canoeing on the upper Iowa, fern hollow, rubiyat: Decorah Iowa!


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Fern hollow, Decorah

Fern hollow, Decorah

It is very dark and very quiet, except for the pulsing sound of crickets outside our screen windows in this charming back-to-basics, almost -off-the grid room of blond wood, ceramics, antiques and crafts. we are staying in the room for rent (via air b&b) of a family’s handmade wooden house deep in a wooded hollow (hence the name: fern hollow).

It always impresses me when I visit a place like this, that a family has made a place so uniquely theirs, making such a commitment to creating the life they want, living with the courage of their convictions. In this case, there is a strong sustainable living and ag vibe here (we peed in a toilet filled with sawdust. Reminded me of kitty litter — apparently to save on water…which is better than the option for the family staying deeper in the hollow in a restored 150-year old cabin built by the owners’ Norwegian ancestors. They have to walk in the dark to an outhouse). I feel a bit sheepish typing on this iPad but I won’t be able to post. No wifi, no cell phone calls. Which is refreshing. A ceramic bowl full of red and gold raspberries from the bount20140831-194829.jpgiful garden here was waiting for us in our room.

We had a nice easy float on the upper Iowa river on a spectacular day. It finally stopped raining so everything is very green and the sky was finally bright and blue with huge puffy white clouds above green but yellowing fields of tall corn. We hired a canoe for two hours at one of our usual spots – chimney rock. All good except for some obnoxious rowdy fellow canoeists – but hey it’s Labor Day weekend. Paddling past the high stone bluffs and grassy banks, we saw an eagle soaring high above us and blue egrets flapping and little goldfinches darting here and there. Lovely.

Dinner in Decorah at rubiyat was excellent. Such a pretty town full of beautiful old homes, a very well kept downtown with brick storefronts almost all filled with small independent businesses, some mom and pop types that have been here for years, plus good galleries, a food co-op, a diverse smattering of restaurants including my favorite name for a soft serve ice cream stand : the whippy dip!
Now if you will excuse me, I have to leaf through a photo book about tree houses that I found on our book shelves.

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