Our big vacation turned into a little one, but nice nonetheless. We went all over Iowa, starting with a day of horseback riding at the Shenandoah Stables in Galena. This was for Grace, the horse crazy girl. She's never ridden on a big horse by herself, so was thrilled to get to do so. The stable owners said she is a natural. Anna is too, James and I, not so much. We were groaning for days after! Anna's vacation wish was to go swimming at a hotel, so off to Decorah for that. We picked Decorah because it is very close to Burr Oak, where there is a little Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. It is one of the least known of her homes. The family lived there for a year and worked at a hotel. Their only son died at 9 months of age at that time and baby Grace was born there. The tiny room the family of 5 lived in was about the size of my bathroom. Can't think how they did it!
Of course, we stopped at every little town along the way for antiques, and some scary shops we found. I have never seen so much crap in my life! It was like the most agonizing day of bad yard sales ever. One good shop was in a garage of all places, in Decorah (photo below). We went over to the Mississippi and explored McGregor, which is a gorgeous river town frozen in time, sadly the antique shops were numerous, but pretty awful. We stopped in Le Claire too, another gorgeous town where the American Pickers shop is, not much else though.
Vacation highlights for me always involve food, so skinny people who don't eat, look away now! In Decorah, out in the middle of a beautiful park is Dolce Vita, and the four of us were making yummy sounds the entire time. Started with the best salad I have ever had. Grace hardly ever eats lettuce, but after one bite, she took half mine. Though we went in for Italian food, the special was filet mignon and we all got it, it was perfect, followed by a blueberry crumble of heavenly design. That made the whole trip worthwhile!