Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lake Gitche Gumee -

We always love the opportunity to visit Duluth, Minnesota and adjoining Superior, Wisconsin.  My son and his better half from Seattle flew in to visit family.  So we picked up our daughters and headed to the Northwoods.  We hooked up with my brother's family and had a great lake side picnic and cook out with family.  We spent the day at Wisconsin Point on the sandy beaches of Lake Superior in Superior, Wisconsin.  What a beautiful sunny day.  There were old smooth logs along the beach that the kids could use like canoes.  Check out the YouTube video below for more.

The next day we shopped in Duluth.  Had great eats at Burrito Union.  Found gifts at the Bullseye silkcreen t-shirt shop, Electric Fetus music store, and Waters of Superior art gallery.  We've been shopping at these places for years so good to see them still in business.  Another meal at Little Angie's in Canal Park and we were set to go.

Happy Trails from the Northwoods...

Wedding Anniversary Trip to Northeastern Iowa -


We launched for a couple of days in a mild Midwest June to explore nearby northeastern Iowa again.  Lots to do and see in this rural part of the State within the Driftless Area.  The Driftess Area is a hilly part of the four corners of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  Our first stop was in Guttenberg along the Mississippi River for a visit with old friends at the fish hatchery run by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  A very historic building that to this day still produces fish for stocking in Iowa's waters.  Also picked up a couple of tasty snacks at the River's Edge Bakery on the downtown strip of Guttenberg.

The next stop on our journey was Elkader.  A town with rich history as many of them in this neck of the woods.  Elkader was named after an Algerian leader.  There is an Algerian eatery in town that we have to come back and enjoy another time.  We did a little shopping at the Turkey River Mall which was formerly an old hotel.  Lots to see and buy here.  Then took a short hike along the Turkey River to see the historic arch keystone bridge.  Lastly had supper at the Fennelley Irish Pub.  Mike had fish 'n chips and Melody had Shepard's pie.  Our appetizer was Irish egg rolls - got to get back for more of these hors-devours.  

Then off to Decorah.  We spent the morning at the Seed Saver's Exchange.  We took a hike up an algific talus slope on their property that took us through a mature white pine forest.  The jack-in-the-pulpit were in bloom.  We visited their apple orchards with many near extinct varieties.  Picked up a few seed packets from their heirloom collections and off we went to the Oneota Co-op for a late lunch.  What a great place and delicious hot lunch items.  A quick stop at the fish hatchery in Decorah run by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and then off to Lansing along the Mississippi River.  You can feed the fish at the hatchery for a quarter.  The cold water for the trout hatchery comes out of the bluff. 

Lansing is another charming river town.  We found some keeper items at The Painted Lady antique store and became amazed how much stuff they packed into the local downtown hardware store.  The gentleman claimed he could find anything that we needed.  I believed him.  

The last stop on our journey was in McGregor - Marquette, Iowa and then a quick jump across the Mississippi River to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.  Lots of shops in downtown McGregor.  There is a quaint city park in downtown McGregor that happen to have a small farmer's market happening while we were in town.  We also found a little co-op type place in downtown Prairie du Chien called Driftless Edibles.  Got some snacks for the ride home.

Can't wait to go back to these places.  Happy Trails...



Fun in the Sun of Southern Illinois -

That to do around the Carbondale and Marion, Illinois area?  Try the Farmers Market on the west side of Carbondale.  Lots of great produce.  We picked up some local jalapeno jack cheese that was tasty.  Oh yea, did we mention – great music too.

After visiting the Farmers Market, we had lunch at the nearby Pita Alley.   Loved the falafel, gyros, and rice recipe. 

Almost forgot to mention that there is a nice fruit market on the west side too.  The southern Illinois peaches are indeed good.

No trip to southern Illinois would not be complete with a stop in Metropolis to visit the Superman Museum.  We hit the town on the way to Paducah, Kentucky.

The downtown area of Paducah is next to the Ohio River and has many old buildings with junk shops and places to eat.  Take a handsome cab ride around town.  We had supper at a seafood that has apparently since closed down.  Very good nonetheless. 

Du Quoin is just north of Carbondale and home of the DuQuoin State Fair.  Well worth the stop.  Check out the photographs from the Fair.

Also once a year, the town of Creal Springs just east of Marion hosts a large flea market.  Another worthy stop.  Check out the photographs from the flea market.  Picked up some nice items for decorations and rusty yard art.  The local well or groundwater seeps of Creal Springs produce waters that are high in salts that claims to help cure many things.  

Happy Trails from Southern Illinois...