progressive bluegrass from a group known from Canada to Florida; you’ll especially enjoy their version of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

10/15 LaGrange County Council on Aging Senior Expo, Michiana Event Center, Howe
This event is free and open to the public of all ages. This is a great opportunity to gather information about local businesses, health care, and senior service providers. Several health screenings will be available as well.

10/16 Toy Auction, Shipshewana Antique Auction Building, 9 am-1 pm
In Conjunction with our regular Wednesday Miscellaneous and Antique Auction, this exciting auction also specializes in vintage toys. Remember Rock’em Sock’em Robot or that special Barbie case? They might just be there!

10/17 The Hoppers, Blue Gate Theater
This family of gospel singers has had six number one releases, beginning with “Here I Am” in 1990, then “Milk and Honey,” “Mention My Name,” “Anchor to the Power of the Cross,” “Yes I am, and “Jerusalem.”

10/23-10/25 Home, Holiday & Fashion Show Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Middlebury
Registration is open for this event, now in its 14th year that includes a fashion show, delicious Essenhaus meal, gift ideas, show specials, holiday decorating tips, door prizes, and gift ideas.

10/24-10/26 Dailey & Vincent, Blue Gate Theater
In 2008, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent became the most heralded new act in 2008. Today they are widely known for their unique sound and blend, but never straying from their core bluegrass sound.

10/26 Newbury Square Swap Meet & Flea Market, Daylight-1 pm, Shipshewana
Enjoy a smaller flea market experience at this monthly event located just west of the SR 5 and US 20 intersection. Parking Fee: $2.00.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up to receive all our blogs in your e mail inbox for free by visiting www.VisitShipshewana.org, clicking on the blog link, and submitting your e mail address on our secure site.

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  • Sep 15

Of all the articles I have written on lodging in Shipshewana & LaGrange County, almost all the places featured provide access to the local culture.

Hollow Ridge Lodging is the most unique for numerous reasons, and one of the eight reasons listed below might just be why you choose to stay here.

Reason One: Hollow Ridge Lodging is owned by an Amish family.
While most bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, and bed and breakfasts are owned by very friendly, hospitable owners, and are great places to stay, Hollow Ridge is located right on the property of an Amish family, the Fermen Hostetler family.

Reason Two: The Hostetler family will show you around.
LeWayne, the fifteen year old son, is one of eight siblings. Not all the siblings still live at home, but LeWayne works nearby and also was my guide. LeWayne was interactive and friendly with me. He knew numerous aspects about the property, the log cabins, and his own family heritage. Had I visited only to get to know LeWayne, the time and effort would have been rewarded greatly by his friendly demeanor and local “Dutch” accent.

I asked LeWayne if guests would want to spend time with his family in order to be immersed in the culture, he affirmed that yes, they would. Learning about the area is the reason why most people visit here.

Reason Three: The cabins are situated on a remote hilltop.
The terrain tends to be pretty flat around here with a few rolling hills, but the hill upon which the cabins are located is exceptional for this area. The views are stunning, and you truly are surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.

Reason Four: The cabins are fully furnished.
They are simply adorable. You will have electricity and personal facilities. The beds and rockers are locally handmade. The beds are adorned with beautiful quilts, although they don’t look to be homemade quilts. Outside, the porches are nap-worthy, and there is also a fire ring for your evening campfires. In other words, you’ll be surrounded by nature without really roughing it.

Reason Five: You can visit with the deer.
The Hostetlers own several deer, with two of them so tame, they came right up to me and sniffed my camera. My squeal of delight scared them off.

Reason Six: You can shop their small on-site store.
Back down the hill is another small cabin, but it contains rows of Grandma’s Country Kitchen jams and jellies, a few woven rugs, and some other cute items the family makes.

Reason Seven: You are one mile away from Rise-N-Roll Deli & Bakery.
Hollow Ridge Lodging is located on the same road as Rise-N-Roll. If LeWayne’s mom’s morning cinnamon rolls aren’t filling enough for you, you can literally walk to the deli and bakery for more treats.

Reason Eight: You can rent bikes.
You’re on a country road: Why wouldn’t you want to rent a bike and ride freely on the Amish backroads?

Reason Nine: You are 1.3 miles from the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.
If you can make it that far on your bike, then you can enjoy a wonderful ride (or stroll) on this paved path that connects Middlebury and Shipshewana. Or, you can always drive, as there is a graveled small lot.

Reason Ten: The cabins are centrally located between Middlebury and Shipshewana.
Your accommodations will have you feeling as if you really got away from the hustle and bustle, but you’re only five miles from Shipshewana and four miles from Middlebury.

What would interest you about staying at Hollow Ridge Lodging?

Hollow Ridge Lodging is located at 1695 N 1150 West, Middlebury, Indiana.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up to receive all our blogs in your e mail inbox for free by visiting www.VisitShipshewana.org, clicking on the blog link, and submitting your e mail address on our secure site.

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  • Sep 13

Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

The Basics of Tomato Flavor

There are plenty of fresh tomatoes to be had this time of year.  What makes the best tasting tomato?  Well, that all depends on what your taste buds prefer and a blend of plant chemistry and garden variables such as temperature, soil, rain and sun.

Tomato flavor is a balance of sugar and acidity and the mix of other compounds within the tomato.  Sugars and acids are more fully understood, but the mix of the other compounds are still a bit elusive.  The tomatoes that have a more sour or acidic taste have higher levels of acids combined with low levels of sugars.  A tomato high in sugars and low in acids is going to have a sweeter taste.  If a tomato is low in both sugar and acid, it will have a bland taste.  According to the University of Florida tomato breeder Dr. Jay Scott “an interaction of a plants’ genetics with the environment is the key to tomato flavor.”

Choose certain varieties for flavor.  Size of fruit- higher sugar concentrations are reached in cherry and grape tomatoes as opposed to the full size tomatoes.  Color of fruit-different pigments tend to produce different balances of sugars and acids.  Orange or yellow fruits often taste milder and less acidic than their red counterparts.  Some black tomatoes, which are created from the mixture of red and green pigments, have a tendency to have a more complex flavor.  A yellow tomato is not necessarily less acidic than a red or black tomato, it’s that the combination of sugar and acid levels and the other elusive compounds I mentioned earlier, makes for a milder taste.  Have yourself a tomato tasting, try some of each color and decide for yourself.  Foliage-an abundance of leaves can catch a greater amount of sunlight, therefore a plant with a lot of healthy foliage can convert more sunlight into sugars and other flavor enhancing components.  Do you prefer heirloom varieties?  Their abundance of leaves may partially explain why some folks think they are so packed with flavor.

Tweaking your gardening practices can also help make a difference in flavor.  Soil-don’t forget that all important soil test.  Amend the soil with lots of organic matter and include plenty of potassium and sulfur.  Water sparingly as the fruit matures as dry soil concentrates flavor compounds.  Temperature-the ideal temps for growing tomatoes is 80’s during the day and 50 to 60 during the night.  This does not mean that you cannot grow great tasting tomatoes if you have less than ideal temps, it helps to choose varieties that are suited to your growing zone.  Sun-tomatoes prefer 8 hours of full sun daily.  Sunlight maximizes photosynthesis in tomatoes, allowing the plants to make carbohydrates that are turned into sugars, acids and other compounds in them.

In the end it’s all a matter of taste – yours!

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects can be found online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Karen Weiland, Master Gardener, Purdue Extension, LaGrange County

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  • Sep 10

By Karen Weiland, Master Gardener


Hydrangeas are a very popular flowering shrub that likes consistently moist, well-drained soil in a partially shaded area. There are some plants that can take full sun, however, the bigleaf Hydrangea needs to be well shaded from the hot afternoon sun as its leaves will wilt in full sun even if the soil is moist. Morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal for many Hydrangea. These plants will need to be watered very well during dry spells. You can expect most of them to flower from early summer through the fall and can be used as a specimen plant or a shrub border.

The name Hydrangea comes from the Greek “hydra” (water) and “angeon” (vessel). There are 5 major groups: climbing, smooth, panicle, oakleaf and bigleaf. Some Hydrangea bloom on what is known as “old wood” or the wood produced during the previous year. These Hydrangea should be pruned after they are finished flowering. Hydrangeas that flower on “new wood” (current seasons growth), such as “Endless Summer” Blushing Bride, should be pruned in the winter or early spring before growth starts. To encourage reblooming, remove spent flowers. There are also some plants that will bloom on both old and new wood, such as the “Endless Summer” Twist and Shout.

The flower color of some cultivars of the Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is affected by the soil pH. Blue shades are obtained in acidic soil and pink in alkaline soil. The change in color depends on the concentration of aluminum in the soil. This quick growing plant will reach a height of 3 to 6 feet. The Hydrangea on the north side of my house is called “Endless Summer” Twist and Shout, a reblooming lacecap that enjoys the protected spot.

One of the most cold-hardy Hydrangea species is Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata). The flowers are set on new wood and therefore should be pruned in winter or early spring. It is also a fast grower reaching a height of 10 to 20 feet. Mine is currently blooming with the flowers measuring a good 8 inches long. I like to dry the blooms and use them in arrangements.

Unfortunately, Hydrangea are not without pest or disease problems. Spider mites, aphids, scale and rose chafer are some pest problems and rust, powdery mildew and leaf spot are some disease problems. Knock on wood, I have not had any problems with any of these.

More extensive information about the Hydrangea can be found online at www.extension.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/growing-hydrangeas

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs.html The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co., and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Karen Weiland, Master Gardener, Purdue Extension, LaGrange County

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  • Aug 30
  • Posted on Friday, August 30th, 2013
  • by Tammy Tilley in
  • Accommodations

Waiting in line at a Shipshewana ice cream stand recently, I struck up conversation with a couple from New York who meet up with a group of other couples annually, and they RV camp in nearby Goshen.

“Staying in Goshen,” I thought to myself, “I wonder how many Shipshewana visitors do that?”

Turns out, quite a few, and one of the places they enjoy staying is at Goshen’s Super 8 Hotel.

This value hotel is located on the southeastern tip of the town of Goshen, close to shops and also to the Amish community in that area (If you enjoy exploring the backroads in search of cottage industries, this is a nice location.).

Something very important to travelers is a clean room, and this Super 8 fits the bill in that area. The hotel also offers what we assume are standard amenities such as Wi-Fi, hair dryer, suites, and laundry facilities. However, never “assume” these amenities are free; I recently stayed at a higher-end hotel near Chicago, and Wi-Fi there was a $10.00 per day charge. Yeah, I didn’t use it.

Super 8 also has a free breakfast waiting for you each morning, along with the all-important fresh, hot coffee.

Take the Amish backroads from Goshen's Super 8, and you'll enter Topeka, home of Yoder Popcorn.

And of course, Shipshewana is never too far away. As a matter of fact, from here, you can travel east through Millersburg on into LaGrange County into the little towns of Topeka and Emma, then up into Shipshewana. You’ll really enjoy the drive, and you’ll see tons of places to stop and visit.

All in all, Super 8 is a pretty “super” place to hang your hat for awhile.

When you come to Shipshewana, where do you like to stay?

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  • Aug 26

The kids might be headed back to school, but that reality doesn’t need to keep you from having fun this September!

Shipshewana and LaGrange County are home to events for the entire month. What’s your preference? We have shopping, antiques, shows and storytelling, music, festivals, and more.

So go ahead, fall into Shipshewana fun in September. Be sure also to check out our many lodging blogs for the insider’s scoop on where to stay.

Got questions? Come see us at the Visitors Center, or give us a call and we’ll gladly answer your questions! 800-254-8090

September Performances
You may want to catch more than one show, given September’s array of amazing performances. You’ll be familiar with most of the names listed below:

September 6, 7 The Isaacs at Blue Gate Theater

September 13-14 Lindsey Graham w/ Landrew Lapp

September 19-20 The Browns/Wilburn & Wilburn at Blue Gate Theater

September 25 Mandisa at Shipshewana Town Center

September 26 Big Comedy Night w/ Ken Davis & Jeff Allen at Shipshewana Town Center

September 27 Larnell Harris, Wayne Watson, Twila Paris, & Steve Green at Shipshewana Town Center

September 28 Marty Stuart & Connie Smith at Shipshewana Town Center

And of course, for the entire month of September, Shipshewana is home to numerous showings of “The Confession: The Musical,” based on the books authored by Beverly Lewis. Guys and gals of all ages will enjoy this show.

September 2, 3, 4—Labor Day, Flea Market Open
You get an extra day of shopping at the Midwest’s largest flea market, the Shipshewana Flea Market, where you’ll save money and meet great people.

Sept 6, 7-9 pm—Scott Gregory, Essenhaus Heritage Hall, Middlebury, IN
He’s been featured on all the big television networks, but he’s still down-to-earth with his hilarious, clean humor. If you miss this event, you’ll miss out on a chance to LOL.

September 6, 7—MDC Goldenrod Benefit Auction, Antique Auction Barn, Shipshewana
Beginning at noon on Friday, and 7a.m.-noon on Saturday, you’ll find energetic auctioneers, beautiful items, and proceeds going for a great cause. MDC Goldenrod is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization that provides quality services to adults and children with disabilities.

September 6, 7, 7p.m.-10 p.m.—Bristol Hills Storytelling Festival, Elkhart County Historical Museum
Everyone can tell a story, and those who tell them here are GREAT storytellers. Come, sit, laugh, and listen while nationally known tellers spin their yarns at this 24th Annual festival.

September 7, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.—Antique Market at the Antique Gallery
Over 100 vendors gather on the Antique Gallery Lawn and the Trading Place Pavilion to show off and sell pieces from the past.

September 7—Yoder’s Consignment Auction, Shipshewana
The Yoder farm invites you to attend their fall sell, located at 2270 S 1000 W, Shipshewana.

September 8, 5 p.m.—Singspiration on the Menno-Hof Lawn
Come and enjoy A cappella singing and worship in the traditions of the Amish and Mennonite Churches at the Menno-Hof. Bring a lawn chair and worship on the lawn; refreshments following. Rain location is the Trading Place Pavilion.

September 13, 14, 6-8p.m., —Little Ladies Dinner Theater, Essenhaus Heritage Hall, Middlebury
This delightful event is for the young lady in your life and the doll she most loves. Girls can enjoy crafts, “bee” bowling, story time with Aunt Bee, a spelling bee, photos, and much more. “Bee” sure to take your favorite bee-utiful gal and go!

September 15, 6-8 p.m.—Classic Car Cruise-In at Emma Café, Topeka
Emma Café & Catering website reads, “Just 10 minutes from Shipshewana, in the heart of Northern Indiana Amish County, in the small town of Emma, in the old Emma General store, you’ll find a hidden treasure.” This treasure hosts the summer Classic Car Cruise-Ins, where you will want to explore, then eat.

September 19-22, Apple Festival in Nappanee
For four days, this festival provides bushels of free fun. You won’t want to miss Indiana’s largest 7-foot baked apple pie, weighing in at 600 pounds. That would a-peal to anyone!

September 20, 21—Fall Festival, Downtown Middlebury
Bringing local arts and crafts from the local Amish community, a bake-off, and food vendors, this small event also highlights Friday night fireworks on the Essenhaus grounds at dusk. You also can participate in a cornhole tournament at the festival. Enter by Thursday, September 19.

September 22, 1:30-5 p.m. —Folk Jam at Maple Wood Nature Center, LaGrange
These jam sessions, held each month, are mostly folk, country, and bluegrass music. Maple Wood Nature Center is located 4.5 miles east and one mile south of LaGrange.

September 28, daylight-1 p.m.—Newbury Square Swap Meet & Flea Market
Enjoy a smaller flea market experience at this monthly event located just west of the SR 5 and US 20 intersection. Parking Fee: $2.00.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up to receive all our blogs in your e mail inbox for free by visiting www.VisitShipshewana.org, clicking on the blog link, and submitting your e mail address on our secure site.

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  • Aug 22
  • Posted on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
  • by Tammy Tilley in
  • Accommodations

Gordon’s Campground, located eight miles north of Kendallville, is in some ways a typical campground.

But in other ways, it’s anything but typical. Here are 10 reasons to stay there:

Reason #1: It’s small enough to feel cozy…
Gordon’s Campground is only 75 acres, so not everything is spread out so far you can’t walk from one place to the next. “Small” also means you can still watch your kids when they’re playing farther away.

Reason #2: … but it’s large enough to get away from it all.
Those 75 acres are wooded, and the sites are laid out nicely to where you get some privacy.

Reason #3: You can rent cabins.
We don’t own a camper, but we do enjoy staying at campgrounds. Gordon’s has three cabins that each sleep up to five people. There’s a queen size bed, one set of twin bunk beds, a table & chairs, a fire ring, and a picnic table. There’s even electricity inside the cabin, something cabins at other places may not have.

Reason #4: You can rent campers.
We don’t own a camper (see above). Friends have allowed us to borrow a camper now and then, but in this case, we wouldn’t have to ask!

Reason #5: They have a great pool area.
It really is great! ‘Nuff said.

Reason #6: They have planned activities.
Those activities are family friendly, too! From dances to horseshoes, hayrides to mini-golf, we can join in, meet new people, or be about our business of people watching as quiet observers.

Reason #7: They have special rates for groups.
Imagine camping here with your kid’s Scout or 4-H group, your small group from church, or your extended family.

Reason #8: You can rent golf carts.
They won’t do wheelies, but they can be a fun way to cruise through the campground.

Reason #9: You can hike.
Inhale the scent of fresh pine or the fragrance of fresh air. Find peace and quiet as you stroll. Or, remember that group you came with? Now, you want some getaway time. You really can have it both ways!

Reason #10:They offer Sunday chapel services.
Church is an important part of our family. Isn’t it great to think about NOT giving that sacred time up when you’re camping?

I’m sure there are other reasons for staying at Gordon’s, like the hot showers or the general store, but probably the biggest reason to camp at Gordon’s Campground is because you’ll meet some great people there.

Who wants to go camping?

If you enjoyed this article, sign up to receive all our blogs in your e mail inbox for free by visiting www.VisitShipshewana.org, clicking on the blog link, and submitting your e mail address on our secure site.

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  • Aug 21

When I was a summer college student traveling to different towns in the summer, I remember one place in particular where I stayed.

This little motel was just a small, locally owned place where the owners were warm and welcoming. I remember feeling somewhat nervous since I was traveling alone, but they allayed my anxiety, telling me the area was safe, and besides, they watched things very closely.

My room wasn’t fancy, but it was clean, and for four days, it was home away from home. And almost 30 years later, I still remember that place nestled into Virginia’s hillside.

The Travel Inn in Howe is reminiscent of my experience. It’s a sort of non-descript place, but its down-to-earth-ness just seems to embed in your heart. It’s the kind of place where you make a friend with the manager, ease into the recliner in your room, and relax. Somewhere along the way, you think to yourself, “I like this place. It fits me.”

One of the nice things about Travel Inn is you can bring your furry friends with you. Another nice thing is that it’s located right off the I-80/90 Toll Road, so it’s easy to jump off and on the highway.

If your travels bring you to the area, check out Travel Inn. You just might end up talking about it 30 years later.

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