What I did on my summer vacation

We are back from vacation. It was fun. We drove across the I-states (Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa), and visited the Amana Colonies and Platte River State Park where we got married last year. We also ate a lot of food. More below.

We decided we’d had enough of doing the entire 13 hour drive to Nebraska in one day, and broke up our journey at the Amana Colonies in central Iowa. Amana was originally settled by some weird cultists–I mean some members of a religious sect called the Inspirationists–who immigrated from Germany. The church selected the tract of land in Iowa, and seven villages were settled in which they practiced a “communal” farming way of life. The communal way of life was dissolved in 1932, but the original buildings, the descendants of the settlers, and the Amana church are still there. Now it’s a tourist destination with cute B&Bs, shops selling hand crafts, and restaurants where they serve you lots and LOTS of very heavy German food.
The main village with the shops is Amana. We stayed in “Middle Amana” which is very small and very, very quiet, at B&Bs in some of the original Amana buildings. We checked out some of the shops, looked at some very expensive handmade baskets, contemplated buying some of the locally made wine until we realized we don’t like wine, and visited the Amana heritage museum. And, we ate a lot of food. The second day we were there, we visited the Ox Yoke Inn, where Andy had a plateful of sausage and I had a combination plate of sauerbraten and Jager Schnitzel. Meals come with a lot of little bowls of more food–cottage cheese, cole slaw, corn, potatoes & gravy, and the inevitable sauerkraut. It was very yummy and enough food for six people. We also shared a piece of peanut butter and chocolate cream pie. That was two days ago and I still feel full.
We stayed at a cabin at Platte River State Park over the weekend. On Friday I drove into town to see Mom & Dad and pack up the rest of the wedding presents, including at least a couple that we haven’t sent thank-yous for, and one which doesn’t seem to have a name attached. Whoever sent us the pretty blue glass vase–thank you! It’s beautiful!
Then we went to see my friend Jen (Jen, you should get a blog so I can link to you) and her new house, which is very cool. She had her wedding bouquet freeze-dried and has it displayed on the wall, which was probably a better idea than my plan of taking it with us on our honeymoon and throwing it away a few days later when it started to rot. We all went back to Platte and between the five of us managed to grill some burgers (so far as I know, none of us have fallen ill of food poisoning as a result), and had a fine time looking at Jen’s and our wedding pictures.
Over the weekend we hiked around most of the park, went to see the fish at Schramm aquarium, where we also fed some fish, viewed an Interesting Geological Feature, and I relived my childhood. We went to the Strategic Air & Space museum, extended our grilling repertoire with some steaks (it was a very carnivorous sort of time), experienced thunderstorms, and patronized a restaurant with a very unusual theme (warning: this link is not suitable for the weak of stomach or those sensitive to pure wrongness). What is most disturbing about the latter is that this is pretty much the only restaurant for miles around.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable vacation, but it’s good to be back home, where the sun is shining and no unusual food items are lurking in the kitchen.

2 Responses to “What I did on my summer vacation”

  1. Jeff says:

    While searching to make sure I had the correct email address for you I stumbled upon your account of your last vacation. Amana Colonies is kind of cool. Haven’t been there since I was a kid though. But, I CAN have all the traditional German food anytime I want. 🙂 Well anyway, glad you two had a nice time. To be honest I got a little homesick reading that. 🙂

  2. michele says:

    Hi, Jeff! Thanks for the comment! I don’t know how you guys stay so skinny if you eat like they do in the Amana Colonies all the time 🙂

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