Talk of the Town
Visitors Can Find Plenty to Explore in Rentown
Photographer / Angela Cornell
There are many Amish settlements in Northern Indiana, including Shipshewana, Bremen, Goshen, Nappanee, and Rochester. In many respects they’re similar, but each one is a unique community. Take Rentown, for instance. This small community, halfway between Bremen and Nappanee, doesn’t even have its own zip code. What it lacks in size, however, it makes up for in good old-fashioned flavor.
The heart of Rentown centers around the country store. The community’s name is closely tied to the owner’s grandfather, Dan Hochstetler, who lived in what is now Rentown. In the early 1950s Hochstetler and a friend of his, Manas Hochstetler, were joking in Pennsylvania Dutch about their habit of rum renna, which, in English, means “gadding about.” Playing off the word renna, Manas said, “We better be careful or they’re going to call this Rentown.”
Joking aside, the name stuck. In 1966 the Rentown Country Store opened, and it has been in the family ever since. As one of the largest Amish groceries in the area, the store carries a wide variety of products, from groceries, pantry items, cookware and kitchenware to specialty items like games and toys for younger shoppers. They are especially well known for their meats, cheeses, and bulk foods like spices, flours and candies. On top of all that, there is also an in-store bakery. The Rentown Country Store is located at 1530 3rd Road in Bremen. They can be reached at 574-546-9010.
For those who enjoy Amish cooking, Dutchmaid Eatery & Gifts is the place to go. Open for breakfast and lunch, this restaurant offers a wide variety of delicious American favorites like biscuits and gravy, skillets, pancakes and crepes, as well as a variety of sandwiches and salads. For dessert, don’t forget to try a slice of homemade pie or the specialty dessert of the day. There is also a small gift shop with mugs, house jams and jellies, inspirational plaques and more. They are located at 1535 3rd Road in Bremen. Call them at 574-546-2192.
A visit to the Rentown area is always enhanced by a trip to Kuhns Orchard. The store offers a delicious array of jams, jellies, salsas, honey products and maple syrup year-round. They also sell apple cider, pressed onsite. In season, apple fritters and fresh apples are available as well. The store is located at 3421 Beech Road in Bremen. Call them at 574-773-0501.
It seems like no Amish community is complete without a furniture store, and the Rentown area is no exception. Located directly across the street from the country store, Homestyle Furniture Shoppe, LLC sells a variety of handcrafted, solid-wood furniture for dining and living areas. Not only do they have beautiful tables, chairs, benches and end tables, but they also have softer furniture like sofas and recliners. They are located at 1533 3rd Road in Bremen. Call them at 574-773-3685 or check them out online at homestylefurnitureshoppe.com.
Birch Road Greenhouse has been around for more than a decade, and the staff takes pride in providing an assortment of vegetables, flowers, perennials, trees, seeds and hanging baskets, for green-thumbed visitors to Rentown. Their customers also appreciate the selection of tools and fertilizers available on the shelves. They also have many non-plant embellishments for gardens including fairy garden decorations. Birch Road Greenhouse is located at 3050 Birch Road in Bremen. Call 574-248-1610 for more info, and check them out online at birchroadgreenhouse.com to see a full list of their products.
Although niche shops are common in Amish country, Mint City Millwork is quite unique. Several types of timepieces are available there, including some that are handcrafted in-house. The shop’s inventory has everything from standard wall clocks to decorative items like grandfather and melody clocks. Also available are weather stations, and parts for those interested in repairing their own clocks at home. Visit them at 3121 Birch Road in Bremen. For more info, call 574-209-1351 or visit mintcitymillwork.com.
Whether you’re looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, or just want to visit a corner of the region that is a bit different than the norm, a trip to the Rentown area is a perfect option.