Friday, October 17, 2014

A Day in Decorah

When I posted my summer bucket list this year, one of the items involved a spontaneous road trip to a small town in Iowa we've never visited before.  I had more comments than normal, many that were eager to share their small town recommendations.  After reading through their descriptions and must-sees from their favorite place, I soon planned a trip to Decorah, Iowa.

Soon, summer turned into fall and we felt the itch to hit the road one Sunday morning.  The warm September sun and early fall colors became our church that morning as we cozied the kids in the car and dedicated ourselves to an entire day of just the four of us.  No endless house decisions, no loads of laundry, no emails or Facebook.  Just us, a beautiful fall day, and a full tank of gas headed Northeast.  

Decorah was full of just what we were looking for.  It had a pretty main street, full of small town charm and restaurants with middle aged waitresses who gave us free root beer refills and all-you-can-eat salad crackers for Mila.  It had in-town attractions and off-the-beaten-path trails to explore.  And, it had ice cream for the kids and micro brews for the husband.  And plenty of pretty scenery for me. 

We started the day with lunch at Mabe's Pizza.  Then, we headed to feed the fish their lunch at the state's largest fish hatchery.  We filled bottle tops with fish pellets and giggled as the swarms of hungry fish splashed us and every once and awhile nibbled the tips of our fingers. 

There was a peaceful little walking trail and waterfall by the fish hatchery.  We climbed to the top and watched leaves make their way down the stream and over the waterfall.  Cruz threw rock after rock in the water and we attempted to keep both children from falling in the water.  It was such a beautiful afternoon and it felt so nice to just soak up the sunshine and not have an agenda to follow.  

After coercing Cruz to get in the car, we found some back trails and soon ended up at the beautiful Dunning Falls.  Cruz didn't hesitate for a minute before undoing the straps of his sandals and sinking his toes in the icy cold water.  Mila, wasn't a fan.

We ended the day sipping brews on an outdoor patio at Toppling Goliath, one of Beau's favorite brewing companies and sharing thee best ice cream sundaes from the famous Whippy Dip ice cream stand. 

You know it's a good day when Cruz fell asleep before even making our way out of town, still clasping the remains of his chocolate cone in his hand, his mouth covered in ice cream.  The kiddos slept, Beau and I had some much needed time to talk as adults, and our car just felt lighter as we made our way home - enough fresh air to last us through the week.  

It was a good day.   


  1. Ah - so glad you had Mabe's! Definitely the best place to eat in Decorah, especially your first visit. Such a pretty town. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. Yay! Glad you guys got to see the fish hatchery and experience the Whippy Dip. Next time you'll have to order Mabes pizza and eat it while at Toppling Goliath. :) Not sure if you made it while at Dunning Springs but they have a cave close by there called Ice Cave.

  3. This was on my summer bucket list...but I never made it! We will have to do this in the spring:)



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