Taking a stroll around Decorah, Iowa

I love walking around a new city or town. Unique shops, architecture, old courthouses, tasty restaurants. A new find around every corner. I recently had the opportunity to check out Decorah with a few other travel writers during a culinary tour that was sponsored by Travel Iowa.

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My friend Sara, of Travel with Sara, and I arrived in Decorah and went straight to check-in at the historic Hotel Winnesheik. It is located right on Decorah’s main street – Water Street. We took a tour of the hotel and settled in for dinner at the onsite restaurant, Restauration. The dinner was fabulously prepared with local products by Chef Tom Skold.

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After dinner, a few of us took a walk down to a local legend – Whippy Dip – for dessert on a great early fall evening. One of our group hadn’t been to Decorah for a while and was eager to relive that tasty memory. This was despite the fact that Whippy Dip was already on our planned itinerary for the next evening with the whole group. When Sara and I let our followers on social media know that we were headed to Decorah, Whippy Dip kept being brought up to not miss. We were glad that we made the stop, as three of us got a chocolate-dipped twist cone. It was tasty but very messy. Reminder for next time, bring wet wipes.


The next morning, another friend, Connie of Midwest Wanderer, and I decided to get up early to check out a nearby waterfall before the events of the day. There were a couple of ladies who were getting up early to go for a run. We thought we would just walk. We were not even completely sure where we were going but knew that we were going to pass the Whippy Dip from the night before. We made it to a sign that said Dunning Springs and started to hear water and knew we were close. We saw a little bit of a creek and wondered if that was all there was to it. We decided to wander a little farther. There it was – Dunning Springs. It’s a waterfall and not one that most would expect to see in Iowa, as many people perceive the state as flat. It’s a beautiful site and a great way to spend a couple of hours. We were there before the real leaf color changes, and I was just imagining how beautiful it would get in just a matter of weeks.

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That evening we were back at Whippy Dip, and this time I tried the chocolate chip cookie dough tornado.  It was tasty, with real cookie dough. On our way back to the hotel, we saw one of the many memorable views during our visit. The old courthouse has a clock tower that appears to glow in the evening light. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.

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One thing Tim will tell you is that I love architecture. Decorah has some great examples of several types of architecture. You can even pick up an architecture tour brochure at the chamber office, as well as information kiosks downtown.

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Some of the city’s history doesn’t stop at the exterior of the buildings. Check out the original bank doors we found inside KD Rae Jewelry store across from the Hotel Winnesheik.

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As Sara and I drove out of town at the end of our stay, we found one more little surprise gem. An old depot was repurposed into a chiropractor’s office.  architecturedecorah6

I really enjoyed discovering Decorah, and look forward to taking Tim there sometime soon. ‘

For more information to plan your visit, check out www.visitdecorah.com.