Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Historic Treasures

Historic Treasure One.  Good friends. 

I met “Snowman” Dennis in chat quite a few years ago.  We quickly became friends, both online and in “real” life.  So that makes his and his wife’s friendship historic. Right?  And they are definitely a treasure.

Dennis, Kris, Deanna, Jim

Dennis and Kris live in Wisconsin (Ya!) and we live in Missouri.  We’ve visited each other’s homes quite a few times.  This time we decided to try something different and meet each other halfway.  So we met at the Amana Colonies in Iowa.

Historic Treasure Two.  Amana Colonies

Antique Store

The Amana Colonies are a National Historic Landmark and one of the America’s longest-lived communal societies with its history beginning in 1855.  The residents were fleeing Germany from persecution and poverty when they came to the states.  Their communal life where everyone had a role to play and no wages were earned was one of simplicity and humility and worship.  This way of life ended in 1932 during the Great Depression.

Shopping in the General Store

General Store

Today The Colonies are a national treasure with the buildings restored to their 1800’s simplicity.  We were constantly grinning at the friendliness of the many shop keepers.  Yea, that’s right.  The colonies are now a tourist trap made up of shops and restaurants. 

Deanna in front of an old building

I didn’t buy anything Jim – really I didn’t!

Jim and Deanna sitting in a HUGE oak rocker

Lilly Tomlin, eat your heart out.

We were able to step back in time mentally as we’d walk past the simple buildings or the many old barns.

Old colonial building

Grape vines growing on trelises anchored to the side of a house


These historic old barns are so cool.  I can just imagine what they were like when these were working farms


Trellises are anchored to almost all of the buildings for grapes to grow on.  Sometimes there is a cut out area for the windows and sometimes not.  I’d need the cut out myself.

Historic Treasure Three.  The weather. (ok not much historic about weather, but it was definitely a treasure)


Small vineyards were sprinkled in and amongst the buildings.


Clear skies – gorgeous weather!

We couldn’t have placed a special order for better weather!  The evenings actually dipped into the 40’s.  During the day it was nice and warm in the sun and a little cool in the shade. 


Everywhere we looked we saw sunflowers, coneflowers, and grape vines.

It was fun laughing, eating, shopping, drinking, laughing, shopping, drinking, eating, eating, shopping…  with Dennis and Kris.  We always laugh until our belly hurts when we are with them. 


Did I mention that we ate a lot of food?  The restaurants served German food family style.  Lots and lots of potatoes (usually fried) sauerkraut, pancakes, fried catfish (whole, not filleted), pork, German chocolate cake, cheese cake… Oh my poor diet!

Deanna, Kris and Dennis holding boxes of bottles of wine

There were quite a few wineries.  But I’ll have to say the wines are just “ok”.  They were mostly very sweet with a twang of some kind that we couldn’t quite place. So why in the world do we have so many bottles of wine!  I have this thing that when I go into a place to taste wine, I feel guilty if I don’t buy. 

Lake with lilies and clouds reflecting in the water        

Lilly Lake.  I like how the clouds intermingle with the lilies.

We enjoyed the trip – but it is definitely good to be back home!


sherri said...

I love looking at photos of others and their experiences. Thanks for posting these. Looks like a great little get-together.

jewelzmomof4 said...

Mom I hope.....no I PRAY that when our children leave home and we are retired or semi retired like you all lol that we are able to do half the things you and dad do. Also to have suc great friends that you all have. I envy you so much and love my life as a mommy, daycare provider and wife but there are days...lol... I look at the calendar and say Hummmmm how many more years lol j/k....sort of......

AliceKay said...

Wonderful pictures. Looks like a really great place to visit. Loved the Lily Tomlin pic. :) You all looked like you were enjoying the time together. So glad the weather cooperated for you. :)

PictureGirl said...

You certainly have some beautiful photos of your trip. I'm sitting here reading your blog to my husband sayin', let's go! I can't wait. I've never even heard of the Amana colonies.

That photo of the sunflower could win a photo contest and isn't it wonderful when the sky cooperates and give's a gorgious blue?

Really enjoyed seeing all your pictures, thanks.

Nana said...

What a fun time. Great pictures too!

Queenie Jeannie said...

Oh gorgeous pictures!! Now I so want to visit myself!! WONDERFUL!!

I lived in Germany for four years....miss it!

Karla said...

What a wonderful place to visit..It's lovely to find "old" places like that to see. Looks like a great time was had by all!

Intense Guy said...

:) I love all the pictures! The in-your-face Sunflower, the pond, you and hubby in the rocker, and my favorite is you coming out of the store - the weathered peeling paint contrasts with your radiant smile.

I have to chuckle - ChicagoLady and I had talked about this place - I have a link (Visiter's Guide) and I was thinking about a virtual walker side trip there - but your entry of actually being there is much better than anything I could have cobbled up!

Tori_z said...

Glad you had a good time. :)

junyah said...

Beutifull Grounds there and very well kept-up. You go to the nicest places.Im glad your enjoying life the way you two travel around and see things and other freinds. Thanks for shareing.. Hugs JR

Leah said...

Looks like a great trip! I live in MN, and I've never heard of that place in Iowa before. I'm thinking I'll have to check it out eventually. :-D

LadyStyx said...

You do know....calories consumed on a vacation don't count. At least that's what they have always said. I do suspect that that "they" were either pullin my leg or out and out lyin' though....

gorgeous shots

MarmiteToasty said...

looks like a wonderful time was had by all...... I JUST LOVE the photo on the giant rocking chair LOL


ChicagoLady said...

Oh Punkn, you make me miss Iowa so much with this post! I love going to the Colonies. I remember taking two of my half-sisters there after my dad's funeral. We did the wine tasting and ate at the one restaurant that serves family style, omg we were so full. And we stayed in such a cute little room, it was like sleeping in the attic with the sloped roof. I wish I had someone to go back there with, it's just not as much fun going by myself.

Anonymous said...

Wow awesome sunflower and awesome Lily Lake pic!

I so want that chair for my front yard!