Decorah Highlights

Justin and I visited Decorah! It was 100% Iowarific (Iowa terrific)! It's hard to believe Decorah is only about 90 minutes (or less) from Stewartville. So close! 

Here were some of my favorite stops along the way divided into the categories of nature, museum/history, and food. I'll share some photos at the top of each corresponding section.  


Ice Cave and Dunnings
Ice Cave
Seed Savers Exchange/Heritage Farm: Do you garden? Do you like seeds? Does your grandma have a garden? Do you like exploring beautiful acres of countryside? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, stop here! Nice trails, peaceful scenes, happy goats.

Trout Run Trail: Gorgeous 11.5-mile paved trail. We explored several miles of it with Finn, Justin's dog. There were many people using the trail - walking, running, and biking. Very family-friendly trail with great views of the rolling bluffs. And, super bonus, a view of the Decorah Eagle Cam location!

Dunnings Spring Park: This was my #1 favorite part of Decorah. I thought this park was gorgeous. We explored the waterfall area extensively and did a lot of hiking. Such a beautiful, peaceful place. I'd recommend arriving early. We did, and it was easy to find a parking spot. It really filled up by the afternoon and parking appeared more difficult.

Ice Cave: Quick, interesting stop on the way (allot 15-20 minutes). I'm learning about geology lately with the help of this book, so the cave was an especially worthwhile pause for me.

Phelps Park: Nice, historic city park with a lovely fountain and gorgeous views of Decorah. The perfect place for an afternoon nap!

Visitor Center/Bureau
Scenes from the Self-Guided Historical Walking Tour 

Visitor's Bureau: Stop here first and grab some maps and brochures! Neither of us had cell reception in Decorah, so GPS didn't work. We had to find things the ol' fashioned way: paper maps (*gasp*). The Visitor's Bureau was a quick, helpful stop. We were there 5-10 minutes. Just long enough to get what we needed to navigate Decorah.

Vesterheim: Are you Norwegian? Do you have relatives from Norway? Are you a pastor/church staff member who regularly hears people making references to Norwegian culture but you don't know what they're talking about? If so, you'll probably really like this museum! I'd allot an hour or so. If you're really into learning about first Norwegian immigrants to Minnesota, allot a couple hours. There are some really neat artifacts! I wish I would've visited the Vesterheim early on in my pastoral call to Zion.

Self-guided Historical Architecture Tour: This was another one of my favorite highlights of the Decorah adventure. Justin and I picked up the brochure for this self-guided walking tour at the Visitor's Center. It's a VERY well put together map with information about many of the oldest houses in town. For those who count your steps using a pedometer or FitBit, this walking tour will serve you well! (Also, say you *hypothetically* want to pretend to be a tour guide named Mildred who knows everything there is to know about Decorah - this self-guided walking tour and its accompanying map will provide all the creative space and resources you need to live out your tour guide dreams!)
Food scenes: Top left - Mabe's, Top right - Restauration, Bottom left - Java John's, Bottom right - Oneota Coop

Restauration: Yummy breakfast. We both ordered the mushroom and bacon omelet with gouda. I really liked it a lot, but I wasn't able to finish it all because it was very large. So good! Consider sharing! The coffee was good, too.

Mabe's Pizza: THEY HAVE A GLUTEN-FREE, 10-INCH CRUST OPTION. This was my favorite meal. Black olive, green olive, and pepperoni. Completley delicious. I ate almost the whole thing.

Oneota Co-op: It was food and I consumed it.

Java John's: Delicious mocha! On a rainy day, I would love to go back and spend more time there reading a local paper and people-watching.

There are so many awesome, affordable places to visit within a 3-hour radius of Stewartville. I feel grateful and excited for more expeditions in the coming summer months. Thanks for following along as I share about my travels with family and friends. I hope these posts will be a good resource for you as you go about creating your own summer adventure agendas.