Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sunday Salon - August 12

How does that song go? "Back to life, back to reality." Re-entry is always tough - all of those dirty clothes you've brought home, getting back to a schedule, having to cook your own meals.

As long as we weren't in the car in the city, we had a great vacation and I loved that all five of us were able to go. As my kids get older, I know that opportunities for family vacations are growing fewer and fewer. We started our trip off with a couple of days visiting my brother-in-law and his wife in Decorah, Iowa. It's a charming small town in northeast Iowa that proudly celebrates its Nordic heritage. Set in a river valley and up the bluffs, it's a small town with plenty to do and all of the amenities.

Here's where I spent a good part of every day we were in Decorah. The temperatures had finally dropped enough that the porch was a great place to relax with a good book. My in-laws are both big readers so they completely understood my need to spend some down time not talking - in fact, my sister-in-law read an entire book while we were there. She's been working crazy hours for the past few months so I was glad to give her permission to stick her nose in a book and ignore us.

With all five of us in the vehicle, there was very little room for purchases along the way. Of course that didn't stop me from picking up a couple of books at Dragonfly Books. It's my duty as a book lover to support indie bookstores and my duty as a tourist to support the local economy, right? I picked up a couple of more books at Paper Moon in McGregor, Iowa, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Paper Moon is one part bookstore, one part gift shop. It is three stories of fun.

Across from McGregor lies Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, home of the Valley Fish and Cheese shop. As good as the food they sell is, one of the main draws of the shop is the outdoor decor. This big boy just may be the background of our Christmas card family photo.

Then it was on to the Twin Cities. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I hated the traffic in Minneapolis (seriously people - red lights are not merely a suggestion) but loved the food (Sebastian Joe's ice cream is some of the best we've ever had) and the museums.

Next year? Even The Big Guy who likes to keep busy agrees that it's time to take a vacation that involves staying put in one place for the entire week. I'm already trying to think about how many books I'll need to take for that kind of vacation.

What's your favorite place to vacation?

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