If you go to the Country Bargain Barn during the winter, bring your coat.
I was intrigued by small, hand-lettered signs I saw in the rural countryside northwest of Berne, Indiana. So, despite running behind on my schedule, I followed the arrows, which eventually led me to a weathered barn at the end of a driveway. An Amish homestead was farther down the driveway. A sign on door on the Bargain Barn said "Open", which led me to believe it was the Bargain Barn, there wasn't actually a sign anywhere that said so. The place appeared deserted, but the sign did say open. So I did. And inside the door was a combination flea market meets garage sale meets Sanford and Son.
This Amish-owned business at 4140 South, 350 West, specializes in second-hand furniture, dishes, cookware, glassware, utensils, shop, garden and yard tools, books, games, puzzles, toys and more. I think I saw a little bit of all of it while perusing the tables and tables of goods set up. Old glassware, an old camping tent, toys and books that Aster probably would have loved. I lingered by the tables of goods, occasionally peering out one of the barn windows hoping that someone from the house might scurry out. That'd be tough to have a business on such a rural, empty road. On one hand, you couldn't expect to have someone sitting inside the barn from 9 - 5 most days because that'd be a royal waste of time. Yet you probably do have to have someone "on call" to run out an help any customers. But no one ever came out. I looked for an "honor system" box to pay for something but didn't see any. My guess is that you could leave the correct amount of money and take a priced item.
One item - not for sale - that caught my eye was a buggy parked beyond the merchandise. I walked up to it to inspect, and it was a typical Berne open-buggy. There was a thick green "buggy blanket" laying on the seat. I wanted to shake it out and wrap it around me because I was cold. An unforgiving Arctic breath battered the barn on the day I was there sending icy shivers of wind through cracks in the barn wood. I found myself wishing I had worn my coat. I couldn't help but think this place would be a "treasure hunter's" dream. If you knew what you were looking for and had an eye for detail you might find some real gems here. But, shivering, I left and headed on my way vowing to return on a warmer day.
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