New owners rename Amish tourist site

By The Associated Press

NAPPANEE — The new owners of a popular northern Indiana tourist attraction that provides a glimpse into the life and history of the Amish have given it a new name that pays homage to the rural region’s plentiful barns.

The site in Nappanee had been known as Amish Acres, but its new name is The Barns at Nappanee, according to former U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who purchased most of the complex with two partners last month at an auction.

“We felt it was important to really showcase the collection of barns. But when you say just, 'The barns,’ you don't know where they're at in Indiana because there's so many of them. So, we felt ‘The Barns at Nappanee’ is very appropriate," Stutsman said.

The attraction site, located 30 miles southeast of South Bend, has drawn about 150,000 visitors annually to its historical cabins, barns and other structures, most of which date back to the 1800s.

Richard Pletcher and other family members decided to sell the site and retire because maintaining it is “a year-round effort” and they’re “all exhausted.”

The new owners revealed spring plans at the 400-seat Round Barn Theatre, which will open on April 10.

"For Easter we are going to be starting with ‘Acts: The 3-Man Show.’ It’s a very descriptive title, based on the biblical Book of Acts in the New Testament,” theater Director Gabe Rivera said.

South Bend-based LaSalle Hospitality Group will run the food service operations, which will blend the site's traditional favorites with LeSalle's own restaurant menu, according to group CEO Mark McDonnell.

A part of the dining room in the main barn is planned to be transformed to LaSalle Farm & Table, which will feature locally produced foods for a menu officials say will change with the seasons.

The rebranded site is slated to open in about five weeks.




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