Inspire(d) Fall 2019

Page 1



NO. 59 FALL 2019





Learn actively Learning happens everywhere

Classrooms at Luther aren’t limited to four walls. Learning happens in the fields and rivers surrounding our campus, in operating theatres at the nation’s top hospitals, and along the cobbled streets of European cities. That’s because we believe in the power of active learning—the best way to grow knowledge and skills is to experience the world firsthand.

Limitless possibilities

At Luther, we prepare students for personal and professional success, with deep expertise in their career area of interest as well as broad knowledge that will get them thinking in new and unexpected ways. Here, students have a say in what and how they learn. Luther students are musician-athletes, biologistactors, nurse-mathematicians, and much more.

Learn more at

406 West Water Street . Decorah, Iowa . 563.382.4103


Celebrate Fall


October 5 noon-4pm

Soup Cook-Off | Hayrides | And MORE

FREE Event ®

Seed Savers Exchange | Decorah, Iowa

1930s Soda Fountain • Ice Cream, Chocolates, Nostalgic Candies, 14 Flavors of Fudge – All homemade, in-house daily

Small batch Fresh Fudge

You won’t find anything like this without a time machine.

207 Pearl St. Downtown La Crosse, WI • • 608-782-6655


Squash Featherstone Farm, Rushford, MN La Crosse: 35 miles Rochester: 46 miles

your partner in

local food.

Downtown La Crosse, WI and Rochester, MN 7 days, 7 am–10 pm Open to the public • Free parking!

Iowa's #1 Destination Garden Center Offering over 40,000 plants!

50 mins north of Waterloo 30 mins south of Decorah Decorah

K&K Gardens


108 E. Wilbur St, Hawkeye, Iowa • 563.427.5373 • Open daily May - October

FALL 2019



Grist for the mill


infographic: community care


Sum of your biz: peake orchards


paper project: paper boats


Community builders


Luke zahm


Emily kurash casey


Julie Shockey Trytten


Amanda ninneman


debra lash


festive fall fun


mid-wisco road trip


probit: Evelyn Falck Schnitzler



...and more!



The maple tree in our front yard turns this amazing red each fall, and we look forward to it each year! / Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols. 05


—Six shows coming this Fall—


eries S Sept. 28 2019–20

Sept. 14 Oct. 26

Russian Renaissance

Jayme Stone’s Oct. 12 Folklife Nov. 22

Nov. 8

The Des

2019–20 Center Stage Series Major Sponsors

Moines Symphony Orchestra To find out more about the performers, or to join Friends of Center Stage, visit • (563) 387-1357 Luther College • Center for Faith and Life 700 College Drive • Decorah, Iowa

From the Editor


years! It seems impossible that much time has passed, yet here we are 12 years in on Inspire(d) Magazine, and 12 years in on our mission to make the world a better place, one community at a time. In fact, it’s through communities that this mission has the best chance to succeed. Building communities is one of the most important things we can do on this planet, whether it’s through a book club or civil leadership or neighborhood networks or… you name it. To celebrate that, and our 12-year birthday, we’re once again highlighting awesome Community Builders this fall. Congratulations – and a huge thank you – to the 2019 Inspire(d) Community Builders: Luke Zahm (Viroqua, WI), Emily Kurash Casey (Winona, MN), Julie Shockey Trytten (Decorah, IA), Amanda Ninneman (Caledonia, MN), and Debra Lash (La Crosse, WI). We love telling stories of folks out there walking their talks, and these people are doing just that. Check them out starting on page 34. Anniversaries and birthdays often make us think about what’s important in our lives, what we’ve learned over the past year, and what we want to accomplish in the years ahead. The biggest, most obvious truth that comes to the top of our list every year is that people are what matter, and all people matter. I recently read an article that said, “It’s not self care we need, it’s community care,” and I realized this is the phrase I was missing. Community care! We need to Show Up for each other, in big and small ways, because often when we most need help, self care isn’t a possibility. I put together an infographic with 12 Ways to Care for Your Community – hopefully it inspires you to do some (intentional) acts of kindness in your neck of the woods! Like every fall, there is A LOT a lot of fun to be had around here. Like heading out to apple orchards! Read about how Al Peake of Peake Orchards got his start 40 years ago in this issue’s Sum of Your Business, and see our list of apple orchards in the region – there are way more than we knew! Will you check one (or three?!) out this fall?! Speaking of places you can check out, consider putting mills on your list! Benji Nichols explores these historic buildings dotting riverbanks in the area, and the grains they once processed (or might still today). And in that spirit of getting out and enjoying every last lovely day, we put together a fun Mid-Wisco Road Trip for this issue. Check out what Benji and I did on our adventure from Viroqua to Richland Center to Spring Green and beyond, starting on page 56. Thank you so much for reading Inspire(d) Magazine all these years, and for being part of this amazing community. You guys are the best. Here’s to creating a bright future together! Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols P.S. Please let us know if you’ve got a Community Builder you’d like to nominate for the Fall 2020 Inspire(d) – email me at P.P.S. Are you interested in writing for Inspire(d)? Shoot me an email! I’m on the lookout for experienced writers in the Driftless (extra bonus if you live in a place we don’t cover that often - we’d love to keep expanding our coverage).

What’s it mean?

Inspire(d) Inspire(d) – pronounced in-spy-erd... you know: inspired – stands for both inspire and be inspired. The idea is that person one inspires person two. That person is now inspired. Then that person inspires person three (or person one again), who is now inspired. Then the cycle continues! That’s what those arrows around the (d) are about! And our mission is, ultimately, to change the world… starting with our own community!

Who are we? Co-founders:

Aryn Henning Nichols / editor & designer Benji Nichols / writer & advertising sales (& husband, distributor, logistics)

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Jepsen / contributor Sara Friedl-Putnam / contributor Maggie Sonnek / contributor Sara Walters/ contributor Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Fall 2019, issue 59 volume 13, Copyright 2019 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

support inspire(d) Although Inspire(d) is free on stands, you can have it sent to your door (or extended family!) for only $25/year. Email for a membership or visit for more info. Write inspire(d) Want to make a comment about something you read in the magazine? Email Interested in advertising? Contact Benji at or call 563-379-6315. Visit our website: 07

What We’re


right now

A little list of what we think is awesome in the Drifltess Region this FALL...

remote arctic of North America each summer, the birds flock together to migrate back to the east, generally to the Chesapeake Bay area, and more friendly climates for the winter months. By the time these birds are two to three years old, they form permanent bonds with their mate, feeding and roosting together year-round. Even more amazing is that the cygnets (swan talk for babies!) are born generally around July, and by November they are already able to make the 4,000 mile journey east with their parents. Pretty sweet, huh? You can watch the swans up and down the upper Mississippi River valley during November, but groups are often seen near Brownsville, Minnesota, near the Shady Maple Overlook in La Crosse, and just north of Alma, Wisconsin. Keep your eyes and spotting scopes peeled for eagles while you’re out there, and don’t forget to dress warm! The US Fish & Wildlife Service often gives updates during the season as well. Check them out online: Upper_Mississippi_River

Project Care – 10-Year Anniversary!

Tundra Swan Migration!


Each year, as thousands of Tundra swans make their way from the Arctic Circle to warmer climes, they often take a much needed break along the upper Mississippi River – as in, just down (or up) the road from wherever you’re likely reading this! There are various locations where you might spot these incredibly beautiful birds, which can be identified with their all white feathers and black bills (sometimes with a dab of yellow at the base of their bill). After mating in the

Foster care is an important topic for every state in the US (and beyond). In Iowa, there are somewhere around 9,000 minors currently in the foster care system. Some minors find reunification with family members, others adoption, and ideally graduation from high school, but many just want to be “free” of the foster care system. For the hundreds of young adults who remain in foster care throughout their youth, turning 18 means several things. It means becoming an adult, with all of the responsibilities that come along with it, and aging out of the foster care system and the support network that exists within it. Ten years ago, a team of volunteers at First Lutheran Church in Decorah saw an opportunity to help these individuals make the leap into adulthood. Kirsten Heine, Deana Hageman, and then-interim clergyman Harris Hostager formed Project Care to help supply these young adults with items that could help get them going as they start life on their own.

Dance & Theatre




BY KANDER, EBB, and FOSSE NOV 15, 16, 21, & 23 - at 7:30 PM

Check out the entire 2019-20 Luther Dance & Theatre season online... and mark your calendars! 08

Fall 2019 /

OCTOBER 1-31 They began with the idea by simply asking local businesses for donations of goods, services, and supplies that new foster grads would need. In no time flat donations rolled in: Crock Pots, toasters, cookbooks, flatware, towels, gift cards for gasoline, pre-payments on utility service, even laptops. Then they organized a “graduation party” for the individuals, allowed them to create their own guest lists, and provided all the necessary details (like cakes!) for the party. The outcomes were incredible – and had tangible results for the young adults. Then they turned it into an annual event, through the support of countless local businesses, individuals, and First Lutheran Church. The legacy they have created for Project Care is to spread awareness of Iowa’s foster care programs and the particular needs of the young adults it raises. The project continues on an annual basis, and is always looking for donations of time, money, or resources. Find out more as Project Care celebrates 10 years of helping foster kids make the jump to adulthood!

Come see what the buzz is all about! Attend a Reefuel class Oct 1-10 to grab your Bingo card – then sweat, ride, or meditate your way to awesome local prizes!

New? Try 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $30! View all our classes & sign up at • 105 Railroad Ave, Decorah

thursday, september 5

justin furstenfeld

an open book tour

friday, september 6

kathleen madigan saturday, september 14

nick lowe’s quality rock + roll revue starring: los straitjackets support: esther rose

november 1-2

thursday, september 19

‘The Energy Savvy Business’


wednesday, october 23

marc broussard


Check out this four-week series of opportunities to help your business become more energy savvy. The events, sponsored by The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, Winneshiek Energy District, and Decorah Bank and Trust Co., are a chance for local and regional businesses – or those interested in helping local businesses – become more energy efficient. The hour-long sessions will be held from 8 to 9 am the following three dates (listed below), at the Decorah Bank and Trust Community Room, 202 E. Water St., Decorah. $10/Class. More information and registration can be found at:

saturday, september 21

elizabeth moen

sunday, october 27

alloy orchestra: SPEEDY

with elly h + dana t sponsored by zen den yoga + the maker’s loft iowa city

co-presented with filmscene

sunday, september 22

black violin

wednesday, october 30

rhiannon giddens

with francesco turrisi sponsored by sankofa outreach connection

tuesday, october 15

mat kearney

co-presented with first fleet concerts wednesday, october 16

AN EVENING WITH branford marsalis

sponsored by tallgrass business resources + the african american museum of iowa

thursday, october 17

September 4: Solar For Your Business September 18: Save Energy, Save Money October 2: Road to Net Zero October 16: Energy Policy 101

presented by the englert theatre + little village magazine


november 1-2

witching hour 2019

presented by the englert theatre + little village magazine thursday, november 14

the cinematic orchestra

sponsored by record collector + the maker’s loft iowa city

221. E. Washington St. Iowa City | | (319) 688-2653 Continued on next page \ Fall 2019





What We’re


right now 101 West Water St. Decorah, Iowa . 563.419.3141

A little list of what we think is awesome in the Drifltess Region this FALL... Ocooch Mountain Music Radio

EVERYTHING FROM JEANS TO SUITS! Extended hours! 130 W. Water St. Decorah, Iowa 563.382.5761

M, T, W, F 9-6 Thursday 9-8 Saturday 9-5 Sunday 12-4



Sustainable Beautiful Efficient David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 •



Midwest Mountain Bike Group Chapters in IA, MN, & WI. Open to all, experienced & new!


Fall 2019 /

Parker Forsell and Pete Engen have known each other a long time – and also really, really love music – the more live and local it is, the better. Through their organization Ocooch Mountain Music, they’ve been a part of countless events, festivals, and projects in the region for several years. It would only make sense that the dynamic duo continues finding the next step to presenting even more music, and taking it to the masses at the same time! Ocooch Mountain Radio has launched to the public this fall – as a fully functioning, online radio station, available through their App online at the Apple store, or through Android services. The station plays deep cuts and hits specializing in up-and-coming acts, as well as classic cuts from 1960s through today – Americana, Indie Rock, World Beat, and Rock. Much of their content comes from local and regional music of the Midwest, in addition to their favorite acts from all over the country and world. To view the programming schedule, see the playlist, and hear an amazing mix of music streaming straight from the Driftless Region, download the “Ocooch Mountain Radio” app from your phone app store – Apple or Android.

Cool New Driftless Spots Something we love about our rural region is the continued drive by entrepreneurs to keep opening and creating really great additions to our communities. Several noteworthy businesses have opened in recent months across the region, and we feel like a tip o’ the hat is in place. We are currently super inspired by two local independent coffee roasters that have both (independently) upped the ante on their café spaces. Euphoria Coffee in West Union, Iowa recently made the leap up to the iconic town square, next to Union Land Feed & Seed, just across from the Fayette County Courthouse. Their fresh, open, space is a great place to grab a coffee, pastry, or lunch – and hang out (pictured at upper right)! In downtown Decorah, Impact Coffee has moved their operation just up the block to the former JC Penney building on Water Street, and opened their (lovely new) doors this August. The coffee bar is

beautiful, spacious, and a great place to settle in and hang out. On the savory side of things, Happy Joe’s Pizza might have exited downtown Decorah, but have no fear – the fun, family-friendly ‘High, Wide, and Handsome” pizza joint has opened at the same location, and their pizza is super tasty (pictured below right). Run by the Sparrow family, the restaurant has quickly become a hit in downtown Decorah. If you love checking out new breweries in the area, get excited: Trout City Brewing has just opened their doors in Preston, Minnesota. Housed in a beautiful, old building in downtown Preston, they’ve set the scene for an awesome trout fishing /beer drinking destination! Speaking of breweries, you’re up for a slightly longer drive, the new digs over at Hillsboro (WI) Brewing are impressive. Housed in a former Carnation Milk Plant, the 28,000-square-foot facility is a blast – seriously, take a cruise and check it out (see a photo in the Wisco Road Trip story starting on page 56). If spirits are more your thing, you’re also in luck! The town of Harmony, Minnesota is home to the area’s latest small-batch distillery at Harmony Spirits. Featuring spirits made from locally sourced grains, word is the cocktails are tasty. Finally, if you’re an avid Inspire(d) reader, than you’re likely well informed about Decorah’s community art outlet – ArtHaus! With more than a decade of fun, classes, and events held at its original location near Vesterheim, ArtHaus found themselves in need of a new home this fall. With the help of some generous donors and volunteers, ArtHaus has found a new building on the corner of Washington and Main Streets in Decorah. A former Wonder Bread outlet store, the space will offer a much larger, and more accessible outlet for community arts. Class schedules and offerings are listed online, and more will be planned as the gallery space is finished and plans for how to use the building to it’s maximum potential are solidified. On the roster for this fall are a Northeast Iowa Studio Tour Preview Show September 5 – October 5, Morgan Seeman Solo Show October 11 – November 16, and a Holiday Show November 22 – December 21. Stop by the new space, or swing by the website to register for classes and check things out! – 107 W. Broadway St, Decorah.

Common Ground – Stories of the Land A new collaborative effort is launching across the region to record and gather stories, memories, and experiences relating to the natural world. “Common Ground: Stories of the Land” helps participants record short conversations that give voice to their love for or connection to the outdoors. Participation is free and open to all, with the goal of helping build connections between individuals and communities as they find the common ground they share in how they use, enjoy, and love the outdoor places and spaces that make Northeast Iowa and the Driftless Area so special. Interested in finding out more? Contact local facilitator Lilly Jensen at or call (563) 534-7145. More information can be found \ Fall 2019



Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Check out these great fall activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!


3012 Middle Sattre Rd, Decorah, IA .

1. September 14: Join the Porter House Museum for their annual fundraiser – held at the Lingonberry, 218 W Water St., Decorah, 4-6pm. Come enjoy great company while supporting one of the region’s most unique museums! 2. September 14: Are you brave enough to see all the creepy, crawly insects at the Insect Zoo? Families welcome for a fun and interactive display, Decorah Public Library, 11am-1pm. 3. September 15: Bike (or Bus!) the Barns for FairShare CSA Coalition. Farm tours, local food, craft libations, live music. Tour begins at Columbus, WI Fireman’s Park. (608) 226-0300,,


restoration & weatherization

Residential & light commercial construction David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 •



Monday: Closed Sat: 10-5 Tue-Fri: 10-6 Sun: 10-2

NEW LOCATION – 118 E Water St, Decorah, Iowa Dine-In or Take-Away Pizza

4. September 19: Tattoo Talk – “Tattooing in the Ancient World,” Lars Krutak, Tattoo Anthropologist. 7:00 pm at Luther College, After Party at Vesterheim. 5. September 19-22: Norman Borlaug Harvest Festival! Tour the Borlaug Farm, Quilt Auction, Cruise to Cresco, 5K, Steak CookOff, and end with the Northeast Iowa Food Packaging Event!

25W/ $25B

6. September 21: Get your boots dirty at SidieFest Community Trail Building Day! Vernon Trails’ trail crew will guide crews on various singletrack projects throughout Sidie Hollow. Fun. Community. Dirt. Trails. Revelry. info: 7. September 22: Eat It, Cancer! American Society of Cancer progressive dinner sponsored by PIVO Brewery, Pulpit Rock Brewery, Toppling Goliath Brewery, & Rubaiyat Restaurant. 8. September 28-29: Iowa Barn Foundation 19th Annual Fall Barn Tour! Tour the countryside across Iowa to view some of Iowa’s most incredible structures. 9. October 11: Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman live in concert at Lingonberry, 218 W Water St, Decorah, 7:30pm. Tickets: Oneota Coop, or 563-419-2999. Sponsored by The Retreat on Maple and Rocket Dog Books.

Decorah, Iowa

New location!

Check Facebook for hours High, Wide & Handsome

105 E. Water St. Decorah, Iowa . 563.382.6225 12

Fall 2019 /

10. October 12: Run the Driftless Half Marathon - Iowa’s Most Scenic Half Marathon in Lansing, IA. Takes place on Great River Road National Scenic Byway. Relay and 5k options. (Events continued on next page)

fun stuff to do









SEPT 14:




Over the Back Fence, St. Mane, Lanesboro, 7:30 pm

Marc Bailey, Pulpit Rock Brewing




SEPT 21: • Decorah Rotary Loop de Loop Half Marathon • Autumn Artistry Art Fair, Osage, 9am-4pm • Artist Demonstration: Tom Nelson, Lanesboro Arts, 1-4 pm • Montauk Fall Festival, Clermont, IA 1-4pm • Elizabeth Moen, Englert, Iowa City



Dark Star Orchestra, First Ave, Minneapolis

NE Iowa Studio Art Tour Preview - through Oct 5, ArtHaus, Decorah – NEW LOCATION 107 W Broadway!

HAWKTAIL, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 6pm



Sept 26-28: Boats & Bluegrass Festival, Winona

SEPT 28: • Russian Renaissance, Luther Center Stage Series, CFL, 7:30pm • Michelle Eva & B. Baldwin, Pulpit Rock Brewing, Decorah, 7pm • Avey/Grouws Duo, Saxon Hall, Brownsville, MN

Sept 28-29: Fort Atkinson Rendezvous Day

Sept 22: Vesterheim Scandinavian Music Jam, Bruening Center, 1-3pm

“Eat It, Cancer!” Progressive Beer Dinner, NE Iowa




Sept 28-29: Iowa Barn Foundation Tour!

Sept 28: Big Barn Vintage Sale, rural Postville, 10am-4pm

Sept 27-28: Return to Rocktober(fest), Pulpit Rock Brewing, Decorah




Sept 21-22: Driftless Area Art Festival, Soldiers Grove

6 21 SidieFest, Viroqua

2 ISU Insect Zoo!, Decorah Library, 11am

Fundraiser, Lingonberry, Decorah, 4-6pm

Author Frank Bures, ‘Under Lissie, Chatfield Purple Skies’, Center for the Arts, 7:30pm Dragonfly Books, 7pm



Avey/ 7 Grouws Band, McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita, Decorah Flagship Romance, Chatfield CFA, 7:30pm


*Porter House

16 17 Viroqua18 19 Joe Pug 20 3 15 4 “Favorite Author J. Ryan w/ Dead Tattoo Talk! FairShare CSA Things” Stadal, ‘The Night Market, Lars Krutak, Horses, The Coalition’s opens Sept14, Lager Queen of Eckhart Park, Luther, 7pm, Mill, IA City Bike the Barns 6-9pm Vesterheim MN’, Dragonfly Vesterheim Sept 21: Joseph Columbus, WI Books, 7pm Kurt Friese Hall, Cresco after Sept 21, 22, 28, & 29: Opera House Dan Bern, Memorial Local History Alive! Lanesboro – CSPS, Cedar Food Concert, 5 Sept 19-22: Norman Borlaug performances at 1 pm & 3 pm Rapids, 7pm Englert, 7pm Harvest Festival, Cresco

What’s Going • The Passing Zone ‘Saves the World!’, Luther On? Fabulous Center Stage Series, CFL, 7:30pm Armadillos, • Iowa vs. Iowa State Tailgate, Toppling Goliath Chatfield CFA, • Nick Lowe’s Quality Rock & Roll Revue, 7:30pm Englert, Iowa City Sept 13-15: Tending Legacy Retreat, Decorah Heritage Pepperfield Project, Decorah Dinner

Grandparents Day (Free Admission) at the La Crosse Children’s Museum!

3 4 2 5 Michael 6 Deep 1 NICC Family Sept. 5: Them Coulee Boys Rooted Tasty “The Secret McElrath, Fall Fest, 2/ Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers Tomato Pulpit Rock Garden” Calmar, 5-8pm & String Ties, Moon Tunes, Festival, Brewing, 5pm through Sept, Riverside Park, La Crosse 5:30pm Author Lori Westby, WI La Crosse Kathleen Erickson, 12-8pm Comm. Sept 6: After Hours Gallery ‘Near the Exit’, Madigan, Theatre, Artist Meet & Greet, Dragonfly Books, Englert, Weber Center Lanesboro Arts, 6-8 pm Iowa City Decorah, 7pm


September Sept 7: Motor mill Art Show, rural Elkader, 12-4pm

“On the Verge” through November 10, Commonweal, Lanesboro


Shovels & Rope w/ Cedric Burnside, First Ave, Minneapolis



Pork to Fork Farm Dinner, Nettle Valley Farm, Spring Grove, MN

6 Sinkane, The Mill, Iowa City



Branford Marsalis, Englert, Iowa City

Kishi Bashi, First Ave, Minneapolis



Tattoo Talk, Lindsey Row-Heyveld, 7pm Luther, Vesterheim after



Rhiannon Giddens, Englert, Iowa City


Marc 23

Oct 25-26: BOO-Seum Party, Children’s Museum of La Crosse, ages 2-9, Pre-reg Only

Mat Kearney, Englert, Iowa City



Price, The Icehouse, Minneapolis, 6:30-9:30pm

2 Joe & Vicki



Lucero, Wildwood BBQ & Saloon, Iowa City



Children’s Oct 11: Over Museum of the Back Fence, La Crosse, $5 St. Mane after 5pm

*First Friday,

John 4 McCutcheon, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 8pm


24 *



Lehto 18 19 13 & Wright, St. Mane, PertNear 20 Lanesboro, Mountain 7:30pm Abbey Road: Bike Race, Celebration of Mike McAbee, Sidie Hollow, the Beatles, Spring Ave Pub, Viroqua Chatfield CFA Waukon, IA John Hiatt, Englert, Iowa City


11 12 10 9 11 Mussels, Rebecca Snakes, & Traister, Luther Karen Savoca & Pete Beavers! College Farwell Heitzman, Decorah Library Distinguished Lecture, CFL Lingonberry, 12 Decorah 7pm Eagle Bluff Banquet on the 10 Oct 12: Driftless Half Marathon, Lansing, IA Bluff Fundraiser


Oct 4-6: Luther College Homecoming


The Wandering House, Artist in Residence Cecilia Oct 4: Happy Cornejo, Through October 14 at Birthday Lanesboro Arts! Inspire(d)!


That 1 Guy, High Noon Saloon, Madison


OCT 26: • The Nature of Forgetting, Luther Center Stage Series • Halloween Party at Toppling Goliath! • Joe & Vicki Price, Trempealeau Hotel, 7pm-10pm


15 26 Ernie 14 Hunter Fuerste Halter, BryantBroussard, OCT 19: Big Band, Seed Savers Lake Bowl, Englert, IA City • “Confluence” artist Lakeside Exchange Minneapolis reception, Lanesboro Arts Oct 24: Neil Ballroom, Harvest • Earth Science Day, Children’s Diamond Bianca Del Rio, Guttenberg Festival Museum of La Crosse Tribute, Englert 16 Cresco • Matt Andersen, Bluesman, Oct 26: Winneshiek Eagle Bluff TrickOpera CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 8pm County Celebration of Life or-Treetops! House


William Kent Krueger, ‘This Tender Land’, Dragonfly Books, Decorah, 7pm




Oct 4-6, 10-13: “The Producers”, Presented by the Elkader Opera House Players


OCT 12: • Jayme Stone’s Folklife, Luther CSS, 7:30pm • Historic Downtown La Crosse Day! • 2nd Sat at MN Marine Art Museum, Winona • Triflemore, Courtyard & Cellar, Decorah • Rupert Waters, Chatfield CFA, 7:30pm • The Whitesidewalls, Cresco Opera House

Through October 25 Friends of the Cresco Public Library Silent Auction - summer programming fundraiser! Cresco Library

“Peter and the Starcatcher” through October 26, Commonweal, Lanesboro




fun stuff to do




Elvis Costello, Orpheum, Madison

Tattoo Talk! Carson Bruns, 7pm Luther, Vesterheim after


Kinky Friedman, Turf Club, St. Paul



Kris Kristofferson, Pantages, Minneapolis


Tuba to Cuba: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Fitzgerald, Minneapolis


Indoor ‘Bags’ League – every Tuesday through Winter, Toppling Goliath, Decorah




“On A Winter’s Night” w/ Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Patty Larkin, & Ciff Eberhardt, Englert, Iowa City

Nov 15: Wilco, Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids



Nov 7: Tails & Treasures’ Humane Society of NE IA Fall Gala, Oneota Country Club, 5:30pm

Nov 1-2: “Bakedagen – Lefse & Flatbread, Vesterheim, Decorah (Pre-Reg)


COMING UP– DEC 7: • FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace, Rochester Mayo Civic Center, 10am-4pm • Joe & Vicki Price, Saxon Hall, Brownsville MN, 7-10pm


Sanders Family Christmas opens November 15, Commonweal, Lanesboro

“Seth Casteel: Underwater Dogs” through January, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona




NOV 8: • Over the Back Fence Variety Show, St. Mane, Lanesboro, 7:30 pm • Lettuce w/ Ghost Note, First Ave


Nov 3: Daylight Savings Ends – “Fall Back” 1 hour

“H20H! Art Quilts”, through January, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona


Happy Thanksgiving!

21 28 Holiday Lights opens, Pulpit Rock Campground, Decorah

Indigo Girls, Paramount, Cedar Rapids


The Cinematic Orchestra, Englert, Iowa City



The Wood Brothers, First Ave, Minneapolis

The Talbott Brothers, The Mill, Iowa City

Nov 1-2: Witching Hour 2019, Englert, Iowa City






Talent 9 Showcase for Epilepsy Awareness, Cresco Opera House 2nd Sat @ MN Marine Art Museum, Winona

Lanesboro Arts Fall Gala, Lanesboro Community Center



A Night of The Blues, Chatfield Center for the Arts, 7:30pm

29 Cory Wong ft. Antwaun Stanley, First Ave, Minneapolis

Nobuntu, Luther Center Stage Series, CFL, 7:30pm


Small Business Saturday


Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos, Chatfield Center for the Arts, 7:30pm


Big Bang Bubbles Show! Decorah Library, The Music of 11am John Denver w/ Layne Cloud Cult, Yost, Elkader Chatfield CFA Opera House 7:30pm


Viroqua Wine Walk, 6pm

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, Luther Center Stage Series, CFL, 7:30pm


First Friday, Children’s Museum of La Crosse, $5 after 5pm

Joe & 1 Vicki Price, Forager, Rochester, 8-11pm




fun stuff to do

25W/ $25B












Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party


Date (not included in word count): Worlds Greatest Party! 7-10 pm. Inspire(d) invites you to the greatest party ever! We’ll have amazing amounts of fun! See you there!



Questions? Email

(Direct link:

See - we told you about our amazing fictional party in less than 25 words! On the visual calendar (like the one at left), your event will be listed along with a number that corresponds. People can just scan on over to the following pages to get the details!


Simple! We get an email with all your details exactly as you’d like to see them in the listing, and then we add it to the calendar!

It works like this: 1. Go to and click on the 25W/$25B sidebar box 2. Enter your information in our online form 3. Click through to PayPal to complete the transaction

Thus we’ve implemented a simple, expandable list of events for the pages following our regular calendars. Those who are planning “fun stuff to do” get a guaranteed spot on the calendar and in that event listing by purchasing “25 Words/$25 Bucks.”

We know it’s a tough racket to put on live music, activities, and special events, so we want to give you a chance to get the word out without breaking the bank.

Calendar time is always an exciting time at Inspire(d) Headquarters. “Just how much can we fit on there this month?!?” In recent years, what we had chosen for these lovely pages had been entirely editorial and subjective. We figured, hey, you like our magazine, so you’ll probably like the fun stuff to do that we pick out from around our region. But we’re running out of space and want you, our lovely readers, friends, and fellow event planners, to be able to tell us a little more about your fun.

25 Words/$25 Bucks


Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Check out these great fall activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!


Feeling creative? Come see us! Art Supplies STEM Projects Nice Paper Coding & Electronics Bits

11. October 12: Mussels, snakes and beavers; each has a role! Families are invited to explore Mississippi River Animals, Decorah Public Library, 11am & 1pm 12. October 12: Eagle Bluff Banquet on the Bluff Fundraiser. Fun games, auctions, & delicious food round out this festive evening. Proceeds support our outdoor environmental education programming.

Maker Stuff 110 Winnebago St. Decorah • 563-382-4086 •

Open 7 Days/week during September & October

13. October 19: pertNear 20 Mountain Bike Race. Come ride pert’ near 20 miles of singletrack and county roads in beautiful Viroqua. Camping available at race site, families welcome, good times! Reg/ Info: 14. October 25: Visit the Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm for Harvest Festival. Activities and fun for all ages on the farm! Details: harvest-festival

25W/ $25B

15. October 26: Dance to the sounds of the Hunter Fuerste Vintage Big Band Orchestra at the Lakeside Ballroom in Guttenberg. $20.adv/ $25. Door. 563-252-2095 (M-Sat., 9-5) for tickets.


Family fun! 30+ apple varieties • Local Minnesota-made goods U-Pick Pumpkin Patch • Fresh pastries, caramel apples, & more!

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16. October 26: Eagle Buff Trick-or-Treetops. Trick or Treat 30 feet high as you traverse your way through wooden and wire elements that end with a zip line. 17. October 29: Tattoo Talk – “Tattoos, Medievalism, and White Nationalism,” Lindsey Row-Heyveld, Luther College Prof. of English, 7:00 pm at Luther, with After Party at Vesterheim. 18. November 2: Support Lanesboro Arts at the Fall Gala! Delicious dinner, great company, all for supporting the arts! Lanesboro Community Center, 6pm

M-F 10-15 • Sat 10-4 • Sun 12-4

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19. November 16: Absolute Science Big Bang Bubbles Show at Decorah Public Library. Mind-blowing bubble magic leaves all ages feeling like a kid again! Families are invited to come see ordinary bubbles go to the realm of extreme! 11am. 20. November 24: Tattoo Talk – “The Future of Tattoos,” Carson Bruns, Prof. of Chemistry, Univ./Col., Boulder. 7:00pm at Luther College, with After Party at Vesterheim. 21. November 28 – December 25: Holiday Lights. 5 pm - 9 pm at Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah for Northeast Iowa’s largest drive-through holiday lights display. Free will donations benefit Helping Services for Youth & Families.


563-382-3067 \ Fall 2019



Dam on Beaver Creek outside of Schech’s Mill near Caledonia, Minnesota / Photo by Benji Nichols


Fall 2019 /


ich agricultural history is abundant in our region – from artifacts of Native cultures to farmsteads settled by first generation immigrants to striking gristmill buildings dotting Driftless riverbanks. As agriculture took hold in the Midwest, settlers found crops that thrived in our area, like wheat, corn, rye, barley, oats, and more. These essential grains provided food for both settlers and livestock, but not without the necessary steps of proper harvesting and processing, including milling the grain.


Have you ever noticed the majestic mill buildings dotting river banks throughout the Driftless? Learn more about how these mills once served communities – and how regenerative ag producers may be leading a revival.

Motor Mill near Elkader, Iowa


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Fall 2019 /

The act of taking grains from their plants, then cleaning, grinding, sorting, sifting, and packaging them, has become an integrated part of our culture and of everyday foods. So much so, that we rarely think of where these grain products come from, or the great efforts it takes to produce them. But not so many years ago, many area communities had a small gristmill, and every decent river in the Driftless Region had multiple mills on it to grind the grain of local farmers. They were often family operations, like the long-gone Springwater Mill near Decorah. In the early days, these localized mills saved farmers time and money – they didn’t have to transport their harvest, with horses and wagons – any farther than necessary. The neighborhood mill could process grains, taking a small amount of grain as payment, which might get put into barrels and shipped out, or sold in sacks to local folks, or fed to the cattle. Very few of these mills still exist today, and only a couple of them are still intact enough to actually operate their truly antique equipment, like Schech’s Mill near Caledonia, Minnesota. Some mills grew bigger, or started bigger with grand ideas of creating outposts in rural areas, like the Motor Mill, near Elkader. At one time Northeast Iowa’s Turkey River had over 10 working mills that served local farmers and residents. Many towns of size generally had at least one larger mill that could act as a hub for the area’s farmers, and often became a social hub as well, as everyone depended upon these structures for flour and grain. While the days of water powered turbines are perhaps almost gone (or are they?!), a renaissance in small and artisan milling may very well be under way in the Driftless. Schech’s Mill operates part time, milling small batches of grain for customers like Rock Filter Distillery in Spring Grove, and for weekend tours. Fifth generation mill owner Ed Krugmire can be found caretaking any myriad of tasks on the family mill site – from mowing and exterior work on the property, to mending old drive belts for various parts of the mill. Three underwater turbines still provide all of the grinding power at Schech’s, with almost all of the antiquated mill equipment intact and able to produce, but all also requiring very custom upkeep. The site is truly a fascinating time capsule into a rural mill, with wooden chutes and leather belts running machinery. To hear the slow rumble of the giant French millstones turn as a water turbine is engaged is nothing short of beautiful industrial ghost noises. But perhaps the most interesting part to the local mill history and culture is that it continues to come full circle (no pun intended) today. As farmers have looked to diversify crops, and grow more specialty small grains for distilling, brewing, and baking, smaller mills have once again found their places in society.


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Great River Milling near Cochrane, Wisconsin has been milling organic and specialty grains since 1975, and has become well known for their products across the region and country. Specialties include a variety of small grain flours, whole grain bread flours, and ancient grains. Lonesome Stone Mill, in Lone Rock, Wisconsin is a uniquely modernized facility, making use of a refurbished cleaning mill and working closely with local growers to produce small batch grains and flours for the region. Owners Gilbert Williams and Gary Zimmer continue to find more demand for their specialty pancake mixes across the Midwest, as well as many other specialty grains and flours for artisan bakers and outlets. As small ag producers and consumers continue to seek more localized products, small milling operations may see a resurgence in our Midwestern landscape. These community outlets not only provide valuable food products, but a place where farmers and community members can cross paths. Continued on next page


Schech’s Mill / Photo by Benji Nichols


sel l great 102 W WATER ST DECORAH, IOWA

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What better way to learn about this craft than from history itself? Here is a partial list of Driftless area mills that you can visit. Please note that almost all of these are located in rural areas, with limited hours and seasons for tours. Fall is a spectacular time to take in the countryside and enjoy these destinations, but please check ahead, and plan your route on paper, as several of these beautiful locations are off the beaten path.

Left: Springwater Mill Historic Photo: L to R: Eugene Stortz, Billy & Rob (Horse team), Charles Stortz, Theodore Stortz, Lars Iverson

#StayAmazing DECORAH, IOWA

2041 State Hwy 9. Decorah, Iowa • Book your stay at • 563-382-8800

Springwater Mill

Formerly located in rural Decorah (pictured at left) The Springwater Mill was located just northeast of Decorah on the Canoe Creek from approximately 1851 to the late 1930s. Several families owned the mill at one time or another, including members of the Beard family, as well as both of Benji’s Great, Great, Great Grandfathers! This type of mill was often used to grind livestock feed, but could also provide a variety of ground corn and wheat products for consumption. The last remaining stone from the mill was salvaged from the defunct mill site in 2001 and placed at the Springwater Lutheran Church on Locust Road near Decorah (pictured on page 18).

Motor Mill, Elkader

23002 Grain Rd, Elkader, Iowa 52043 • The Motor Mill is an excellent example of true craftsmanship – the dream of multiple business partners who saw not just a mill, but an entire development of a town, called Motor, near Elkader, Iowa. The town never became a reality, due to the lack of rail construction that was thwarted not once, but twice by severe floods. But the gorgeous four-story limestone mill still stands on the banks of the Turkey River. Parts of the original equipment still exist, and the Clayton County Conservation Board continues to work to restore not only the Mill, but the surrounding property as well. Several events are held each year at the Mill, and tours are offered on the weekends except during winter months. Continued on next page

Planning an event this year?

Mill stone at Motor Mill near Elkader, Iowa / Photo by Benji Nichols

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Sifting machines at Schech’s Mill / Photo by Benji Nichols


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Schech’s Mill – Ed Krugmire

12559 Mill Rd, Calendonia, Minnesota 507-896-3481 or 651-245-5566 • Schech’s Mill is possibly the best ‘living’ example, and one of the only remaining water-powered mills still operating in Minnesota. Construction started on the mill in 1876, but wasn’t finished until close to 1880, after the Schech family took over the site. The “Caledonia Roller Mills,” as it was previously named, operated for many decades, and passed through multiple family hands. In 1965 the family realized it had a unique structure and began offering tours – which continue to this day. Leather belts dance through wooden elevator shafts, and almost silent water turbines turn to power the 48inch, 1,000-pound French quartz millstones. Schech’s is truly a unique view into the past, which Ed Krugmire continues to care-take as the last of the Schech lineage. Tours are available Friday-Sunday and by appointment.

Pickwick Mill


563.379.7303 22

Fall 2019 /


24813 County Rd 7, Winona, Minnesota 507-457-0499 • The Pickwick Mill, just outside of Winona, Minnesota is another incredibly picturesque building and setting. On the banks of the Big Trout Creek, this mill was complete in 1858, first as a sawmill, and then a gristmill. It was the first commercial flour mill west of the Mississippi, and supplied over 100 barrels of flour a day to the Union Army during the Civil War. The limestone and timber frame mill features a 20-foot water wheel, and restored milling equipment. Tours are available generally May through October, Tuesday through Sunday, with the annual Pickwick Mill Day, second Saturday each September (September 14, 2019).

Lidtke Mill

14969 Mill Rd, Lime Springs, Iowa • 563-566-2828 or 563-566-2310 The Lidtke Mill was completed in 1857, and was used in one form or another for almost a century. Sited on the Upper Iowa River, northwest of Cresco, Iowa, near the Minnesota border, the Mill is now part of a 10-acre park complex in Lime Springs. Much of the original equipment is left just as it was when operation ceased in 1960 at the mill. An interesting feature of this mill is that the dam site was also used to create electricity in the 1920s, and the “Dynamo Room” can still be viewed. The Lidtke family home is located on the site as well and is included as part of the tour with many original furnishings. The mill is open on weekends through Labor Day 1-4 pm. Continued on next page

Find your favorites at . . .

Cozy up this fall Vesterheim Museum Store Sweaters, baking supplies, jewelry, books,and more! with all your favorites at Vesterheim Museum! We’re sharing the amazing artwork and fantastic stories of gems from the collection— chosen by you, our fans and friends!


g n i th

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Make your favorite treats while making new friends!

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of art

Why is this in the collection?

s an Is thi

iece or a p


There’s a great story behind this!

Nordic Julebord—Now and Then

Oct. 11-13, 2019 Dennis & Carole Johnson and Darlene Fossum-Martin

Bakedagen—Lefse and Flatbread Nov. 1-2, 2019, Darlene Fossum-Martin

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The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center

502 W. Water St., Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-9681

Vintage, Handmade, & Fair Trade

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Improve your land with native plants that will attract wildlife, including birds, bees, & butterflies. Ecologist Melinda Knutson helps you decide what/where to plant, what invasive species should be removed, & gives advice about erosion control, pond management, & prairie restoration.| 608.615.8692 |

Wapsipinicon Mill Museum

110 1st St. West, Independence, Iowa • 319-334-4616 In Independence, Iowa – alongside the Wapsipinicon River, sits one of the largest Gristmills left in the state of Iowa. Home to the Buchanan County Historical Society, the 1867 structure is now a milling museum with unique displays about early agriculture in the region as well as pioneer artifacts, and more. The five-story building was a project of businessman Samuel Sherwood, who also patented a design for the turbines that would power the mill. It’s open through mid-September from 12-4 pm daily (closed Mondays).

Interested in trying products from modern day small stone ground mills? You’ll find these unique products to be a bit different (and often better!) than commodity store-bought versions. Stone milling retains much of the germ and bran from grains, giving them more nutritional value, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals. Check out these regional sources for amazing, locally grown and milled products!

Lonesome Stone Mill – Gilbert Williams and Gary Zimmer 304 S. Oak St, Lone Rock, Wisconsin 608-583-2100 • In 2009 Gilbert Williams and Gary Zimmer purchased a cleaning mill in Lone Rock, Wisconsin to help sort local cover crops. It soon became known that the Clipper 29D seed cleaner was running again, and a variety of small grains began showing up. Enter another young, local farmer – Jeremy Lynch, who shared his home-milled mix of rye and wheat pancake mix, and it didn’t take long before things really ramped up! Lonesome Stone now produces several types of grain flours on their modern Meadows Mill 30-inch stone mill, as well as their custom pancake mixes, which can be found at their storefront and across Central Wisconsin and beyond. Great River Organic Milling

Cochrane, Wisconsin • Great River Organic Milling has been providing stone milled products since 1975, all from the “Western Coast” of Wisconsin, near Cochrane. The company offers several organic flour blends and specialty products, including a line of ancient grains, and gluten free flours. Products can be found online as well as through retailers across the Upper Midwest, including many co-ops and natural food outlets, as well as larger grocers and warehouse clubs.


MON-FRI 9-6 • SAT 9-3 563-382-2700 • 510 MONTGOMERY ST, DECORAH, IA or find us on Facebook


Fall 2019 /

Benji Nichols has been captivated by stone mills and small grains since a sidetrack to California in his early 20s. While spending a year working for Grindstone Bakery, he learned much about ancient grains, small batch milling, and baking naturally leavened breads. 20 years later, the interest is as vivid as ever as more diverse small grains become common across the Midwestern regenerative landscape. A recent book, Grain by Grain by Bob Quinn and Liz Carlisle, has fully re-sparked his interest in what the future of small grains and localized mill processing could look like.

CHECK IT OUT: Grain by Grain, Bob Quinn & Liz Carlisle. A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food.



It can be something small, like reaching o much of the conversation out via text to a friend you haven’t heard lately has been about taking from in awhile, or something larger, like care of our selves. Exercising volunteering of your time or skillset, or and eating well so we keep our cooking some meals or buying groceries. bodies healthy and strong. Taking It’s performing acts of kindness, but they time to do things that go beyond aren’t random. work and the day-to-day stress and “It’s about being committed to being grind. Things that speak to our souls, there for people,” Valerio says. “And it’s that help us feel alive and like we’re about being there for people without them actually living. having to take the initial first step. It’s about But what happens when you don’t INFOGRAPHIC & INTRO adopting an ethos of compassion and very BY ARYN HENNING NICHOLS have the privilege – of time or money intentionally applying that.” or mental capacity – to do this? Plus, when you’re there for other Because for many, self care is not a people, it’s comforting to know there is a reality. community of folks in place to support you When I read an article that quoted when you’re down on your luck,. Nakita Valerio, a Toronto-based community organizer, as So, if you have the time and/or the money, think about how you can saying, “Shouting ‘self-care’ at people who actually need intentionally care for and foster your community – or communities. In ‘community care’ is how we fail people,” a light bulb went off honor of Inspire(d)’s 12-year anniversary, we put together an infographic in my brain. Yes! Community care. This is the phrase I’ve been showcasing 12 ways you can care for your community and Show Up for missing. Each Other. We’re all in this together, friends! Valerio defines community care as “People committed Thanks for helping us foster this community of positive news for 12 to leveraging their privilege to be there for one another in years! XOX, Aryn various ways.”



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312 West Water Street • Decorah Co-op 563.382.4666 • kitchen Monday-Saturday 8:00 am-8:30 pm • Sunday 10-7 classroom

everyone welcome

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no membership required \ Fall 2019


Can you fix or build things? Are you super good at organizing? Maybe you’re a graphic design pro? Your skills are worthwhile and important, and can be a huge help to someone in need.

6. Offer up your skillset

Although we don’t do things just to have something done for us, part of giving of your time and self is knowing that these people will be there when you need it too.

1. Life is give and take




Go to a friend’s birthday party, or help with moving day, or a co-workers city election. Sometimes a person just needs someone to sit with them. Be that person.

2. Literally show up

Often when we need help, that’s the hardest time to ask for it. So pay attention. You’ve got to be vigilant with your community.

7. Offer to be there when someone might need it.

How can I help?

• Start a social media group that supports each another

• Write kind comments

• Like and Love posts on social media

• Send a thoughtful text

3. Digital Love

Invite someone new in town to come!

10. Host a potluck

Book or card clubs, regular friends nights, exercise groups…creating community is an act of care in and of itself.

11. Build a community within your community

Let's hang out!

That might be through monetary or physical donations, or by giving of your time.

9. Support community organizations

8. Volunteer

They’re run by your neighbors… need we say more?

12. Support local businesses

5. Buy some groceries for a friend in need

4. Cook a meal for a neighbor

We are your full-service landscape solution. DESIGN • INSTALL CULTIVATE

Jeff Scott . 563-379-1101 After your massage... take a breath.







Fall 2019 /

here are few things that feel more “fall” than heading to an apple orchard to get a bite of a fresh, ripe apple, right where its grown. It was a visit to an apple orchard that convinced Al Peake to start an orchard of his own, and it was 40 years ago that he planted his first set of apple trees on his farm in rural Waukon, Iowa. Since then, Peake Orchards has seen banner seasons and bummer seasons, but it’s the love of the orchard, working in the fields, and the connection to family that keeps Al excited and inspired to tend the sweet crop year after year. These days, Peake Orchards has 13 different apple varieties planted, and – once harvested – folks can find them in Decorah at Oneota Community Food Co-op, Fareway, and the Decorah Farmers Market. Or throw on a cozy sweater for a fall outing – you can head out to Peake Orchards to grab some yourself! They open to the public weekends starting September 21, from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and 12 to 5 pm on Sundays. Catch a hayride on Sundays, from 2 to 4 pm, and mark your calendars for their annual “Fall Festival Sundays” October 6 and October 13 – there’s lots of family fun on the docket. Read on to learn more about Al’s four decades of apple picking in this issue’s Sum of Your Business Q&A.

3. How about the worst? The worst thing about being my own boss is that apple season is a short intense time of year. When early September comes it is, go like crazy, try to get things harvested, washed and sorted and try to keep up with sales. Before you know it the snow is falling and you wonder where the fall went.

The Peake family crew, from left: Molly (front), Jeremy, Jodi & Baby Byron, Jo Ann, Cathy, Lea (in front) and Al / Photo courtesy of Peake Orchards

Name: Al Peake, Peake Orchards Age: 62 Years in Business: Planted first trees 1979 Orchard address: 323 Northline Dr. Waukon, Iowa Visit Peake Orchards on Facebook 1. Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss? I visited a pick your own orchard in the late 70s up in Minnesota and really thought having an orchard could be something I could really enjoy! So I started planting trees on our family farm. The first planting was 50 trees and then a couple years later 375 trees. That was the point where we were really committed to getting serious about growing apples. Since then we have expanded to well over 1,000 trees. 2. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? The best thing about being my own boss is the flexibility to try growing methods and varieties that appeal to us and our mission. I also really enjoy working out in the orchard most of the time.

4. Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it? The biggest hurdle for me was losing my original apple partner (my wife Sandy) to a brain tumor in 2010. I still had other family to help but Sandy and I had started planning the orchard from the beginning and it was devastating for me to lose her. But, God is good and since then, I met and married my current wife, Cathy, who has been a wonderful partner in the orchard and a wonderful partner as my wife!

5. Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? I would say my biggest mentors have been other apple growers I have met. I have attended many a field day and have learned a ton of things from visiting other growers’ orchards. There have been many great speakers and specialists from universities throughout the country who have presented at these field days and I always leave with some new knowledge and things to try in our orchard. I am also grateful that my parents supported us and helped with the orchard from the very start. 6. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? The only thing I can say is that there is always so much more to learn than you think, when growing apples and marketing of the crop. I planted the first tree 40 years ago (I can’t even believe it’s been that long) and if I said I pretend to know it all, I would not be telling the truth. I think that the day you say you know it all and have done it all, you are setting yourself up for a serious fall. Continuing to learn has kept me young. Continued on next page

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Open daily! 563-382-4275 • 112 West Water St. Decorah THE LARGEST TOY STORE IN NORTHEAST IOWA!

You can find Peake Orchards apples at the Orchard near Waukon, or in Decorah at Oneota Co-op, Fareway, and the Decorah Farmers Market.


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201 W. Water St. Decorah, IA 563-382-2626


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Fall 2019 /


7. How do you manage your life/work balance? It is very difficult to balance work in the orchard and the rest of my life and many times I have done it very poorly. I always say there is enough work in the orchard to keep me busy 24-7. I am still learning to try to prioritize what’s most important in my life and walk away from the orchard and say that is all I can do for now. With wanting to spend time with family and friends and working at Friest and Assoc. Realtors, as well as the orchard, the balance is difficult. 8. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? I think the thing that keeps an old guy like me inspired is exciting new apple varieties like Honeycrisp (and some other new ones we are growing that nobody has heard about yet), strolling through the orchard and seeing a great crop hanging on the trees, and working together with family and friends (special thanks to Mark and Barbara for all their sorting help) to make the harvest happen. I also look forward to passing on the orchard to my son Jeremy and his wife, Jodi (they could run it on their own at this point, if I wasn’t around). I feel blessed to be able to spend many hours on beautiful fall days, picking a great crop of apples that God has provided!

Visit some apple orchards this fall! Iowa

Apples on the Avenue 3035 Addison Blvd, Nashua, IA 641-210-5506 Countryside Orchard 1803 Whitetail Dr, Lansing, IA 563-538-4546 Czipar’s Apple Orchard 8610 US-52, Dubuque, IA 563-582-7476

VISIT AN Orchard THIS FALL! In the mood to explore more of the region’s apple orchards? We put together a list of orchards in the tri-state area (there were a lot more than we realized, but so sorry if we left any out!). Head on out for some sweet, fall fun – but remember: Apple orchards are often open seasonally, or for limited hours. You-pick apple-picking time is mainly August/ September through October or so, but there are also some orchards that are open for a longer season, or that have offerings beyond apples. So when planning your trip, please check websites and/or call beforehand to make sure of current hours.

Empty Nest Winery

East View Orchard 2355 Union Ave, Fredericksburg, IA 563-238-3871 Peake Orchards 323 N Line Dr, Waukon, IA Peake Orchards on Facebook Continued on next page

Through Oct: Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. Fri 4-9 pm Nov-Dec: Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. Hot Food Buffet through October – Friday nights 5-8 pm & Saturdays 11-2 pm. Menu at or Facebook

Upcoming Events Aug 30-Sept 2: Labor Day Fun - stop on out! Friday 4 to 9 pm; Sat/Sun/Mon 11 am to 5 pm Hot food buffet all weekend, live music on patio Sunday @ 1pm. Release fall wines & Sticky Buns wine Oct 4: Release Naked Iced Apple & Little Black Dress wines Oct 11-13: 6th Annual Wining with the Arts 10 Artists set up in the winery - food & drinks available Nov 2: Release Night Temptation, Seduction, Private Reserve, Berrylicious wines

Like us for details!

Serving Wine, Fresh Sangria, 10 Craft Beers on Tap & House Ciders

Outside & Inside seating! Great Venue for your next event!

Nov 30: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Tickets at – search Waukon Dec 31: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Tickets at – search Waukon New Years Eve Party open to public at 9:30pm • 563-568-2758

1253 Apple Rd. Waukon, Iowa \ Fall 2019


Kickapoo Orchard 46490 WI-171, Gays Mills, WI (608) 735-4637 • Kickapoo Orchard on Facebook Maple Ridge Orchard 6675 Maple Ave, Cashton, WI 608-654-5151 •

Oakwood Fruit Farm 31128 Apple Ridge Rd, Richland Center, WI 608-585-2701 •

(Iowa listings on previous page)


Cardinal Ridge Orchard S10958 Hazelnut Road, Spring Green, WI 608-546-2225 • Ecker’s Apple Farm W27062 WI-54, Trempealeau, WI 54661 608-539-2652 • Ferguson’s Orchards N17543 Grover Ln, Galesville, WI 608-539-4239 • James Flemming Jr Orchard 46054 WI-171, Gays Mills, WI 608-735-4625 •

Hoch Orchard & Garden 32553 Forster Rd, La Crescent, MN 507-643-6329 • Leidel’s Orchard 33114 County Highway 1, La Crescent, MN 507-895-8221

Munchkey Apples 175 Drammen Valley Rd, Mt Horeb, WI 608-523-1163 •

Visit some apple orchards this fall!

Fruit Acres, Inc. 33309 County Hwy 1, La Crescent, MN 507-895-4750

Northwoods Orchard 8018 75th Ave NW, Oronoco, MN 507-280-0591

Sacia Orchards Apple Market & Bakery W19461 US-53 #54/93, Galesville, WI 608-582-2119 •

Pepin Heights Orchard Inc. 70519 243rd Ave, Wabasha, MN 651-565-0267 •

Shefelbine Orchards & Pumpkin W4918 County Rd S, Holmen, WI 608-526-3495 Shefelbine Orchard on Facebook

Pine Tree Apple Orchard 1201 St. Paul Street, Preston, MN 651-429-7202

Shihata Orchard 61549 Limery Rd, Prairie du Chien, WI 608-326-2785 •

Sekapp Orchard 3415 Collegeview Rd E, Rochester, MN 507-282-4544 •

Sunrise Orchards, Inc. 48340 WI-171, Gays Mills, WI 608-735-4645 •

Southwind Orchards 45440 Co Rd 12, Dakota, MN 507-643-6255 •

Sutter’s Ridge Farm 2074 Sutter Dr, Mt Horeb, WI 608-832-6445 •

Stremcha Orchards 28095 Kerns Rd, Dakota, MN 507-643-6301

Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard 50350 Turkey Ridge Rd, Gays Mills, WI 608-735-4660

Tweite’s Family Farm 1821 Frontier Road SW, Byron, MN 507-365-8035 •

West Ridge Orchard 52132 WI-171, Gays Mills, WI 608-735-4299 •

Van Lin Orchards 4002 T-258, La Crescent, MN 507-895-4492 Van Lin Orchards on Facebook


Blossom Hill Orchard & Farm 645 Highway 52 East, Preston, MN 507-765-4486 •

Wescott Orchard & Agri Products 28085 County Rd 25, Elgin, MN 507-876-2891 Wescott Orchard on Facebook

School-Year Programs: Children’s House – 3-6 years old E1 (lower elementary) – 6-9 years old



Fall 2019 /

The joy of discovery! 418 W. Water Street. Decorah, Iowa 52101. 563-382-6491


paper boats!

Paper Project by Roxie Nichols

Roxie made more than 80 paper boats once she learned how to do it! She is so excited to show you how to do it with this Fall Paper Project. Use your boats as place cards at Thanksgiving or make a fleet like Roxie did!

step-by-step instructions at


If you’d like to nominate a Community Builder from your neck of the woods, let us know! Email Maybe you’ll see them here next fall!




2019 Community Builders:



A community is defined as a unified body of individuals. You can build community in a neighborhood, city, region, state, nation... world, at any level. It doesn’t have to be big to have a big impact. Building community is the most important thing we can do on this planet. Connecting with others helps us connect with our humanity, and realize we’re all in this together. Starting with our 10-year anniversary of making Inspire(d) Magazine, we began featuring Community Builders each fall. Read on to learn about our five 2019 Community Builders. XO – Aryn


Fall 2019 /

Luke Zahm



Viroqua, Wisconsin is where I’m from!’ That never left me. I loved watching the Driftless Region grow in that BY ARYN HENNING NICHOLS way.” Before that, Luke often said, “I’m from somewhere near Madison.” uch of Luke Zahm’s mission in life His first experience in a restaurant was has been about creating identity. a high school job at the Subway in Viroqua Whether it’s as a chef, or at his where, as luck would have it, he would meet popular farm-to-table restaurant, Driftless the woman he’d marry someday: Ruthie Café, or beyond that, cultivating identity Yahn. for the Midwest. “I was a certified sandwich artist – my “I found my identity and connection Mom still has the certificate – and Ruthie through food,” he says. “Being from La was a small town princess,” Luke says, clearly Farge, Wisconsin, I didn’t have much of settling in to tell a good story. “She was a sense of place when I was younger. the worst customer I ever had! I was going My mom worked at Organic Valley for through a Goth phase – and she came in and 25 years, and when OV kids went off to ordered a sandwich and was all, ‘Do you even college, we were given stacks of coupons know what you’re doing? Can I just come for free products, which was amazing.” back there and make my own sandwich?’” “Sometimes I would trade them for Luke, now 40, laughs. Life went on for the beer,” he continues with a laugh. “Free two – Ruthie headed to college in Tempe, milk, eggs, cheese, butter, orange juice – Arizona; Luke in Chicago. But a restaurant all that stuff was gold when you were in Ruthie and Luke Zahm outside Driftless Cafe in would bring them together again – a college. But often we’d use them to buy Viroqua. / Photo courtesy Driftless Cafe Wisconsin supper club – where they both our own food. So I walked into a Whole worked the next summer. Foods for the first time in Chicago, picked “She came to work all tan, and says, ‘Oh up a piece of Organic Valley cheddar, and hey, I’m Ruthie,’ flirting, and I said, ‘Ohhh, I remember you.’” saw La Farge, Wisconsin, written on the back, in a way that had relevance and meaning. And it struck me: ‘These are my people, this 35 \ Fall 2019


They once again went separate ways, but eventually, both transferred to U.W. Madison. They – along with many other old friends from Southwest Wisconsin – met back up and became a tight-knit crew. And Luke and Ruthie fell in love. After they graduated in 2003 – Luke’s degree is in behavioral science and law, and Luke at the Driftless Cafe bar / Ruthie’s in nursing – they got Photo courtesy Driftless Cafe married, and stayed in Madison for several years more. “I thought I was going to be lawyer,” Luke says. “But I was working in restaurants the whole time, and I always felt a pull back.” To food, and to the Viroqua area as well. They moved home in 2011, with their two kids, Ava and Benjamin, in tow, and Luke went to work as an executive sous chef for The Waterfront Restaurant in La Crosse. “I started hanging out with a lot of big chefs – getting all techy with molecular gastronomy,” Luke says. “Eric Rupert (a Madison-based chef) was my mentor, so I was telling him about all these experiments. He literally grabbed me by my head and said, ‘Dude, you are from the mecca of organics. It gives where you are so much shape and meaning. Cook that food. That’s your role.’ At the time I didn’t love hearing that. But I kinda knew it was in my DNA.” It was a pivotal moment for Luke. He went back to the basics, spending 14 months working at the Viroqua Co-op bakery and deli. “They opened their doors to the idea of the restaurant I wanted to create. They helped me articulate what I wanted, and gave people a chance to taste my food,” he says. It was during this time he and Ruthie had another baby, Silas. So life was busy. But they decided to take the leap to create Driftless Café anyway. “We cashed in all our chips. 401K, savings – all of it went into this idea of this restaurant,” Luke says. “I was taking our new baby to bankers meetings, saying, ‘Here’s what we have. Loan us money!’


Fall 2019 /

Nobody would do it. One day, I had a conversation with a local farmer. I was explaining my vision of what I wanted the Café to be. I wanted to put a spotlight on what farmers are doing, honor the heritage of their roots, plus what they are coming to be.” When yet another loan didn’t come through, the previous owner of the Driftless Café came to Luke and said, “I’ll sell you the place.” Then that local farmer said, “I’ll finance it.” “Now, I know I’m not the only farm-to-table restaurant out there… but I may be the only farmer-financed,” Luke says. “It was an amazing show of community trust. They really took a risk on this idea that Ruthie and I were worth it.” Driftless Café opened under Luke and Ruthie’s ownership in 2013, and the restaurant quickly became a leader in local, farmerfocused dishes inspired by the region. And in 2017, Luke was named a James Beard semifinalist. “Driftless Café’s motto is to do what it does at the highest level we’re capable of,” he says. “We want to be the authority on local cuisine, a bridge for the community, and a voice into the future.” The same thing goes for Luke’s involvement with Viroqua Chamber Main Street – he’s been board president for the past three years. “I found I have a voice in it,” he says. “And I want my children to understand that to live and work in a community you have to be involved and active.” The board has worked to inspire and empower future and current entrepreneurs to invest, sustain, and build up the community. “In order to market the region, we have to capture those who are working to make things happen,” he says. In fact, years ago, Luke went to the Food Network in LA to pitch an idea for a show about food and a sense of place, highlighting this corner of the Midwest.

“They said, ‘To be fair, nobody gives a sh*t about the Midwest. All revenue is generated by the coasts. Good luck with the underwriting,’” he recalls. “Back in Wisconsin, I said, ‘Nobody gives a sh*t? I just don’t buy that.” So when Wisconsin Foodie, an Emmy Award-winning show on Wisconsin Public Television, came to Luke about hosting the show after longtime host, Kyle Cherek, planned to step down, he was – of course – interested. After co-hosting a few shows last season, Luke took the job. The TV spotlight might take some getting used to, though. “I was canoeing with my daughter and her friend when another boater yells, ‘Hey, congrats on Wisconsin Foodie!’ I’m kind of an introvert, so it’s strange when people I don’t know recognize me,” he says with a laugh. “I’m trying to grow into that.” “Maybe next time I’ll keep my shirt on,” he adds. Life is – once again, or perhaps still – busy. Luke’s on the road four days a week filming with Wisconsin Foodie, plus working events and catering gigs, and keeping up with Driftless Café itself. He recently handed the reigns of Executive Chef over to Mary Kastman, an acclaimed chef from Boston who moved to Viroqua last year. “Mary views and cooks with a different lens than I do, and I think that’s so important,” Luke says. “I see and taste the things she’s making and I’m floored. It’s so amazing how the same ingredients can make such different outcomes. I’m excited for her to create her own identity with food here.” And luckily, Ruthie is – and has been – on board for it all. “To be fair, Ruthie is the brains of the operation. Beyonce’s got it right, you know, ‘who runs the world?’ She takes care of it, and makes sure it works for our family,” Luke says. “Part of me would love it to slow down, and another part of me never wants it to slow down. When Ruthie quit job as labor and delivery nurse, we said, ‘Let’s do this thing ‘til it practically kills us.’ And when we put our heads together we could move mountains.” At the very least – or perhaps the very best – they’ll move hearts and minds. “Rural America feels like they’re not being heard,” Luke says. “Being from La Farge, or any small town – you’re telling me this doesn’t matter, and I’m going to prove to you that it does. I want to change how the conversation is going. I want to make sure at the end of my run with Wisconsin Foodie that people won’t ever be able to say this is flyover country again.” Aryn Henning Nichols loves Viroqua and the Driftless Café, and is super inspired by Luke and Ruthie Zahm. They are walking their talks, and it is certainly showing.

Driftless Area Art Festival Celebrating the Visual, Performing & Culinary Arts of the Driftless

Sat. Sept. 21, 10-5 Sun. Sept. 22, 10-4 Soldiers Grove, WI 80 Visual Artists Live Music—Local Foods Free Admission and Parking \ Fall 2019


Welcome to

HARMONY, MINNESOTA Only 30 minutes away from Decorah, this full service community offers a variety of great dining options, unique antique, furniture & gift shops, & exciting recreational opportunities. Explore Niagara Cave, tour the Amish countryside, & pedal your way through 60 miles of paved bike trail! Harmony also offers a wide array of businesses ready to meet your every need. Catering now available!


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• Hike 1 mile underground to depths of 200 ft. • Discover fossils ~450 million years old • See delicate & massive cave formations • Temperature is 48° F (9°C) • Walking shoes are recommended

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Emily Kurash Casey Winona, Minnesota BY MAGGIE SONNEK


veryone, according to Emily Kurash Casey, has a community that tugs at their hearts. Whether it’s where you grew up, where you vacationed as a child, or where you now live as an adult, Emily – a small town champion and change-maker in Winona, Minnesota – believes these gems are the heart of the Driftless Region. She hesitates to call these places small towns, though – it can have a negative or hokey connotation. Conversations have changed around these non-urban areas, she says. There are more options and opportunities. You no longer have to go to a four-year college, move to an urban area and get a job. Originally from a farm near Fort Atkinson, Iowa, Emily moved to Decorah after graduating from St. Ambrose University in Davenport. A theater and theology major, she was surprised to find herself working with Decorah’s young professionals population – and loving it. “I was so sure that I wanted to be on the theater path,” she says. “I was surprised that I could love something else so much. I was meeting these people who were choosing to make these non-urban areas exciting places they wanted to live.” Emily joined those ranks herself – after living in Decorah, she chose to move to Winona, a town of about 27,000 people, nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River in Southeast Minnesota.



“Technology has changed so much so fast. It used to be that young professionals had to live in a big city to find their place and feel like they had made it,” she says, sipping an iced coffee at Blooming Grounds on Third Street in Downtown Winona. “That’s just not true anymore. There are opportunities that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Young people are choosing to live in smaller population hubs like Decorah, Winona, and Eau Claire, and finding exciting work that really matters.” Case in point: Emily has had some pretty cool work so far in her career. She spent three years as the Director of Marketing for Winona’s Great River Shakespeare Festival, three years as the Winona Main Street Program Coordinator, and she recently took a new position as Rural Programs Coordinator with Rethos: Places Reimagined (formerly Preservation Alliance of Minnesota), which houses the Minnesota Main Street Program. The Main Street America program is a nation-wide revitalization strategy that helps communities preserve historic downtowns and develop strategies for continuous improvement. Her favorite part of the Winona Main Street job – and her lasting legacy – would be the Artists on Main Street program, a partnership between Rethos: Places Reimagined (formerly Preservation Alliance of Minnesota) and Springboard for the Arts, with support from the Bush Foundation. The goal in Winona? To create activity and installations to draw people from downtown’s Levee Park into the business district. Continued on next page


Photography by Brittany Todd

563-382-3657 . 108 Fifth Avenue, Decorah, Iowa . \ Fall 2019


Downtown Winona

Emily and her husband, Dave Casey

Artist-led placemaking initiatives included swing dancing in the street, painting and installing clay tiles, and watching pop-up performances of the Great River Shakespeare Festival. “This helped spark energy on the block. Businesses began to band together. Conversations were reframed,” Emily says. “Instead of turning to a commission or committee to solve a problem, we were working with – and paying – artists.” Artists on Main Street’s pilot program, which has been instituted in two other Minnesota communities – Mankato and Faribault – continues into its third year in 2020. And now, a handful of new towns are also involved, including New Ulm, Red Wing, Shakopee, and Wabasha. In her new role as Rural Programs Coordinator for Rethos, Emily will continue to see her work reach different communities in the area that are involved in the Main Street Program. “As a region, the give and take between communities is so much bigger now,” she says. “I just help facilitate and then step aside. The people who are in these towns are doing the work. They’re bringing in the energy and excitement.” Emily loves the ever-growing idea that folks really, truly can live their best lives in non-urban areas, even if that means – gasp – returning to your own hometown. If a place tugs at your heart, let it. “It’s okay to want to revisit or live in the place where you grew up. And, it’s okay to build up that space and make it new and exciting,” she says. “That doesn’t change the quality of life at all. In fact, it probably enhances it.” Maggie Sonnek loves living in her rural community of Wabasha. When she’s not exploring the Driftless Region, she can be found hanging out with her kids and husband or sipping an iced coffee.


Fall 2019 /

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Julie Shockey Trytten Decorah, Iowa



t makes perfect sense that Julie Shockey Trytten instinctively reaches for a pen and paper when asked how many children, youth, and young adults she has coached in Decorah since graduating from Luther College in 2001. It is, after all, no small number. After doing a few calculations, she finally replies, “at least 500.” That’s likely a conservative estimate. Julie has served for nearly two decades as an assistant coach for the Luther Norse women’s soccer team – she lettered in the sport four consecutive years while playing in college – and currently volunteers her time working with the team. “I love Luther,” she says. “And I love soccer.” She has also shared her experience and expertise with almost every level of local “footballer.” With her former husband, Ben Shockey, she coached her son, Larsson, now a Decorah High School

(DHS) sophomore, on numerous Decorah United Soccer Club (DUSC) teams. From 2004-13, she served as head coach of the DHS girls’ team, and this past spring, she and Ben joined forces again to coach Larsson and his teammates on the boys’ soccer team. They are set to coach the team this coming spring as well. “I know that I am not the best soccer coach and don’t have the most soccer knowledge,” she says, noting she has learned plenty


“I am capable of taking our 5-year-old grandson on bike rides with his Trail-A-Bike attached to my E-Bike. He told me that my legs are the throttle to power us up the hills.”

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Fall 2019 /

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from her players as well. “But I do want to be a positive part of the soccer stories of the players I coach – Ben and I have both said, from day one, we want to help shape good people first, and then good players. And we both really believe that.” A native of Albert Lea, Minnesota, Julie has worked hard to spread the word about Luther since graduation, for 17 years in public information/media relations and, since early 2019, as an assistant director of admissions. “It was not a conscious decision initially to stay in Decorah long term, but it became one the longer I lived here,” she says. “I realized what a great place Decorah was – how many opportunities both it and Luther offered to get involved – and both Ben and I agreed that we wanted to raise Larsson here.” Her decision to remain in Decorah has certainly been the small town’s gain. Beyond her coaching contributions, Julie has also shared her time and considerable talents as a board member of both Winneshiek County United Way and Winneshiek County Pheasants Forever. And that’s all in addition to the volunteer work for which she was recognized as the grand marshal of the Nordic Fest parade in 2018. A longtime worker at the festival’s lefse booth – she has long loved the signature Norwegian treat, which she first learned how to make from her parents – Julie took on organizing the operation eight years ago as a way to get the players she coached at DHS involved in the community event and raise a bit of money for the team. (The booth typically sells a few thousand rounds of lefse each year in support of the fest.) Continued on next page

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Fall 2019 /

Julie Shockey Trytten in her bunad at Nordic Fest. She’s organized the lefse booth for the past eight years. / Photo courtesy Julie Shockey Tryttten

“The volunteers are a fun group of people doing something for the community that they enjoy,” she says. “And for me, it really is a family affair – my parents, my sister and her kids, my aunts and uncles, and my godparents have all come and volunteered.” This year even little Anawrenn, her two-year-old daughter with her late husband, Rik Trytten, donned a bunad to “help out” at the booth. Julie is quick to point out that she could not juggle her many family, work, and community commitments without the help of many others, both family and friends as well as members of the extended Decorah community. “There’s something about Decorah, that when people ask how you’re doing, they actually want to know – it is not just conversation,” she says. “People care about others in the community, and that is just one reason I want to give back to it.”


Sara Friedl-Putnam first met Julie Shockey Trytten when both worked in Campus House as members of the Luther College public information (Julie) and publications (Sara) teams 20 years ago. She has been inspired by Julie’s community-building talents ever since.

Become a

Member! Your Winneshiek County Development & Tourism membership supports: Fostering Winneshiek county business growth, development, and tourism. Travel Iowa Grant award

New Decorah Mountain Bike Trail Map

2019 Community Visitor Guide

Looking ahead: • Echo Development's apartment complex – 50+ units in the business park • Project to address the child care shortage in Winneshiek County • Decorah area destination branding

Visit Decorah social media & website updates

Area Business Highlights – articles about tourism-related businesses

Redesigned Trout Run Trail Map

Distinctively Winneshiek County – Partnering with Chamber/NICC to create a 5-week welcome course for new residents

“WCDI is an organization that is a pleasure to work with, has the knowledge and connections to get you on the right path and is always looking out for you. WCDI is there to help you succeed.” – Pivo Blepta, Calmar, Iowa

Work Based Learning – Connecting businesses and students together through internships, job shadowing, tours, & more

Incoming Decorah Hy-Vee, creating jobs for 70 employees

New and current business counseling sessions More than 100 in 2018!

$20,000 awarded to Winneshiek County businesses through WCDI’s Biz Booster Challenge Winneshiek Idea House and Trout Tank – 100+ investors raising over $7,000 for local entrepreneurs Youth leadership – Partnering with NICC/chamber to develop a college course for high school students

Support Development & Tourism! Membership info at • 507 W Water, Decorah • 563-382-6061

The Wired Rooster is a gathering space for community initiatives, like this recent painting class.


Fall 2019 /

All photos courtesy The Wired Rooster


Caledonia, Minnesota



t’s a typical Sunday morning at the counter of The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe on Main Street in Caledonia, Minnesota. Owner-founders Amanda (Wray) and Jeremiah Ninneman are on either side of the bar in the restored A. Zimmerhakl storefront, chatting up grandparently regulars Jerome and Kari. The main draw today isn’t the espresso or The ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar) panino sandwich, a customer favorite. It’s Cora and Marie, twin daughters born to the Ninnemans in July 2019, joining big sister Aevyn, 10, and brother Levi, nearly 4. “Let us know if you need us to take Levi to the park,” Kari says, carefully nestling one babe back in Amanda’s arms. “Maybe run off some energy?” “That would be great,” Amanda says with a knowing smile. This caring generosity is exactly why she and husband Jeremiah moved back to Caledonia, her hometown, renovating the building from scratch in 2015 and lifting up community initiatives that now flow through the shop as a gathering place.

Top: Jeremiah & Amanda Ninneman at the Wired Rooster. Below: Newborn twins, Cora & Marie.

In addition to running The Wired Rooster with Jeremiah, Amanda is a fullservice creative by trade, with stints in New York City and in Minneapolis, where she formed an online literary community with her sister. Since moving home to Caledonia, she has rebuilt websites for local municipalities and the Houston County Economic Development Authority (EDA), and deployed marketing for the local historical society, the Caledonia Public Library, and several other organizations through her own design firm, Hazel Street Creative. None of it would be possible or even interest her, she explains, without the tightknit support of family and friends. That small-town commodity is near-impossible to replicate in cities, she feels, where time and space are segmented by commutes and a culture that often encourages disconnection from neighbors. “Having cousins just down the road, having regular contact with grandparents and great-grandparents and great aunts and uncles – I think all of that helps a kid understand the fundamentals of how a community works, and its benefits,” Amanda says.


COME VISIT OUR SHOWROOM | 1813 Trout Run Road Decorah | 563-382-9360 | COME VISIT OUR SHOWROOM | 1813 Trout Run Road Decorah | 563-382-9360 | \ Fall 2019


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Fall 2019 /

The Wired Rooster regular, Jerome, enjoying coffee with Levi Ninneman (whose ‘coffee’ is plain foamed milk!). Below: The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe (middle). Right: The Wired Rooster staff strike a pose. / Photos courtesy The Wired Rooster

On the professional side, she’s a natural way-maker. “Being able to identify problems, come up with creative solutions, and watch them better our community is incredibly rewarding,” she says. “Doing what I can on the EDA board and with the Chamber of Commerce makes sense as a business owner,” she explains, “but I’m also really interested in economic development and revitalizing the area, and it doesn’t feel like work to put my energy there. I can see firsthand – and immediately – how the work we’re doing affects the community – the output feels magnified.” Driftless communities have great potential to promote their history in economic development, she adds, reinvigorating interest and investment in hometowns. “It feels really good to be working to improve the same community that my ancestors helped build from scratch,” she says. “I often think about those scrappy and resourceful pioneers and farmers and business owners, and it feels good to ensure that the work they started wasn’t in vain.” Modern change-making still requires grit, advise Amanda and Jeremiah, both named 2018 7 Rivers Region Rising Stars Under 40. Small town populations naturally mean smaller pools of resources to draw on… namely, people. “One of the greatest challenges is rallying enough folks with the energy and skills to Get Things Done,” Amanda explains. “You can get into trouble calling on the same handful of people for all of the projects/committees/events. Rallying the entire community and inspiring people to figure out how they can step up even in small ways is key.”

their oil change or dog groom, it seemed like a good place to start.” This daily contact with the business community is key, she concludes. “People are more likely to invest time and energy in a place that they actually spend time in. The ultimate goal is to inspire more people to open their own businesses, fix up their buildings, and get downtown thriving again.”

Kristine Jepsen is a grant/writer for area businesses and non-profits and a big fan of both the trivia and The ABC panino at The Wired Rooster. Her nonfiction appears or is forthcoming in literary journals and anthologies. Read more at

Momentum appears to be swelling. When the Ninnemans moved to Caledonia, businesses were dwindling downtown, leaving just a handful of storefronts occupied. Today, by contrast, four buildings are slated for refurbishment as new businesses, and the mainstay Caledonia Bakery (conveniently located across the street from The Wired Rooster) has transitioned to new ownership and a fresh facade. “We opened a coffee shop to help bring people back downtown, encouraging them to get out of their cars,” Amanda says. “If there was a space where folks could hang out comfortably in between appointments, or while waiting for


The Wired Rooster drums up community at (free!) trivia nights every other Friday, where competitors form teams of four and do Minnesotanice battle. 2019-20 themes might well include “TWIN Cities,” or, “Things That Come in Pairs.” Follow the shop on Facebook for details.

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DEBRA LASH La Crosse, Wisconsin

The building Debra renovated to house The Wedding Tree and The Court Above Main.


24/7 Access for your workout

Let’s Make Healthy Happen! BY SARA WALTERS


s far as Debra Lash is concerned, retail is not dead, and downtown communities – like the one she’s helping to build in La Crosse, Wisconsin – are very much alive. In fact, this long-time entrepreneaur has seen a resurgence in small, downtown boutiques like her own. Debra, now a seasoned entrepreneur, got started on the path when she purchased The Wedding Tree in 1996. Open since 1976, The Wedding Tree has always been a downtown La Crosse business. A couple of years after Debra took it over, though, she moved it from 112 Main St. to 418 Main, where she rented until she purchased the building in 2004. Then, in 2014, she underwent a huge renovation and restoration project and brought a historic ballroom venue – and totally new business venture, The Court Above Main – to life. The venue seats 190 and is perfect for weddings (of course) plus reunions, graduations, anniversary parties, and more. Around that time, she also acquired the La Crosse Wedding Expo (previously the La Crosse Bridal Expo), an annual event to help connect folks to wedding vendors in the area. The three businesses Debra Lash / Photo by Jen Towner keep Debra and her crew incredibly busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. As big box stores close their doors, Debra focuses her energy on serving the community and customers that keep hers open. That’s partially done by giving back to that community, dedicating many hours to nonprofit groups over the last 20 years. As a past president and current board member of Downtown Mainstreet, Inc., Debra has provided support for small business owners and shoppers alike. “It did not take long for me to realize that Main Street meant so much more to me and our communities than an address. It is a community of many small businesses who want the best for their towns. Main Street is a place where families want to take time and celebrate their history and make special purchases. To reminisce about the way things once were,” said Debra. Continued on next page

915 Short St. Decorah 563-382-2323

Morning Glory Retreat House 336 Washington Street

Morning Glory Downtown 113 Winnebago Street

workshops • classes • meeting place meditation and retreat offerings calm, quiet space group and individual accommodations 563-419-2357 Decorah, IA

Purl Up & Knit for a Spell Yarn, Knitting & Fiber Art Supplies, Classes, & More! Mon– Wed : 10 am – 5 pm Fri -Sat: 10 am – 5 pm Thurs: 10 am – 8 pm Sun: 12 – 4 pm

563-517-1059 •

5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms. Sleeps up to 13 with a separate bright & airy sewing space complete with individual tables & ironing & cutting stations.

Relax as you take time for YOU & use your creativity for your next quilting & sewing retreat! • 602 W Water St • 563-380-5772 \ Fall 2019




Open by appointment Tues-Sat: 563.379.7583 - 930 Division St. Cresco, IA

3 Stores in 1 Boutique • Women's Clothing & Accessories • Merle Norman Cosmetics & Skincare • High Fashion Wigs

111 E. Water St. Decorah, Iowa. 563.382.6212

R.M. Granet & Company Nort h Io wa’s In t ern ational Gi f t & Antique Store

Photos, clockwise from top left: The Wedding Tree bridal gowns / Photo by Boxcar Photography; La Crosse Wedding Expo / Photo by Jordana Snyder Photography; A first dance at Court Above Main / Photo by Tiffany Brubaker Photography

Featuring... fine art, estate jewelry, porcelain, crystal, silver, antiques and home furnishings

1110 North Grand Avenue Charles City, IA 50616 Phone Number 641-220-5100

Home Health Nursing Personal Cares Public Health Services

Smith Building 305 Montgomery St.; Ste. #3 Decorah, IA 52101

Committed to you. | 563-382-4662 52

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Understanding the importance of those special purchases is at the heart of Debra’s retail sector. Working in the wedding industry gives her a unique role in many people’s most important day. “To be a special part of so many love stories over the years is extremely gratifying,” she says. Compassion for customers is the key to Debra’s business, and it’s one part of The Wedding Tree that hasn’t changed in her more than two decades in business. As trends come and go, the investment in customer experience never waivers. “Every moment, every meeting, every interaction counts. Lead with your best foot and go back to the basics of customer service. The rest will fall into place,” she says. She likes to abide by the motto, “A customer is a customer before they know they are a customer.” Embracing this approach – and encouraging her team to do the same – has proven to be successful for customers and employees, alike. Debra originally started with a team of two, and has since grown to employ more than 20. “Our internal culture is an integral reason we have fairly low turnover in a not-always-glorified profession,” she says.

250 artists. 7 days a week. 1 gallery.

Debra also knows that women in business need to support each other as much as possible. “I lead by way of encouraging and coaching each of my three businesses to be run by my managers and teams as if it were their own.” And, like a true community builder, Debra doesn’t stop with her own staff. She encourages others interested in business by participating in college panels, welcoming DECA groups, entrepreneurship classes, and high school or college tours, and, for a time, even teaching business and marketing courses at Western Technical College. Enlightening the next generation of the business community is a testament to Debra’s love for her ever-changing community ­– one that she is always trying to keep pace and grow with. “A successful business person continues to recognize the changes before they make a big impact and adjust accordingly,” she says. “I always have plans for the future. I keep close eyes and ears on worldwide trends. I’m always trying to grow, learn, and reinvent. I can’t give away all my secrets! But stay tuned, there will be more – that I promise.”

Sara Walters, who married her high school sweetheart, loves the downtown La Crosse community and sharing it with her family. She is a freelance writer based in La Crescent, MN.

800-932-7028 • 563-568-3661

Est. 1961 People you can Trust. Quality you can depend on.

31 West Main Street Waukon, Iowa Mon: 9am - 7pm. Tues - Fri: 9am - 5pm. Sat: 9am - 3pm

3 goldsmiths 2 graduate gemologists 1 watchmaker 3 diamond setters \ Fall 2019


Festive Fall FUN!


Steam Engine Days – September 5-8 For 67 years each September, a dedicated group of “Steamers” have come together from Hesper, Iowa and Mabel, Minnesota to celebrate Steam Engine Days. Although most of the original old timers have moved on to greener pastures, there’s an awesome crop of young folks coming up learning the steam engineering skillset. Annual events include the Parade of Tractors from Hesper to Mabel Thursday evening at 6 pm, The Grand Parade Saturday & Sunday (yep, both days!) at noon, lots of classic entertainment, the royalty crowning, bingo in the barn, tractor and vehicle drawings, fireworks, and more. And of course, those magical almost-silent beasts of steam tractors. This is a great family outing, and kids can get up close to countless steam machines and more. Toot Toot! www.

River Root Trail Towns Taste of the Trail Series – September 7, 14, & 21 School is in, and the schedules are filling up – but it’s not too late to enjoy a beautiful afternoon on the Root River Trail system of Southeast Minnesota. In fact, this may be the most beautiful time of the year to enjoy a ride through the trees and bluffs. For three consecutive Saturdays in September (7, 14, 21), you can visit different sections of the trail and enjoy a “Taste of the Trail”. Stops will include samples of foods and beverages, along with fun activities like wagon rides, informational outdoor programs, music, petting zoo, and more! Visit for information on which towns are featured on which three of the days – and tell them Inspire(d) sent you!

Fort Atkinson Rendezvous Days – September 28-29 Stroll back in time at the 43rd Annual Fort Atkinson (Iowa) Rendezvous Days! A weekend full of frontier activities is planned – from cannon drills to tomahawk throwing, anvil shoots to bullwhip contests, and even an old-time Sunday morning church service. Come see participants dressed as frontier buckskinners as well as soldiers from the old days of Fort Atkinson. Buckskinners also have unique items for sale, and will show off their wares and skills. A 5K fun run fundraiser will also be held on Saturday, September 28 at 8:30 am, beginning near the Fort Atkinson Community Center. (Pre-register by September 16 to receive a long sleeve performance t-shirt). A kids obstacle course will also be held for those under 10 who would like to participate.

Viroqua Harvest Parade – October 12

On the second Saturday of October each year (in 2019’s case, October 12), the Western Wisconsin town of Viroqua comes alive with giant puppets and festively costumed characters parading down Main Street: It’s the Harvest Parade, a one-of-a-kind event from the heart of the Driftless. Happening since 2010, the event’s mission is to build community, foster connections in the arts, and provide artistic opportunities to youths and adults. Entries are more-or-less Harvest themed, people powered, and utilize as many re- used materials as possible. After the 2 pm parade, head over to the Harvest Celebration at a Viroqua park for music, food, and more entertainment. Keep an eye on the “Viroqua Harvest Parade” Facebook page for exact details


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NE Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour – October 11-13 There’s nothing like a beautiful fall weekend to head out across the rolling hills and into the working studios of artists across our region. This year will be the 22nd annual Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour – including 47 artists in 35 locations – all within 40 miles of Decorah. From paintings to ceramics, wood to metal – getting a glimpse into the studios of our local artists is a real treat (and you might find a treat along the way!). Here at Inspire(d), we’ve created some fun imagery in the past with things you should bring along for your Studio Tour adventures – highlights include the official brochure, a good (non phone) map, cash (it’s king!), and fun snacks to enjoy along the way. Enjoy an afternoon, or spend the entire weekend finding studios you didn’t know existed in the nooks and crannies of our region. Happy exploring – and thanks for supporting local artists! Details and more:

PertNear 20 Mountain Bike Race! – October 19 Join Bluedog Cycles for the 8th annual PertNear 20 Mountain Bike Race in Viroqua, Wisconsin, October 19, 2019, starting at 10 am. The race utilizes Vernon Trails’ sustainably managed trail network at Hubbard Hills, Rusty Ridge, and Sidie Hollow in Viroqua. The start and finish of this family friendly event is at Sidie Hollow County Park (E6051 County Road XX, Viroqua, Wisconsin), with festivities and a kids’ race that goes around the Lake Loop. There is a short course and a long course, with the long being approximately (pertnear) 20 miles. A post race celebration will take place with refreshments and food. Participants are encouraged to make a weekend out of the event and utilize one of the three beautiful campgrounds that Sidie Hollow Park has to offer. All levels of riders are welcome, and there’ll be fun for everyone! For more information check out

Save the Date: FEAST – December 7 Meet the folks who grow and create what you eat, from field to FEAST! Check out this specialty and local foods festival and show, held Saturday, December 7 at the Mayo Civic Center, Rochester from 10 am to 4 pm. (On Friday, December 6, is a special industry only tradeshow). You get to savor and shop with more than 100 of the region’s best food artisans, and enjoy cooking demos and activities for children. Come hungry and bring the family! It’s a great chance to purchase your favorite local foods right from the food-makers, either to stock up or to share. Samples are free, but bring cash to purchase items to take home. Vendor applications are still being accepted. To learn more about Feast! visit


Saturdays 8-11am Wednesdays 3-6pm

Below the Oneota Co-op Parking Lot

Shop Local . Eat Fresh. Produce - Meat - Baked Goods - More

303 W. Water St • Decorah, Iowa •563.382.4941

Hair salon + Manicures & Pedicures Facials • Makeup

Luxury salon & day spa drop-ins welcome!

Molly Gallagher, instructor

beginning, continuing, & gentle yoga 110 Washingon Street. Decorah, Iowa . 319.270.4592




110 East Water St 563-382-4297

More than 60 years of great food! \ Fall 2019



he landscape of the Driftless area of Wisconsin ebbs and flows – along bluffs that stick up like knuckles on the horizon, and valleys carved out by centuries of cold-water streams and rivers running down through them. Spotted throughout all this loveliness are communities melded – sometimes quite literally – into the very foundation of the land. We visited a handful of these magical places on a recent Mid-Wisco Roadtrip – from Viroqua to Richland Center to Spring Green and beyond – to give you some inspiration for your own Driftless fall adventures. So come along for a ride – we’re goin’ roadtrippin’.


Fall 2019 /

The road & view right in front of Marty and Teri Richards’ Airbnb


Crossing Lansing’s Black Hawk Bridge from Iowa to Wisconsin

207 College Drive, Decorah 563-380-3610 Open 7 Days A Week



Friday Night Taco Stand at Rooted Spoon in Viroqua.

Viroqua The first stop on our drive was Viroqua, Wisconsin. We often call Viroqua Decorah’s sister city – the two Driftless communities have much in common: fun downtowns, great food co-ops, vibrant restaurants and cafes, and lots of awesome people. We made sure to hit Viroqua on a Friday night, for Rooted Spoon’s Friday Night Taco Stand and 219

Drinkery. The menu changes with what’s in season, but there are generally chips and salsa, a salad, tacos (of course!), and a dessert to choose from. Plus, the cocktails! Amazingly tasty drinks paired with the night’s menu. Make yourself at home with folks you don’t know (yet!) at a larger table, or find a nook to claim as your own, and enjoy. Friday Night Drinkery & Taco Stand: 5 – 11pm (with tacos until usually about 9pm)

For events & ticket information visit 207 N. Main, Elkader, IA

563-245-2098 \ Fall 2019


Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table 219 S. Main St., Viroqua, WI • 608-632-2120

Other Viroqua favorites:

Driftless Café 118 W. Court St. Viroqua, WI 608-637-7778 • You can read about Driftless Café owners Luke and Ruthie Zahm on page 35 – their restaurant has set the bar high for amazing farm-to-table lunches and dinners. Check out the daily specials for what’s freshest-of-thefresh, and enjoy the casual and fun vibe of this award-winning spot. Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Check for current hours. Kickapoo Coffee – Viroqua Café 302 S Main St, Viroqua, WI 608-638-7701 • Located in a 1940s Mobil gas station-turned-specialtycoffee-shop, Kickapoo Coffee’s Viroqua Café has a seriously cool vibe. But more importantly, the coffee, baked goods, and breakfast and lunch offerings are truly top notch. Beyond Viroqua, you can find Kickapoo Coffee in cafes, co-ops, and grocery stores throughout the Upper Midwest and beyond – they’ve been sourcing and roasting amazing coffee for more than a decade! The Kickapoo Coffee Viroqua Café is open daily 7 am to 5 pm.

Bluedog Cycles 201 S Main St. Viroqua, WI • 608-637-6993 Got more time for an adventure? Rent a bike from Bluedog Cycles and explore Sidie Hollow’s singletrack, or one of Vernon Counties nine “Roads as routes” loops, or check out Bluedog Cycle’s website for group ride offerings. Wisco Pop What’s a Wisco Road Trip without a Wisco Pop! Soda?! We love the ginger sparkle most of all, but really, you can’t go wrong with any of these all-organic, whole-ingredient bevvies. You can find them in locations all over the Midwest, and lots of spots in Viroqua – try the Viroqua Food Co-op for a fourpack (or several) to take home. Viroqua Food Co-op 609 N Main St, Viroqua WI • 608.637.7511 This lovely co-op underwent an extensive renovation in 2017-18 – doubling the size of the space to more than 9,200 square feet. To have such an amazing food co-op in a town of less than 5000 people is pretty darn cool. Pick something up from their bulk section, or grab some fresh, local produce, or Wisconsin (and beyond) cheeses, and don’t forget your WiscoPop! Open Daily 7am-9pm

Great comebacks begin here Has an injury or arthritis deflated your active lifestyle? Gundersen Orthopaedic physician assistant Andrea Wilson, PA-C, can help you get back in your “game.” Andrea specializes in orthopaedics and sports medicine and offers a wide range of non-surgical treatment options conveniently located at the Gundersen Decorah Clinic.

A great comeback starts with a phone call. Schedule an appointment today! (563) 382-3140 Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, Inc. | Gundersen Clinic, Ltd. | 37740-2_0719


Fall 2019 /

Back in our “Rad Dad Van” (aka magazine delivery vehicle, aka our Dodge Grand Caravan), we head out from Viroqua toward Richland Center. It’s about a 40-minute drive of beautiful, rolling hills – pretty much peak picturesque. Depending on your timing and the weather, you might stop on a safe ridge to catch the sunset behind you.

Richland Center, Wisconsin

Richland Center, Wisconsin, is a cute town that is clearly working hard to make some exciting new stuff happen. We were in town for a specific reason: a Ridge and Valley Tour. Fun fact: Did you know Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, in 1877? As locals will tell it, though, while he may have designed some amazing houses and buildings, he didn’t always keep up with his bills! This is just one tidbit Marty and Teri Richards might share (along with many more interesting facts and details) on a Ridge and Valley Tour. We joined in on the East Coast Tour (there’s also a West Coast Tour – see more at The East Coast Tour starts at 7:15 am at Kelly’s Coffee in downtown Richland Center Continued on next page

Marty and Teri stop the tour at “Elephant Rock�, located outside of Richland Center, to talk about Karst topography in the Driftless Region. \ Fall 2019


Left: Nate Duren shares info about his and his wife, Kayla’s, cow dairy operation, Blue View Farms. Middle: Robin Loewe and husband, Chad McCauley, are Carr Valley Cheese’s sole goat milk provider. RIght: Benji and Aryn strike a cheesy (ha!) pose in front of Carr Valley Cheese.

– grab a breakfast sandwich or scone and some coffee while Marty and Teri go over the fine print, then climb aboard the fun bus – it’s time to see some farms, eat some cheese, and enjoy the beauty that is Wisconsin! This tour takes folks to two Carr Valley Cheese dairy producers – cows and goats – and then on to the Carr Valley Cheese factory itself, a surprisingly quaint location tucked into the countryside not far from some of its farmer partners. Sample from Carr Valley’s huge variety of offerings, and buy some blocks to bring home – don’t worry, there’s a cooler in the back of the Ridge and Valley bus to keep your cheese purchases cold. As Marty and Teri mention on their website, tours can


Fall 2019 /

get a little “splashy.” These are working farms, with real animals (and, yes, poop). Plan ahead with comfortable clothing and shoes, and an easy-going mindset. After farms and cheese, it’s time to get a taste of another popular Wisconsin commodity: Beer! Back on the bus, we head north to Hillsboro to check out the newly-expanded building that houses Hillsboro Brewing Co. The space – formerly a Carnation Milk factory – is amazing, and covers two massive stories, with a freight elevator in between! The Ridge and Valley Tour includes Hillsboro Brewing Co. pizza and a beer flight as well – our tour meal was still in the previous Hillsboro Brewing Co. location, but it’ll be in the new spot going forward. The pizza, beer, and conversation were a fun way to end the tour!


Oct 11, 12 & 13


Free • 10a-5p

Check for updates on each tour’s details – there might be bonus stops includes (hot cider donuts, anyone?) or changes to the schedule.

Kelly’s Coffee House 196 W Court St, Richland Center, WI • 608-383-1399

Ridge and Valley Tours Richland Center, Wisconsin • 608-630-2452 Also check out Ridge and Valley Tour’s latest offerings: Driftless Weekend Adventures! Info at

Christy’s Sunnyside Bakery and Deli 101 W Court St, Richland Center, WI • 608-649-2253 Continued on next page

Scenic drive yourself tour all within 40 miles of Decorah

563.382.3990 The Preview • Sept 5-Oct 5 Work of Tour Artists on Display

at Impact • 101 W Water St, Decorah OPENING • Thursday • Sept 5 • 7-9p


Hillsboro Brewing Co. Below is a peek at the new digs. 563.382.9309 309 W. Broadway Decorah, Iowa \ Fall 2019



building communities

Family-run Four generations of Bruenings


87 years in business!



Serving communities in Iowa, Minnesota, & Missouri

900 Montgomery St, Decorah, IA 563-382-2933 . DECORAH, IOWA 563-382-8406

Mike Kelly Broker. 34 yrs

Marcia Madrigral Broker-Assoc. 27 yrs

Janice Numedahl Broker-Assoc. 18 yrs

Ron Juve Agent. 45 yrs

Jayme Folkedahl Agent. 7 yrs

Gina Smith Office Asst. 18 yrs

Teamwork from the team that works best!


A.D. German Warehouse 300 S Church St, Richland Center, WI Frank Lloyd Wright left his mark in a variety of places in and around Richland Center (and, of course, at Taliesin just outside of Spring Green – more on that soon). The A.D. German Warehouse in Richland Center is one of most recognizable buildings in town. From 1917 through 1921, Wright worked on the German Warehouse for Albert Dell German. A.D. German was in the wholesale grocery business. Legend has it that Wright’s work on the warehouse was an effort to pay back money Wright owed. A.D. German is primarily known for his relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright. German planned to build the warehouse to house the commodities he traded: flour, sugar, feed, and other grocery items. He announced that the plans were being prepared by the Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and that the building would cost approximately $30,000. The building project came to cost $125,000, though, when construction finally had to be stopped in 1921. The functions other than a wholesale grocery warehouse never came to fruition. German did use the warehouse for wholesale storage of sugar, flour, feed, coal, cement and groceries from 1921 through 1927. The building has four floors, approximately 4,000 sq. ft. each, with an open floor plan on each level. The building has been altered over the years with modifications of the interior to accommodate various occupants. It has housed a gift shop, tearoom, art gallery and the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum. It is the only remaining commercial structure designed by Wright that still exists from this time period. On the National Register of Historic Places, the building is open for tours weekly, Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm. It’s currently managed by the A. D. German Warehouse Conservancy (www., which is fundraising for renovations and to future utilize the building to promote tourism and honor Richland Center and Frank Lloyd Wright history.

Spring Green, Wisconsin

321 W Water St. Decorah, IA • 563-387-0191 • 62

Fall 2019 /

Richland Center to Spring Green is a quick 30-minute drive. Once you pull into town, you’ll see signs directing you to the Downtown District, a charming town of just over 1600 people. Spring Green is just a couple miles north of Taleisin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer home and the next destination on our road trip. But before that, we made a quick stop for a gift for Roxie and lunch at Freddy Valentine’s.

Spring Green General Store

Freddy Valentine’s

Spring Green General Store 137 South Albany St, Spring Green • 608-588-7070 The Spring Green General store is the perfect stop for a tasty breakfast (or lunch or snack) on the porch, and to pick up gifts for friends at home. The cafe features comfort food, coffees, treats, and microbrews. Freddy Valentine’s Public House 134 W Jefferson St, Spring Green • 608-588-0220 Freddy Valentine’s is housed in the historic 1915 Spring Green State Bank. The bar was built repurposing the original marble teller wall and teller drawers were incorporated into the pub tables. The menu features produce from local farmers, plus local beer, wine, and more – it’s a fun spot to grab lunch and plan the next leg of your Wisco Road Trip! As for us, we were heading to Taliesin for the second tour of our weekend. A few miles south down Wisconsin Hwy 23, you’ll turn left at County Road C and pull into the Taliesin Preservation: Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, which houses the Riverview Terrace Café (open through October, serving local and seasonal cuisine prepared by the Food Artisan Immersion Program participants), a gift shop, and the shuttles that will zip you off on your Taliesin tours.

Taliesin 5481 County Rd C, Spring Green 608-588-7900 • Taliesin encapsulates the home, studio, school, and 800-acre estate of Frank Lloyd Wright. Meaning “shining brow” in Welsh, Taliesin sits midway up a bluff overlooking the Wisconsin River. It’s situated in the same spot where Wright’s Lloyd Jones ancestors settled in the 1860s after emigrating from Wales. Taliesin is designated as a National Historic Landmark (1974) and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2019). There are a variety of tours offered – we chose the Highlights Tour, two hours of sights and information at the Hillside Studio and Theatre and the Taliesin residence. Wright’s efficiency in design and his famous efforts at melding buildings and nature can be seen throughout the entire estate – it really is inspiring stuff! Continued on next page

restaurant • 24 taps • three bars • gift shop • brewery tours \ Fall 2019


Beyond the Taliesin residence (at right), Wright designed the Romeo & Juliet Windmill (1896), Hillside Home School (1903), Tan-yDeri (1907), Hillside Studio (1932), Midway Barn (1949), Hillside Theater (1952), and the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center (1967).

If you’ve got a little extra time:

American Players Theatre 5950 Golf Course Rd, Spring Green 608-588-7401 • Rather than heading back to Highway 23, you could plan ahead to see a show at the American Players Theatre. We featured this amazing outdoor amphitheater in the Summer Inspire(d). There are shows through November, outdoors at the Hill Theatre and indoors at the Touchstone Theatre. Be sure to get your tickets before you go – they often sell out! House on the Rock 5754 St Hwy 23, Spring Green • 608-935-3639 Heading back south on Highway 23, if you’ve never stopped to see the House on the Rock (and you’ve got time), you should probably check it out. Built in 1945, it’s a quirky, kinda crazy place that makes you wonder if you’re dreaming or still awake.

Is it’s a warm day, pack a suit, because the swimming beaches at the lakes look pretty fun, and make sure to hike in and check out Stephens’ Falls – the waterfall and the trail beyond are really beautiful. Governor Dodge offers camping, picnicking, hiking, canoeing, biking, hunting, fishing, off-road biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. Learn more at govdodge. We headed west at Dodgeville, Wisconsin, traveling through Fennimore and Prairie du Chien before finally rolling back in to Decorah. There are many more awesome spots to visit on a Wisco Road Trip, so if you end up taking one, let us know what you do!

Governor Dodge State Park 4175 St Hwy 23, Dodgeville Stop for some nature at Governor Dodge State Park, 14 minutes south of Taliesin on Highway 23. Governor Dodge State Park is one of Wisconsin’s largest parks, with 5,350 acres of steep hills, bluffs, and deep valleys, plus two lakes and a waterfall. It’s open year-round from 6 am to 11 pm.

Fall Day Trip! Preston Get Hooked.

Cross off your fall bucket list in Preston, MN!

Plan your visit today – | #GetHookedOnPreston 64

Fall 2019 /

Mark your calendars for


SEPT 21: Joseph Hall – Elvis: Rock N’ Remember OCT 12: The Whitesidewalls OCT 24: A Neil Diamond Tribute NOV 9: Talent Showcase for Epilepsy Awareness

Showing movies nightly at 7 pm and a Sunday matinee at 2 pm

Rent the Opera House for large events or Champlin Hall for reunions, showers & more.

Visit or call 563-547-1066 for details

Stephens’ Falls is a lovely hike – make sure you’re ready for some big, rocky steps.

DOING A MID-WISCO ROAD TRIP THIS FALL? MARK YOUR CALENDARS TO WORK IN SOME FUN EVENTS: Vernon County Fair – September 11-15 - Viroqua Driftless Area Art Fest – September 21-22 – Soldiers Grove Fall Art Tour – October 18-20 – Visit art studios from Mineral Point to Baraboo

Tip 1:

Pack a cooler to keep your Wisco purchases – beer, cheese, WiscoPop!, etc. – cool!

Tip 2:

Lodging can get a little scarce in this neck of the woods. Plan ahead for your trip, and make sure to check Airbnb, VRBO, and other “out of the ordinary” overnight spots to find something that suits you best. We stayed at Ridge and Valley Tour’s Airbnb just outside of Richland Center – it was a comfy, cute, and clean spot to spend a couple of nights, and it was really fun to have extra time to chat with Marty and Teri Richards on their lovely deck.


l h a d e k l o F ice Serv

Pick up & delivery available 563-382-4010 563-380-5851

We’ll take care of it!


Artistry in Cabinetry since 1983

Kitchens Home offices Bars Entertainment centers Fireplace mantles Cabinets & shelving Remodeling Finished carpentry

Visit my new website! 563-382-4750

Aryn Henning Nichols loves a good Wisconsin Road Trip – starting with her first one with Benji Nichols back in 2006 when they first met! She looks forward to many more in the future (and meeting up with Marty and Teri Richards again too)! \ Fall 2019



Evelyn Falck Schnitzler

Interviewed by Benji Nichols

At the age of 90, Evelyn Falck Schnitzler still actively stitches quilts and welcomes guests into her home in Decorah. Growing up on a farm near Bluffton, Iowa, Evelyn recalls her formative years doing chores morning and evening with her parents (Verna and Fred) while going to school through eighth grade at the Bluffton #3 Schoolhouse. Recalling a life that stretches from her German immigrant grandparents to a home and school that preceded indoor plumbing to a multi-generational family farm, Evelyn learned the value of hard work, patience, and determination. She remembers her Mother sewing clothes for the family (many from cloth feed sacks), and preserving most of their own vegetables and meat on the farm. Her experiences of growing up in a one-room schoolhouse included students carrying water from the nearby farm each morning, a good walk to and from school each day across the country side, and catching a ride by 6 am many days to get to High School. She would go on to become a teacher in the rural one room schools of Northern Winneshiek County before marrying her husband John (Schnitzler) in 1950, and raising their four kids on the farm; John, Jim, Joel, and Jan – “Short first names, with a long last name!” Evelyn and John lived and worked together on the family farm through 2008, when John went into the nursing home, and Evelyn later moved to town. While life has changed a lot since the “olden days,” Evelyn’s life is clearly rich in friends, family, sewing projects, and memories of growing up in the rural Midwest! What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? My Grandma always used to say “A stitch in time saves nine” – when you got a hole in your sock you’d better get it patched, we didn’t just run to town and get a new pair. What did you want to be when you grew up? I thought first I might want to go into nursing. During my sophomore year we had biology class, and we had to dissect a cat – that finished that for me! What do/did you do? During my senior year of High School at Decorah, there was a shortage of elementary teachers, and they were giving limited elementary certificates if you went to college that summer. I did that at Luther, and started teaching the next year. I went back to school again in the summer and kept teaching until 1950 when John and I were married and lived on the farm. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? My sewing machine with lots of fabric, fruit to eat, and my coffee pot! Try to describe yourself in one sentence. From granddaughter Jess (Schnitzler) Rediske: A special Granny who loves coffee, quilting, flowers and visiting with anyone who will listen. If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Dark Chocolate. Tell us about… Your wedding day. John and I were married in June of 1950, and we had our reception in the basement of the Orleans Lutheran Church near Ridgeway.

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Your first job. During High School I worked at the Woolworth Dime Store after school and on Saturdays. Then I went on to teach in the country schools after high school until John and I were married. Your favorite memory. I remember my Mother had a treadle sewing machine – when she’d go out to the barn to help my Dad she’d always say, “Now don’t touch that sewing machine!” Of course, as soon as she’d go out – we’d take pieces of newspaper and sew on them – we’d sew little patterns and circles, but when we knew she’d be coming back to the house we’d throw the newspapers in the (wood) stove! My Grandma sewed – she made quilts, and my Mom sewed all our clothes, and when we started 4-H we would sew projects, and I think the first quilt I made was when our son John was born. Life has changed a lot since then, but so many good memories.

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