Big Night in the Amana Colonies
The 16th night of our road trip landed us in The Amana Colonies of Iowa. It was October 5, which happened to be Don's 60th birthday. This is not the place most wish for, when dreaming up big landmark birthday celebrations.
But Don was busy trying to ignore his birthday, so we didn't really need a lavish hotel with ballrooms and champagne. Besides, who says you can't celebrate in the Amana Colonies? We aren't talking Amish... although many confuse them.
Our hotel was built in 1862, when the 4-block town of Homestead needed accommodations for travelers arriving at the nearby stagecoach stop and train depot.
At 20 years old, Homestead was then, the youngest of the 7 villages that made up The Amana's.
In 1862 the hotel opened with 15 guest rooms and one bathroom, all upstairs. The kitchen, dining room and private residence were downstairs. The hotel was probably pretty skilled at serving large groups of guests since at one time the Amana's had over 50 communal kitchens.
The German immigrants, who made up the Amana Colonies lived a communal life, sharing everything from labor to food. There were no pay checks, children went to school 6 days a week and worship services were attended 11 times a week. Sounds like a fun place for a birthday celebration to me!
The Amana's set aside communal living in 1932 and today you can find lots of beer in the German villages!
But the best part is how amazingly peaceful it still is, despite some weekend tourists. This was the view right outside the door.
We arrived at 6 on Sunday evening and headed into the little welcome area. Owners, Bonnie and Brian greeted us from behind the desk.
Brian wore overalls and sighed like he'd just come in from a hard day's work on the farm. Bonnie laughed that it had indeed been quite a day. But they weren't exhausted by farm work. The Amana's had been celebrating Octoberfest all weekend. They were happily exhausted from all the tourism.
Bonnie and Bill are not the Zubers. The hotel is named for Bill Zuber who grew up in The Amana's and had a 19-year career in pro baseball.
He and his wife bought the hotel in 1949 and operated as a restaurant until 2006. His old uniforms were on display behind glass and a tile floor near the kitchen showed an image of Zuber pitching.
Wagon Wheel Room
This room was added by the Zubers in 1961. It reminded me of my own family room in Grinnell, Iowa back in the '60's.
Something about the paneling and lots of Americana... and games and TV! It was pretty cozy and welcoming, especially since brownie treats and coffee were up for grabs.
The whole interior felt more 1962 than 1862. There have been other more recent updates, but I kind of liked the odd '60's feel.
It was easier to picture Dick, Jane and Sally roaming these halls than a little German girl with long braids and an apron.
Our corner room was on the second floor. It had a train theme going on, that would have thrilled the Birthday Boy about 50+ years ago. (I should have gotten him some railroad pjs for his birthday!)
But l love trains and I love a theme, so I took it all in, from train books, to a framed map of rail lines, to lanterns, to a beautiful model train crafted by a local.
Trains at Night
It was very quiet after we got back from a German feast at Ronnenburg's that night.
I think the hotel was actually full, but there seemed to be quite a few old-timers staying over, who turned in early. No TV noise or traffic sounds to keep us awake. Just a few soothing train whistles that fit the theme!
A breakfast buffet was served in the Wagon Wheel Room. Unlike this photo (taken the evening before) almost every table was taken. The old timers who went to bed early were up early, too. In fact I looked around and wondered where these folks came from.
In the past, Don and I have met incredibly interesting and incredibly dull people at B&Bs. This was one of those times I was sort of relieved not to be sharing a big table with fellow guests, all talking about what fall crafts were purchased at the Octoberfest.
Don is talking to the Diane, who cooked the wonderful buffet. Diane was more delightful than dull and her food was excellent!
She's looking a little serious here, because we just handed her our Ford Motor Cookbook from 1952. It had an illustration of "Bill Zuber's Restaurant" and a recipe for Obst Kuchen.
Breakfast and the Book
This dull photo does not reveal the delicious flavors of my breakfast! Egg casserole with tomato and corn, poppyseed coffee cake, orange French toast...! It was a nice change having a B&B buffet and getting to choose!
I was glad I kept the cookbook handy since Bonnie and Brian stopped in to greet folks. They were both pretty thrilled to see this retro book and asked to make photo copies. Who knows, they may be serving up that odd, rhubarb filled fruit cake before long!
We stayed in a hotel, built in a communal village. That's what I'll remember. It had a completely different feel than other historic hotels or Victorian Bed & Breakfasts. It wasn't a ranch and it wasn't a lodge and it certainly wasn't a motel or motor court.
Mostly it was just plain comfortable. Bonnie, Brian and Diane all welcomed us as if we were neighbors that they cared about but weren't trying to impress. Maybe that doesn't sound like a compliment, but to me that was just what was needed on the 16th night of our trip.
As for the Colonies? I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of our hotel being part of a German speaking community, 152 years ago. I'm already itching to go back and absorb all the history we didn't have time for!
On the 15th day of our road trip, Don and I made it to my old hometown!
Where to Stay?
Weeks earlier, I searched online for a place to stay. I hadn't been back to Iowa since I was 12, in 1969. so I had no idea about options.
My memories of Grinnell had always been ridiculously Norman Rockwell-ish, so I wanted a special place. When I saw the photo of this lovely Victorian B&B, I grew eager. The Marsh House might be as close as I could get, to staying in my old (not exactly grand) house.
Weather had turned cold and blustery by the time we arrived. We spent a few dizzy hours searching for places I remembered.
My old yellow house had turned blue, Cooper School was now a parking lot, my favorite candy store was boarded up... But, I found my old church and favorite park and the old downtown still looked pretty sweet.
Memories of Fall
So many memories came back as I spotted old sidewalks and changing leaves. But I was suddenly eager to get to the Marsh House and be cozy and warm and sulk a little about the fact I no longer knew anyone in Grinnell.
Even the locals I'd spoken with, had been too young or too new, to remember the things I asked about. Everything appeared warped. Not quite how I remembered.
We found our B&B in a quiet neighborhood. As we approached the shady porch, I allowed myself to fret for a moment that we hadn't called ahead to make sure our reservations were in place.
We rang the bell and waited a while. I could see a woman peer out, before unlocking the door. Her expression looked as if she thought we might be selling something. But our quiet host Linda, had been expecting us. She showed us around the beautiful Victorian home, built in 1892. She gave us a key and welcomed us to park in back.
The Back Door
I kind of liked having a key to the backdoor. I felt like a college kid, coming home for the holiday.
The kitchen was warm and quiet, when we entered. Linda had gone downstairs to finish some ironing, but had already invited us to help ourselves to coffee or drinks in the fridge.
Through the House
We carried our bags to the entryway and I peeked through the pocket doors to the parlor, where an antique pump organ reminded me of my old Grinnell home.
My sibs and I used to have a a good old time filling the house with haunted music on our wood organ. One would frantically work up a sweat, pumping the pedals, while another pressed the keys creating clashing chords. I didn't dare touch the Marsh House organ.
We walked by the elegant fireplace and headed up the stairs.
I paused to admire a colorful stained glass window, that refused to let in the gloomy day!
I made use of the beautifully carved banister as I dragged my weary self upward. (After 15 days of 1-night stays, I was beginning to feel my age)
The sight of our door with warm, dark wood and rounded frame was inviting.
Quite the Hall
Our door and about 4 others, opened to an airy hall, with yet another fireplace and more antiques.
Linda told us she would be heading home soon, but another couple would be staying the night. Later, when I heard the floors creak under foot, I wished we'd had the place to ourselves. I wasn't in the mood for whispering and tiptoeing or even chatting with strangers. I was feeling sorry for myself. I was frustrated that there was no one in the entire town who wanted to share Grinnell memories with me. Even our hosts were originally from another state.
Our Sweet Room
We didn't have the turret room, but we did have a cozy, corner room with an antique bed. Surprisingly, it was as comfortable as it was beautiful.
But I was a bit distracted by my homecoming melancholy. I wasn't absorbing all the incredible details. I had to remind myself to stop moping and start noticing.
There was nothing hidden about the gold painted radiator! I love the look of an old radiator and the gold sort of made me grin.
Then, there was a hefty, antique wardrobe, that was hiding a Murphy bed! And there was a TV hidden in the closet. Don and I chuckled over Linda's offer to pull it out and set it up. TV was the last thing we were interested in, but it was nice that she asked.
Room With a View
I wish it had been warm enough to open the corner windows for a breeze. But at least I got to peek through the lace curtains, which offered a nice neighborhood view... along with some curious activity!
Two police cars had stopped to question a woman. That was an entertaining distraction. I felt like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, waiting for the story to unfold.
I adored the pink chaise lounge chair and the Victorian lamp, that had to be turned off for this photo... because the "beaded light" made me look like I had chicken pox.
The bathroom was attached, which was a treat. You have to love a marble sink and wooden toilet with a funny push button flusher!
Morning at Marsh House
Don and I slept well despite a few train whistles. The sound was a little more nostalgia for me! I remember putting pennies on the Grinnell railroad tracks. I also remember lying in bed as a child at night, listening to the trains.
We rose early and tiptoed over the creaky floors past the Murphy bed, trying not to wake our neighbors on our way down to breakfast.
Linda and her husband Jim were busy in the kitchen. We greeted and headed to the formal dining room.
I generally don't stay moody this long, but the gray morning didn't help. After 45 years away, I'm not sure what would have made this return more positive. I promised Don I'd enjoy breakfast and cheer up.
Easing into the Morning
We started with coffee, then Linda brought out our "fruit soup" and raspberry waffles.
We had planned on a quick eat and run, but Jim ended up sitting down to join us. Suddenly we found out we had lots in common with this quiet couple. We shared some Ann Arbor and University of Michigan memories!
Guillermo and Carol
We expected to be gone by 9, but by the time our fellow guests came to the table, I was no longer in a rush. At last I found my connection! Guillermo and his wife had flown in from California, to attend his 50th Grinnell High School Reunion!
For the next hour, we eagerly swapped stories of Cooper School and its eerie basement and curious playground equipment. Both our fathers and been teachers at Grinnell College and we had ridden our bikes on the same quiet streets and had root beer in heavy mugs at the same A&W. It turns out Jim and Linda had lived in Grinnell long enough that they were actually able to chime in and add to the fun. I ended up with my computer at the table, sharing old scanned photos from my Grinnell Days, in the '60's.
Time to Go
Before we headed off, Carol offered to take our photo, standing on those great striped floors. My grumpy mood had been completely lifted by this quirky breakfast gathering and I regretted that we couldn't linger longer. If we had dashed earlier without eating, I would have had a totally different memory of our stay at Marsh House. The breakfast interaction ended up being the medicine I needed!
Even though Don had offered up as much support and enthusiasm as a non-Grinnellian could, I had needed just 1 connection to the Old Grinnell. And I found it just before we left!
I will obviously remember the friendly breakfast encounter, that made my stay. But aside from that, I'll always appreciate how beautifully this Victorian home was preserved and renovated.
I'm so glad the TV was hidden and the antiques were authentic. It was a treat to see portraits and art, that fit the age of the house. I totally loved the absence of unnecessary knickknacks! What a wonderful stay, after all!
An Old Flour Mill in Iowa
When we were planning our 3-week road trip, I found this mill on the internet.
A Lucky Find
I was actually looking up info on northeast Iowa, when I learned about the old mill in Bellevue. The mill was built in 1843, and was powered by a giant waterwheel.
For many years the mil produced flour and eventually closed in 1969. When I learned about the mill, it was getting ready to open as a bed & breakfast and restaurant. I was able to reserve a room before they even opened.
A Cold October Day
We arrived on Friday afternoon. The cold winds blew us right from the car to the Potter's Mill sign, swinging on an old piece of machinary. At a glance, the red and white wooden structure looked like a large house.
If it hadn't been so dang freezing out, I would have stood there and studied the odd doors and windows. This was clearly no house. There were doors where houses have no doors.
We walked through a hefty door, that you would never see on a house. We found no lobby inside. It's a mill, after all.
The lower floor of the mill had been turned into the "Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ Restaurant". It smelled good.
There was a lot of "mill stuff" decorating the limestone walls of the restaurant. There were sheets and chains and grinding things. The only thing I recognized were some bags of flour.
I should actually know a lot more about mills, because my Dad's family owned the Meyer Milling Company in Missouri, years ago. But that was long before I was born.
The Inn Area
We took a few minutes exploring, until our host Mark arrived.
Mark took us up in the elevator, which was a surprising luxury. The doors opened on the third floor to a cozy common area, with a couch, rockers, table with checkers and more curious mill equipment.
The Mill Suite
There were only 4 guest rooms, so it wasn't difficult to find our room which was named, "The Mill Suite". Ours seemed to be the only room that had a deer head there to greet us!
I loved the old floors!
Something about the wind whistling outside made the smooth, dark, 171-year old floors seem extra cozy!
The first thing I saw when we entered, was this funny thing handing down from the ceiling.
It looked like some giant mousetrap, getting ready to catch me! And I loved it. This is what we were paying for. The experience of sleeping in Iowas' older mill! I'm so glad they kept this stuff.
Mark almost seemed sheepish, as we entered the room. "We don't do lace." he reminded with a laugh. Di we look like people who expected room service?
The curtains were about as sheer as lace, though. The north window was in view of the parking area, so we had to think twice before parading around nude.
Coffee and Chairs
There was heat in the room, but the very sound of the wind made us excited about making a little coffee with the Kuerig.
We settled with our mugs into the blue chairs, to relax for a while. I had to chuckle as I took in some of the odd decorating details. I pretty much loved the lamp/table between the two cozy seats!
Not only was there a mill picture on the lampshade, but there was a hinged lid, that lifted to expose a little barrel shaped container of games. Tiddly Winks! Haven't seen that game in a while!
A Curious Bathroom
We had a rod and curtains, in place of a door to the bathroom. Once again, we were chuckling at yet another hotel bathroom with privacy issues. We've had our share.
We did have a mighty nice tub, but no shower. And there was a step up into the bathroom, so we had to be cautious about that!
I love a view and we had a great one, looking down on Potter's Mill Creek. It faced the east, which might have offered a good sunrise, except the bluffs across the creek were pretty high and close. No sun in the morning, anyway.
Our north window had a view of the railroad bridge. We enjoyed the rumbling trains (with no whistle) at night.
It was the perfect evening to stay in. We followed the smell of BBQ to the first floor. We chose to eat and drink at the bar instead of the tables, since everyone seemed chatty and welcoming.
Our room stay came with a complimentary appetizer and we picked the fried green tomatoes with crabmeat. Dessert-like delicious! We also shared some shredded pork served on fries. Both perfect for a cold night!
The best part of the evening, was visiting around at the bar. We spoke with a local mom, who had been at the homecoming game and raced over to Potter's Mill for warmth.
We spoke with Ron and Linda (pictured) and a couple others who gave us great tips for places to see in the next few days. And we chatted with Inn owners, Mark and Rachel who shared about their adventures of opening this place a month earlier.
We rose early and tiptoed out to the common area to grab some breakfast nibbles. No other room guests came out to join us. Mark said he and Rachel don't like to push the let's all gather around for breakfast thing.
I'm actually fine with that. Mostly I was glad we weren't being served a big sit-down breakfast. My clothes were beginning to get tight from eating on the road.
We did manage to take in a few sights near PM Inn, before leaving town. It was well worth a stop at Bellevue State Park, just across the creek from The Inn. We found a great view of the town and the Mississippi, but a rather disturbing view of a few boys. I cringed as I watched them racing to get off the railroad bridge as a train approached, blasting its horn!
They managed to scramble off just before the train crossed. Then they were back on, as if they do this daily. So in other words, there is excitement in Bellevue and the Mill area.
We stayed in a mill! And we got to support the preservation of a piece of history... and support a new business!
But in truth I may remember our cozy gathering at the bar as much as anything. We always learn from the people we meet, as we travel. We gained more info in that 2 hours, than any other stop on our trip. We took notes from our new friends and followed through with suggestions.
Good people encounters can be a real bonus!
Frank Lloyd Wright's Creation!
We can definitely add to our list of unusual overnights, after our stay at Park Inn Hotel.
We stayed in the only existing Frank Lloyd Wright designed hotel in the world!
Mason City, Iowa!
One would think if you wanted to sleep in the only remaining hotel built by the famous architect of Prairie School Design, you'd have to go to a big city.
But, I guess it's fitting that this building style, inspired by the horizontal landscapes of midwest prairies, would be found in a modest town in north Iowa!
A Drizzly Stay
We arrived on a gray October afternoon. I so badly wanted to see the sunshine on the elaborate, yellow brick and terra-cotta facade.
Then again, the blah weather made it easier to imagine the years when this building wasn't the spotlight of Mason City. By the 1970's, the city hardly knew what to do with it. The hotel was almost torn down.
Back to Life
In 2010, the hotel reopened after a complete renovation. The Wright-designed City National Bank, (attached to the hotel) became the hotel's ballroom.
On the Thursday when we arrived, the ballroom space was being set up for the 8th Annual Iowa Independent Film Festival.
Was Frank Short?
I'm just under 5"3', so I didn't even notice. But after we checked in with Chaurice (who was the most delightful desk clerk we had during our 22-day road trip) Don just laughed at how claustrophobic he felt under the low ceiling.
I had to google F.LW.'s height and he was indeed on the short side. I think he actually liked annoying people who had to hunch a bit in some of his low spaces!
This 2-story room behind the lobby made up for the cramped front desk area. It had once been the hotel's dining room, but was now filled with reproduction Stickley Mission-style furniture as well as Arts & Crafts style lamps and artwork.
This lounging area was just plain inviting, especially compared to so many of the Victorian historic hotels we've tiptoed around! Not only was this space comfy, but the skylight made it refreshing. And the mezzanine above the lobby had a player piano tinkling away with some fitting tunes.
The 25 panels of skylight glass were all original. That's pretty lucky, since so many details in the building had been removed or lost over the years.
Another window that looked out towards the park, showed hints of fall trees through the muted greens and yellows of the glass. Pretty lovely.
Hall on 2nd Floor
I like to take hall photos and that's sort of silly. But I loved our hall. The carpet and light fixtures were very Wright-esque in design and the dark wood doors and trim were original.
But the best part was the sloping, funhouse feel I got walking down to room 215. I felt like I'd had a few martinis... or maybe I was on a ship out at sea.
Our cozy room was perfect. Yes, it was a bit narrow, but it was nearly twice the size of the original.
There are only 27 guest rooms now, but there were over 40 in 1910. No two guest rooms are alike in the hotel and this one was less than $100. It amazes me that you can have this experience for that price.
H P I
We saw the Historic Park Inn logo (with great Craftsman font) all over the room. That, and lots of geometric shapes.
As I explored and absorbed this wonderful place, I realized how little I know about FLW and his design! But the little kid in me wanted to count squares! Look at the squares on the rectangular pillow!
Cozy Room & Bath
We had 2 large square windows that looked over the hotel skylight. They also looked right into the windows on the opposite side of the hotel, so we mostly kept our shades down.
I spotted more squares on the light fixtures and desk chair. In the bathroom we had my favorite honeycomb tile as well as more logo... on the shower curtains and super fluffy towels. Even the bath soap had a little FLW shape to it!
I fit right in with my book "Loving Frank" (Fictionalized Frank) as I sat in one of the many cozy areas.
Don's 6'2" frame did not fit as he walked into the mezzanine area, which looks down over the lobby.
Hanging with the Gentlemen
In the basement we found Seth, in his vest and bow tie, tending bar at the 1910 Lounge.
This area was once the Gentlemen's Lounge and I seemed to be the only woman, but no one kicked me out. We had a great time learning about area from Seth, who is a Mason City native.
Film and Billiards
It was a chilly, wet evening so we decided to stay put. In the lounge we chatted with Seth and Chef Kurt, who dashed in from the kitchen a few times to check on the football scores. We also learned about the Film Festival from a local writer and festival worker, who stopped in to take a break from setting up in the ballroom.
Then, we chatted with another Seth, from Chicago, who had directed one of the films being shown at the festival. We didn't squeeze in a game of "billiards" which I'm sure wouldn't have allowed ladies back in 1910.
Up For Dinner
We headed upstairs to 1910 Grille for dinner. We enjoyed some of Chef Kurt's Portabella Risotto and a tasty sampler of wines.
My photo is blurry because I rushed. (The place was too classy for touristy I-phone snaps.) The atmosphere was lovely and the food was excellent. FLW would have approved!
Good Morning Ladies
We had our complimentary breakfast in the area that was once the Ladies Lounge. The ladies had no billiards, but they had a balcony with a nice view of the grassy town square.
I let Don join me for coffee, since I enjoyed the Men's Lounge the night before! I loved the square saucer and HPI napkin, but the breakfast was a bit skimpy. I don't think FLW would have been impressed. But then, maybe he wasn't a big breakfast eater.
Rain or Shine
The morning was as moist as the day before, but I'm so glad we didn't let the gloomy weather keep us from taking a walk. Not only did we see The Stockman House, also designed by Wright, but we strolled through the Glen Park Neighborhood. (Many architects who worked with Wright while building the hotel, were commissioned to build homes nearby.)
And then of course, we had to walk across the "Music Man Footbridge" in honor of Meredith Willson, who was from Mason City. This town inspired Willson's "River City" when he wrote "The Music Man". Funny to picture Mr. W. being about 8 years old when FLW was overseeing the construction of our hotel!
The obvious answer is that we stayed in a hotel built by the most famous American architect. But besides that, I will always remember this hotel as being out of place.
Not only did the hotel seem too special to be tucked into this small town in Iowa, but the people didn't fit the Iowa image either. For that reason I was left feeling like I hadn't cracked the mystery. I have such a strong urge to go back and observe and learn more... especially on a sunny day!
Family Farm in Postville, Iowa
On October 1st, Don and I drove just outside Postville, down a gravel road to have our night in a barn!
My Iowa Dream!
I lived my first 10 years in Iowa, but my father was a college teacher and I hardly have a memory of a farm. It has been my dream to go back to Iowa and stay on a farm!
When our car tires crunched over the gravel drive, the farm pets were first to notice.
After a few kitty sightings and a sweet greeting by Rover the lab, we met our host Donna.
Donna and Rover took us to our barn. It was perfect!
We knew we weren't going to be staying in a hay loft. The barn was created just a couple years ago. But Donna and Dave built this barn using the wood from their neighbor's 100 year old barn, when it had to come down.
Most barns don't have porches. But being a big fan of barns and a fan of porches, this was going to be my dream stay. Never have I stayed in a hotel, B &B or Inn, with a view like this! Ahhh, Cornfields!
This was luxury living as far as barns go. I've never seen a barn with kitchen and fireplace. It was homey-rustic, with everything we needed!
A Corny Bathroom
The wall around the bathroom door was made from old barn wood, showing some of the original red paint. Between the slats was yellow & green, corn-print fabric. I was glad to see a modern toilet and a shower curtain as nice as any Marriott's.
But the sheep's water troth made for some amusing showers! The rectangular sink could have been 100 years younger than the desk it was built on. And all I could do was laugh at my image in the yoke framed mirror as I washed my hands!
Up in the Silo
The silo from the old barn couldn't be saved. But at least we knew this new one, which enclosed the spiral staircase, was plenty sturdy.
The Dales thought of everything. They even had a small nightlight under one of the steps, to make it safe. The view from above was pretty fun!
We had 3 options for sleeping up in the loft. On one side there was a queen bed with picket fence headboard.
Or we could have made our selves cozy under the quilt in the smaller "wagon wheel" bed. A cat walk away, was another sleeping area with a full sized bed.
Exploring Every Nook
It was obvious that Donna dnd Dave had fun putting this place together!
There were fun details like the curtains made from an old quilt, and the book nook with a little door, filled with farm and cabin books for kids.
There were also mystery pieces of farm equipment, that I didn't recognize... turned into wall hangers and containers to hold games, or even lamps.
The stools at the game table, were more familiar. Milk cans with tractor seats!
Rain had been predicted, so I was thrilled that we had time outside! I couldn't get over the corn! I wandered along the edge of the field until I got a good glimpse of some cows!
Don spent a little time with his uke and a sleeping, white kitty on the porch.
I spotted cows lounging under a tree. Then I had a fun staring contest, with a sweet white cow, standing in the haze of the dusty dirt road.
Next, I spied a tractor on the gravel road! This wasn't just a Disney version of a farm after all. And then Don and I hiked down a dirt road and enjoyed the quiet... except for a woodpecker!
I packed a lot of silly stuff for this 22-day road trip and my "farm apron" was included. I had hoped I might get to do at least one farm chore during this stay. Donna did indeed humor me and she let me collect eggs with her. It was a hoot going in the coop and watching the hens feast on their dinner while we gathered up the brown eggs.
Donna pointed out how the chickens like to crowd their eggs into 1 or 2 areas. "I think they spot an egg and figure it's a safe spot and then they all go for it. They end up getting cracked sometimes."
Eggs Put to Use
In the morning Donna carted a couple loads of breakfast goodies to our kitchen able!
There was a wooden box with dishes and placemats, drinking jars and cold chocolate milk. In the "cooler" we had all the hot stuff along with a list of where all our homegrown and homemade goodies came from!
There was an egg, potato and cheese bake in one skillet and crispy bacon in another hot dish. We had baked apples and a giant puff pancake served with pure maple syrup. All washed down with a a big pot of coffee!
That we stayed in a barn was plenty. But the whole experience from animals to corn made the stay perfect.
We made use of as much as we could during our short time. Next time... a campfire in the pit, maybe? Or milk a cow? It was pretty ideal the way it was!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!