GUEST BLOGGER – 10 THINGS TO DO IN IOWA

So, being that lots of stuff is going on in my head and my life right now (like catching up on three months of working 7 days a week) and talking weird and trying to figure out how to fix the garbage disposal and …

I thought I would invite another guest blogger to guest blog.

This post is from Kayla King who is a lifelong Iowan (though she’s lived a few other places, too).  Here’s what she has to say. (By the way, Kayla, I noticed you DIDN’T mention:  Attend an Iowa Cubs Game!)

TEN THINGS TO DO IN IOWA

A highly subjective list of fun, interesting, or beautiful things to see and do

1. Attend the Iowa State Fair.

This annual August event is not to be missed! You can see a variety of grandstand acts, prize-winning animals, watch numerous competitions, ejnoy the midway rides and eat more than 50 types of food on a stick. The Iowa State Fair is considered one of the top fairs in the nation and is in the book 1,000 Things to See Before You Die. http://www.iowastatefair.com

2. Ride the Boone Valley Scenic Railway.

Great for train fans and those who enjoy lovely scenery. http://www.funtrainrides.com/boone_scenic_valley.cfm

3.Experience Ledges State Park.

Hike, climb, canoe, camp and picnic. Who says Iowa is flat?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ledges_State_Park

4. Explore the Loess Hills

Travel the scenic byway or stop to hike and enjoy the view.

http://www.visitloesshills.com/

5. See the covered bridges in Madison County.

These bridges were made famous by the book and movie, but Iowans enjoyed visiting them long before that. There’s a Covered Bridge Festival every fall.

http://madisoncounty.com/index.php?page=the-bridges

6. Drive the Great River Road along the Mississippi.

Stop at some of the towns along the route.

http://www.iowagreatriverroad.com/

7. Go antiquing in Walnut.

The town of Walnut has a reputation for being a great place to buy antiques. http://www.iowasantiquecity.com/welcome.php

8. Visit Pella.

A quaint and charming town, Pella was settled by Dutch immigrants. Don’t miss the windmill tour or the Jaarsma bakery. There is an annual Tulip Time Festival every May.

http://www.pella.org

9. Discover Des Moines.

As Iowa’s largest city and the capital, there’s a lot to do. See the Iowa State Capitol Building with its gold dome (among the most beautiful state capitols in the country), walk or bike the numerous trails, catch a sporting event, shop, dine, or visit one of the many area attractions.

http://www.seedesmoines.com

10. Tour the Amana Colonies.

The Amana Colonies were established shortly before the Civil War by a group of German-speaking European settlers. This National Register of Historic Places location is one of the longest lasting communal societies in the world.

http://www.amanacolonies.com

8 THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Thanks to guest blogger Sandi Diaz for doing the following South Carolina list for us!
1. Holiday Festival of Lights, James Island County Park from 11/12/10-1/2/11
Capture the magic of the Holiday Season with a 3-mile drive through millions of sparkling lights and hundreds of light displays. Then stretch your legs and your imagination at Santa’s Village & Winter Wonderland.
http://www.ccprc.com

2. Young Plantation Pecan Company, great sampling & gifts. Many selections of pecans and other southern delights! I-95 @ Hwy 52 in Florence SC,
Fort Mill, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Mt. Pleasant.
http://www.youngplantations.com

3. Riverbanks Zoo

4. Table Rock State Park

5. Ft. Sumter (in the bay at Charleston)

6. Shelter Cove & Harbor Town Light House on Hilton Head

7. Hike the Blue Ridge Trail in the South Carolina Mountains.

8. Check out all the beautiful water falls in the mountains.

Thanks, Sandi!  This sounds like a fun list.

MORE MISSISSIPPI

Some more Mississippi pictures – these are above Winona, Minnesota on Garvin Heights City Park.

THE WEEKEND

This weekend I was invited to speak at the Ladies Retreat for Village Church of Bartlett.

The retreat was held in a small town west of here at a training center.

We met on Friday night for supper and the first meeting. Music was done by two very sweet, talented Moody students.  We also had sessions on Saturday morning, last night and this morning.

The funniest thing was the fire trucks. I had just talked about all those pesky problems, the little annoyances that happen in everyday life. We did a closing song, blew out the decorative candles and the fire alarm shook the building – the kind that connects to the fire department.  I was actually leaving and a train going through town had traffic backed up for blocks. As I was waiting for the train to go through, I saw firetrucks working their way through the stopped cars.  What a mess!  All because of smoke from a blown-out candle. Talk about pesky annoyances.

Anyhow, after the retreat was over today, I headed home, knowing I would need some lunch before I vegged and that my family would be at church.

I didn’t want to do fast food and didn’t feel like stopping at the grocery store, so finally decided to stop at Chilly’s (spelled wrong on purpose) and get sirloin take out (which I like). The manager himself waited on me and asked if I wanted something to drink. First I said no because I was heading home, but then realizing I would have to wait for my food, I said “Actually you could get me a coke because I’ve been speaking all morning and need something on my throat.”

He asked where I was speaking and when I told him a Ladies Retreat, he asked if it was for a church and I said, “yes.”  So then he told me about the missions trip his kids were going on.

He needed my name because it was take out. I heard him go back in the kitchen and say, “Get this sirloin ready for Linda. She needs to get home and rest her throat.” (I did not tell him that.)

Every few minutes as he was walking through the kitchen, I would hear him say, “Hey, how’s Linda’s sirloin coming?”

It was kind of cool to have him look out for me and a good end for the weekend.

And the steak was very good.

CHICKADEE COTTAGE CAFE

Unfortunately, this was NOT it. I am still talking funny, but have decided this will just be the way I talk from now on – so you will not hear another word about it. 🙂

____________

We continued to drive south along the river shore, now looking for somewhere unique to eat lunch – preferably a place that did not want us to expect a miracle of one world religion – but simply gave us good food.

We came to Lake City which is on Lake Pepin which is a natural lake next to the Mississippi River … and happened to see a bright yellow house with a Chickadee Cottage Cafe sign out front. Lots of people seemed to be walking in and out and it definitely looked unique.

So we tried it.

Turns out the Chickadee Cottage was voted Minnesota’s Favorite Roadside Diner and also made the list of 100 Restaurants Worth the Drive.

As we were waiting for our seat, a family came in and the man said to the hostess,  “I was awake all night thinking about your cinnamon rolls.”  That sounded like a good recommendation.

The cafe is in a house built in 1900 and they do have a gift shop, but the books seemed a lot more readable than those in the other restaurant we ate at on the way up.

The hostess took us to our seats (in the living room part of the house) and then explained that there is one breakfast menu. The customers pay a set price and then they bring you the food family style – but you can have as many refills as you want.

The first “course” was fruit and the keep-you-up-all-night-in-anticipation cinnamon rolls. The second course was eggs, sausage, ham potato casserole and some other food I can’t remember.  A lot of food – I’m guessing most people don’t ask for refills. All homemade and all very good.

If you’re driving through Lake City, I would recommend it, but it is ONLY open in the summer. It closes for the season on October 31.

THIS IS IT

I have about 24 hours to get my voice at least 95% back to normal.

I don’t have a choice any more.

Five weeks ago tomorrow, I woke up in the middle of a Missoula, Montana night knowing something was wrong.

I am quickly skidding into a weekend of major speaking and for one to speak, one must not only talk, but be heard.

So, today I am on a self-imposed talking sabbatical. Even the dog is not allowed to discuss things like squirrels, skunks or fleas with me today.

I am obediently (command via daughter) wearing a scarf around my neck.

And I am drinking cup #4,329 of tea and honey this month. (OK, I exaggerated, but I’ve consumed a few gallons.) However, as you see, there’s a lot of tea in this house and I didn’t even get all of it out of the cupboard because thinking ahead – I did not want to put it all back into the cupboard.

Oh, yes and the tuna-noodle casserole.  Last night the daughter and the munchkins were talking about tuna-noodle casserole which made me hungry for said casserole – so this morning I got up early, went to the store and got myself said ingredients.

Now, sure you could argue that there’s nothing medicinal in tuna-noodle casserole, especially not when I crunch potato chips on top. But hey, it’s my vocal cords and if my vocal cords decide they want tuna-noodle casserole to get better, they’re going to get them. (And whose to say there aren’t a ton of nutrients in potato chips?)

24 hours.

This is gonna happen!