Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Decorah, Fall 2010

I love the way Decorah is nestled into a bluff. I still think we will end up moving up here someday.

We decided to make our visit a little longer this year, so we headed up to north eastern Iowa a day early, leaving at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning. We arrived well before our partners in crime, the Reids, so we had time to explore the town a little and do a couple things I had had on my list since I was a little girl. One of those, and call me a geek if you must, was to visit the Vesterheim Museum. Yes, I am Norwegian. I love genealogy, and knowing more about the family God as created me through, and seeing these blips about my history was fascinating. I plan on going back again, most likely leaving the kids and husband at the rental house or camper (whatever we happen to be in that trip) so I can take my time and read as much as possible, and check out some of the genealogical resources I know they have but we didn't have the kid/husband patience to see. What we did see was neat, though.

A street shot across from the museum with some beautiful colors of fall

More beautiful fall color

May I just say, thank heavens my forefathers came over on these things and not me, because had it been left up to me and my dislike of boats and water, we'd still be in Norway.

She may be trying out the bunk bed mock ups from one of the boats, but with the way this kid flails in her sleep, there is no way she'd be able to sleep in one of these

This boy has a serious love of miniature houses and villages. He was stuck on them at the fair, as well.

There was a neat quilt display on the top floor, featuring both modern work of those of Norwegian descent and antique quilts. I took several pictures (mostly for my mom's sake) but this one was gorgeous. That is a quilt-piece by pain-staking piece

Spring Grove soda, from Spring Grove, Minnesota. This was the lemon sour, and it was rather good.
This is where we had lunch Friday-the Magpie. The food was very good, made with a focus on local ingredients. I was disappointed-they were supposed to show up to the soup contest at Seed Saver's the next day, but were not there. I would definitely eat here again, and highly recommend the house made chai.
After lunch we drove through Twin Springs park, campground right on the edge of town. You have to go through it to get to where we had dinner Saturday night, and it has a creek running through it, so we thought we'd check it out. In the middle of the park is this house. It looks like a giant gnome house. So whimsical, especially the roof. In the back are a bunch of massive solar panels and the front has a sign that lists that they get their power from sun, wind and ground sources.

The Carolan Guest House is where we stayed for the weekend. Way cheaper than hotel rooms, warmer than camping and far more family friendly, as you rent the whole house, rather than rooms where you can disturb others. I think it was about the perfect size for our two families. Goofy me, I got a picture of the sign but not the house. It wasn't anything fancy, much like grandma's house, but was cozy and definitely a far more fun stay than trying to find rooms in hotels like we did last year.
The kids loved the typewriter-I think all the adults would have been happier had it not been there. It was the cause of several tiffs amongst the young'uns.

So, we took notice of the fact that there were some odd objects hanging in the kitchen for decoration. Like this scythe, which, if zombies attacked, I would be thankful was there, or if I needed to harvest some wheat. Otherwise, um, it was an interesting decorating choice. We especially liked the seasonal foliage that adorned it.

Saturday breakfast-muffins, bacon, apples and oj.

Blue Heron Knittery-definitely one of my favorites yarn stores, and for many reasons. I spent far more than I needed to this  year, but I am hoping that it means I have lots of socks made for myself over the course of this winter.

Mmmm, mocha.

We think this was the owner's car, but either way, this town has a serious obsession with that pizza place. Seriously.

And we made it to Seed Saver's right on time.

I love the live bluegrass. Love, love, love it. I hope they keep that feature.

The soup contest. There were supposed to be five contenders, and for a five dollar per person donation you got to taste them all and vote on who you liked the best. This year's secret ingredient was a red kidney style bean. I think it kind of stumped most of hte contenders, as none of the soups were terribly outsanding. It was more like they made a soup, and added beans. The first and last weren't too bad, but I think they all could have been a lot more creative. The husbands weren't thrilled with the secret ingredient as neither is a huge fan of beans in general. A red kidney is not one of my first choices in beans, and I like beans.

Bread from a local bakery-they had it with the soup last year, as well. It is always a nice thing to have on hand when eating soup.

Shots of the gardens at Seed Saver's. I hope to work more of mine into pretty raised beds with paths like these over the years. I have no high expectations of getting it done in one, but it just makes a more enjoyable experience.
At Mabe's. I must admit, since last year, it has grown on me, and I ate quite a bit and actually looked forward to this year, and am now looking forward to our next visit, which may be as soon as December's Winter Festival at Seed Saver's.
The two sit down restaurants we ate at we ended up just getting pitchers of iced tea. Because we're awesome like that.
Tell me that doesn't look good and make you hungry right now.
See all ten of those. Yes, all of those went home in the Reid's car. All of them.

Hanging out at South Bear Creek the Sunday we headed home. We didn't catch anything here, though we saw a lot of fish in the water. They just weren't biting here.
We did end up coming home with 5 nice rainbow trout we caught at Canoe Creek, which was just north of Seed Saver's. It was an easy walk-in creek, and one we may have to take the Reid's along with us to next time, as not all trout streams are as easy to fish as that one was. As usual, I cleaned the trout we caught (four were mine, one was Andrew's), then we finally hit the road for home around 6 p.m.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Bondurant is somewhere we (the Glanns) have been many a time, but wanted to take the Reids there for a visit to one of our favorite pizza places (as there isn't a whole lot else to do there, besides hit up the hazardous household waste recycling center for free paint and stain), Polito's Pizza house. Love their pizza, and at this visit found a new favorite in an attempt to mimic one of Randy's favorite pizzas from his favorite joint, Mabe's in Decorah. That new fave is a pepperoni and Italian sausage (must point out Mabe's is regular pork sausage, not Italian) with extra sauce. It was so good. We also enjoyed another fave of mine, the homemade potato chips, though I was informed we should have tried the chips with toppings, a new item on their menu since our last visit. Just means we'll have to go back :)
Bondurant is situated close enough to Des Moines and Altoona that we can visit regularly, and is a must see for you La Pizza House fans, as this is the Polito family that founded that Des Moines legend.
After the dinner at Polito's we headed out to Yellow Banks Park to see Andrew's parents while they were camping and have dessert-s'mores!
Asher showing the world more than it needed to see

The Reids (well, most of them)

The famous orange onion rings-yum.

The pepperoni and Italian sausage with extra sauce. Good grief, I am getting hungry just posting this.

Genna adding a little punch to her slice. She actually added anything in a shaker to her pizza, and did, much to the astonishment of most of us, go on to eat it.

Asher using his "nocklars"