Travel With Sara

An Adventure Around Every Corner


Decorah Is All About The Food

Decorah, Iowa is all about the food. From the farm to table concept to the farmer in the field, this community is a progressive community when it comes to farm to table meals. It all starts at the Oneota Food Coop. Here is where you will find before school cooking classes, yes, you read that right! How many communities offer cooking classes as a before school program? In my home area, none. The Oneota Food Coop receives much of its fresh produce from local growers, which in turn introduces kids to the farm to table concept.

We dined at La Rana and when my plate appeared, my jaw dropped!

La Rana

This was as delicious as it looks. The green beans were extra fresh, crisp and crunchy. They were drizzled in garlic butter and partnered with the meat that I had, it was the ideal farm to table meal. The best part about this meal was the fact that I was able to meet the farmer that grew these green beans, the next day.

Meet Erik of Patchwork Green Farm. Erik grew the green beans that I had enjoyed for supper. I thought it was pretty neat to see where he grew what I had eaten the evening before. He and his family grow more than 200 varieties of annual vegetables on their five acres of annual vegetable garden production.
Patchwork Green Farm

Erik of Patchwork Green Farm markets his produce to local restaurants and folks in Winneshiek County. We visited the Winneshiek Farmer’s Market in Decorah and we saw Erik on a busy Wednesday afternoon with his produce for sale at the market.

Farmers Market

As with all farmer’s markets, depending on the season, is what you will find available for purchase. There are typically 40 vendors on site and it’s not uncommon to have a musician or two performing. Decorah, Iowa showed me that the farm to table concept is thriving and as far as I can see, this concept is only going to get bigger and better. I’d love to see other communities show the enthusiasm and embrace the farm to table concept, as Decorah has.

Stay tuned.. my visit to Decorah was a whirlwind tour and featured a lot of fun! From the world famous Whippy Dip to the historic Winneshiek Hotel, I’ve got more to share in the following weeks. I’m curious, how often do you frequent your local farmer’s market, if you have one?

*Thank you to Visit Decorah, Winneshiek County and Travel Iowa for organizing such a wonderful Fall fam/foodie tour of Decorah.


Fall Family Fun In Decorah, Iowa

Decorah is located in North Eastern Iowa and is the perfect destination for families, especially in the Fall. Iowa is not traditionally known for apples, but let me tell you;  the apple orchards and pumpkin patches are worth a visit in the Fall. Families of all ages will appreciate what Decorah has to offer.

Pinter’s Gardens and Pumpkins

Pinter’s, located West of Decorah on Highway 9, offers family activities for kids of all ages, as well as an abundant supply of pumpkins to choose from. If you are wanting that “different” pumpkin, this is your go to place.

Pinters Pumpkins

Family activities include:

Wagon Rides

Corn Maze

Corn Box

Corn Box


Pumpkin Bowling

Farm Animals

And for those that enjoy shopping and dining, Pinter’s has you covered! From fudge that is to drool for, to chicken croissant salad sandwiches, meal time is tasty at Pinter’s. Looking for that unique gift for someone? The gift shop has several fun gardening accessories as well as awesome home décor that will make the perfect gift.

The Fall 2015 schedule can be found here. Be sure to follow Pinter’s on Facebook, to stay up to date with what’s going on all year around. If you don’t have time to squeeze in a visit for Fall 2015, plan now to visit in 2016, as your kids will thank you.

Peake Orchards

Peake Orchards is located 319 North Line Drive, near Waukon, Iowa 52172. Peake Orchards (we are now talking apples) is a family owned orchard that began in 1979. You can find the good folks of Peake Orchards at the Local Farmer’s Market in Decorah on Saturdays from 8:00 – 11:00 am and then again on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:00 pm. Want to visit the orchard?  I can guarantee you that a Fall drive in the Decorah area in October is one of the best drives you will find in the whole state of Iowa.The apple trees were full on the day I visited and I must say that those Honeycrisp apples are mighty fine!

apples at peakes

The area is peppered with rolling hills and all the bright colors that Fall has to offer. The shop and orchard are open to guests on Saturdays from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays from Noon- 5:00 pm. And don’t be surprised if you find a pumpkin or two in their pumpkin patch. Peake Orchards is family friendly and a fun place to see how farmers are growing food that we put on our tables, day in and day out.

Here’s a little insight as to how the apples are sorted at Peake’s Orchard.

Decorah,Iowa is a great place to fall in love with all that Fall has to offer. Have you and your family explored Iowa this Fall? If not, I hope you are inspired to check out all that Decorah has to offer.

*Thank you to Visit Decorah, Winneshiek County and Travel Iowa for organizing such a wonderful Fall fam/foodie tour of Decorah.


Midwest Travel Chat: October 7, 2015 (Roundup of Destinations) 11 am- Noon (cst)

It’s hard to believe that the Walking Tourists and I have hosted the Midwest Travel Chat for 10 months now. Our year kicked off in January, when we chatted with Clear Lake, Iowa. From there on out, our chats grew and have only gotten bigger and better. October’s Midwest Travel Chat  will feature a round up of destinations that we have chatted about in 2015. Here’s a little recap of how our first travel chat went.

On October 7th we will be talking about Clear Lake, IowaCape Girardeau, Missouri Springfield, IllinoisNorth Platte, NebraskaLincoln, NebraskaChicago, IllinoisRacine, Wisconsin, Hendricks County, Indiana- and St. Joseph, Missouri.

Each of these destinations have had a whirlwind of a 2015 travel season and it has been fun to be a part of it. We want to highlight some of the fun that these destinations brought to families the past few months, but we also want to showcase what’s coming up in each of these destinations.


The Midwest is filled with all sorts of interesting and family fun places to explore. We enjoy sharing these destinations with you and hope that you will be inspired to visit and explore after our Midwest Travel Chat on October 7th.


And there are prizes:

  • Choose Chicago is giving away one $100 Gift Certificate to Paris Club Bistro 
  • Springfield, Illinois is giving away one swag bag filled with all sorts of travel goodies featuring Springfield
  •  Clear Lake, Iowa- ($119.99 value) to one Twitter chat participant
     2 Tickets to Sara Evans Dec 5th, 2015 ($70 Value from Surf Ballroom)
     Christmas themed gift bundle ($49.99 combined value from CL Chamber)
     Limited Edition Christmas by the Lake historical ornament
     Santa House historical ornament
     Red Clear Lake Tote Bag
  • Travel With Sara is giving away one $25 Visa Gift Card
  • Hendricks County is giving away a swag bag filled with fun things from Hendricks County
  • Best Western Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska is giving away one free nights stay (blackout dates do apply)
  • North Platte Nebraska is giving away a Canteen book package – the Once Upon a Town book by Bob Greene and the North Platte Canteen book by James Reisdorf

If you are new to Twitter Chats. Here’s a helpful step by step guide on how to participate.

WHO: Hosts The Walking Tourists and Travel With Sara (Follow on Twitter)

WHEN: Wed. October 7, 2015 11 am- Noon (CST)

WHAT: Monthly Midwest Travel Chat

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Follow the Hashtag #MWTravel

To be eligible to win prizes, you must have at least one tweet during the hour 11 am- Noon (CST) with the hashtag #MWTravel.

Thank you to all of the destinations that have partnered with us these first few months. It has been fun learning about all the hidden treasures that the Midwest has to offer.

Future Midwest Travel Chats include the following destinations:

November 2015: Omaha, Nebraska

December 2015: Kansas City, Missouri

January 2016: Clear Lake, Iowa

If you would like to partner with us to be featured in one of the chats in 2016, leave us a comment on this post and we can make it happen.




Tips For Exploring Loveland, Colorado

Loveland, Colorado sits at the base of the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado. I will admit it, we had never stopped to explore Loveland until this past summer. Our family trips to Rocky Mountain National Park always included a drive through Loveland and it did not take long to realize that we missed out.

Loveland Sculpture 5

Loveland is an art enthusiast’s paradise. In Loveland you will find several stunning sculptures scattered throughout the community.From the Benson Park Sculpture Garden to Main Street, these sculptures will inspire you.

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Loveland’s downtown shopping district is home to a nice selection of boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries. There were also coffee shops where local folks seemed to gather. Loveland, Colorado had a hometown feel that we found very welcoming.

We found lunch in Henry’s Pub and talk about lunch! Here’s a glimpse at my meal.

Sandwich at Henrys Pub


From local craft beers to sandwiches to fish & chips, the menu at Henry’s Pub was outstanding. Henry’s Pub also prides itself on the fact that they are a Farm to Table supporter. Local favorites can be found on the menu. You will find local brews to local honey smoked salmon. Henry’s Pub is a great place to experience the “local” taste that Loveland, Colorado has to offer.

Several other activities await you in Loveland, Colorado. There are several outlet malls in the area for the shopping enthusiast. Museum lovers will also appreciate The Loveland Museum & Gallery. Make note: Closed on Monday. They are open on the 2nd Friday of the month from 6-9 pm.

Bicyclists will enjoy the Loveland Recreation Trail which encircles the “Gateway to the Rockies,” offering views of the mountains, while it follows the Big Thompson River. Winter fans will enjoy the trail while on cross country skis. Loveland is a city that offers all four seasons, giving residents and visitors a nice variety of outdoor activities.

And of course, my suggestion would be to stay in Loveland for a couple nights and then venture to Rocky Mountain National Park.Or, if you prefer staying away from the hustle and bustle of Estes Park, why not stay in Loveland while you spend your days in Rocky Mountain National Park? It’s a short, beautiful drive, that encompasses maybe a full 30 minutes of your day, each way.The drive through Big Thompson Canyon to get to Estes Park is a destination all of its own. And once you get through the Big Thompson Canyon, paradise awaits!



So… tell me. Have you spent much time in Loveland, Colorado? If so, what did you do?






Reasons Why You Need To Stroll Down Main Street In Galena, Ilinois

There are several reasons why you need to stroll down main street in Galena, Illinois. Reason #1 is the fact that it is a city of truly amazing architecture. Once you drive through the gate to enter the town of Galena, you are immediately taken back to a quieter time. Did you know that Galena, Illinois has the distinction of being named “The Best Main Street In The Midwest” by Midwest Living Magazine? And after the architecture, it’s truly all about the food!

Myself and Donna of visited Galena on a recent afternoon. There was rain and then there was sun, but we had a blast going from store to store. And you can also tell by the number of cars on the street, that a little rain does not keep people from exploring Main Street in Galena, Illinois.

Sara and Donna in Galena

We visited some amazing shops and due to the fact that it was raining, each time we stepped outdoors, our view was a little different. We happened upon a shop that carried amazing caramel apples and more. During our visit the employees were stirring up a batch of caramel for caramel apples. And let me tell you, the aroma in Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was mouth watering and then some.

Stirring Caramel at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

As you can tell, it was not difficult to begin eating our way down Main Street in Galena, Illinois. Once we left the candy store, we stumbled on a few more candy stores and then found the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, have you been? This is your all American Ice Cream Shop! The ice cream and atmosphere made this a “wow” stop. We could also hear several people say, “Last time I was here I ordered such and such.” This also told us that many people return here year after year.

Ice Cream Shop In Galena

We continued to find unique and fun shops. Rootbeer Revelry was intriguing and fun to visit. If you are a rootbeer enthusiast, this is your store.

Rootbeer Store

And then we stumbled upon the Great American Popcorn Store – stay tuned… more to come! Main Street Galena is the perfect place to stroll, shop and meet new people. We drove back down to Main Street in Galena around sunset and we both were excited to see this view.

Galena evening

Doesn’t this view reflect a true American Main Street? Galena, Illinois was a fun and very charming place to visit. I have more to share on this historic town in the Midwest, so stay tuned, as there is much more to come.



Omaha Is a Foodie Lover’s Paradise

On a recent visit to Omaha I was able to experience food in a whole new way. I had never participated in any type of foodie tour and boy, was I delighted in what the Omaha Culinary Tours puts together for participants. If you enjoy tea, steak, chocolate or even pizza- they have a tour for you! A thank you to the Omaha Visitors Bureau for hosting and the Omaha Culinary Tours for providing such an awesome dining experience. If there is one thing I learned from my visit, it’s the fact that Omaha is a foodie lover’s paradise.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Steak House Tour and the Orpheum Theater District Food Tour. Having never been on a foodie tour, it was fun to learn about the history of the restaurants we visited and of course, sampling the awesome food that they all had to offer. Our steak house tour began at Cascio’s Steakhouse and then to The Original Johnny’s Cafe.

Johnny's Cafe

From there we ventured to Piccolo Pete’s and finished up our evening at Gorat’s.

The neat thing about this tour was that each steakhouse had it’s own flavor and feel. What surprised me the most was how big most of these were, in regards to square footage. Several different gatherings can be held in these steakhouses at the same time and you would still feel like you had a private seating area. And the steak, well, let’s just say that they all tasted out of this world. I will admit it- I did have a favorite and it was the steak from Gorat’s.

Gorat's Steakhouse

You may have heard of Gorat’s, as this is where Warren Buffet likes to dine on a regular basis. And no, he was not in his usual chair while we were dining.

The Orpheum Theater District Food Tour was unique, as this tour takes you through an area of Omaha that has recently been revived. This Omaha Culinary Tour was over the noon hour, whereas our steak tour was during the evening hour.

It was on the Orpheum Theater District Food Tour that I was introduced to the amazing tea at The Tea Smith, in the Old Market area in Omaha. The Kitchen Table really wowed me! I could sit in an area that look likes this every single day.

Kitchen Table Seating

The Kitchen Table markets themselves as real food, made from scratch with food from local producers. Therefore, the menu does change. I loved the energy that the young couple had that owns the Kitchen Table. Their enthusiasm for food and their customers is clear! I cannot wait to make a return visit to the Kitchen Table in Omaha.
The Kitchen Table

And then there was dessert! These cupcakes from Bliss were just blissful. They were just right, not too sugary and not too sweet- amazingly mouth watering.

Bliss Cupcakes


Bliss Cupcakes can be found in the Old Market in Aroma’s Coffee Shop, the two are combined. And again, the owner is young and enthusiastic about her products! I loved the energy and enthusiasm that all of the restaurant owners shared on the Omaha Culinary Tour.

These were the highlights of the Omaha Culinary Tours that I participated in. Keep in mind, each tour is unique and offers different stops along the way. I loved the variety and the ability to talk to restaurant owners and learn of their passions. Owning a restaurant is hard work and it was fun to see the passion that these restaurant owners have as they go about their day.

Have you been on a foodie tour? If so, I’d love to hear about it!



Family Fun Weekend In Omaha: Omaha Zoo and Omaha Children’s Museum

Omaha is a great town to enjoy a weekend with your family.The Henry Doorly Omaha Zoo is home to many beautiful animals and family friendly activities. I recently visited the Omaha Zoo and I loved the fact that I could get right up close to a camel, beautiful butterfly and even a baby monkey. How cool is that?


The Omaha Zoo has a terrain that is hilly and can be rough on a hot day. And as you know, if you visit Omaha in the summer, it can be a cooker. The Omaha Zoo is open all year long and with so many exhibits throughout, you will find something to do, no matter what time of year you visit. The train is a nice way to get you from one area of the zoo to another.


Make note: The train ride is not included in your zoo admission price.

There is a lot of construction going on right now at the Omaha Zoo. The African Grasslands are slated to be completed in 2017. This $73 million/ 28 acre project will be amazing, once completed. Even with this construction going on, there is still a LOT to see at the Omaha Zoo.

The Butterfly Butterfly Pavillion is truly one of a kind. From butterflies to moths, and spiders there is something her to interest you. The waterfalls add beauty and a little sound to what would otherwise be a fairly quiet pavillion.


The Hubbard Orangutan Forest is where you will find orangutan and more. There are orangutans inside and outdoors. This baby posed for me- can you believe it?

Baby Orangutan

One tip when visiting any zoo is to pay attention to the gates and doors that are all around. They are placed in areas for your safety. This beautiful African lion shows why visitors need to stay the distance.

Lion Teeth


A children’s petting zoo and carousel rides are also available for families to use. Several animal encounters are also available throughout the day. Be sure to check your events calendar upon entering the zoo to confirm the time of the animal encounter you wish to experience.

The best part of visiting Omaha is that I was with three of my blogging friends! Meet Mary of Farm Girl Cookn’ and Joy of Living Life Joyfully. 

North Iowa Bloggers at Omaha Zoo

I have never visited the Omaha Children’s Museum, but I can tell you that I have heard awesome things about it. I have one Family Admission Pass to give away. The pass admits up to four people for one visit. Enter through the Rafflecopter form today. Plan a visit to Omaha today- your family will thank you!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Thank you to Visit Omaha for hosting us in Omaha along with our visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo.





The Lighthouses of Door County

The lighthouses of Door County are truly something special. While in Door County, it is possible to see all of the lighthouses, but on my recent visit I was on a rather tight schedule and saw most of them. I can’t wait to return to see the ones that I missed.

The Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is located in Peninsula State Park. You do have to pay entrance fees to the park, which are worth paying. The drive to the lighthouse is also stunning, so be sure to make time to stop along the way to take in the view. Once you arrive, stroll around the grounds and take it all in.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse


Sturgeon Bay is home to this beautiful red lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is not visible from the parking area, so pay attention to the signage in the area. You can walk out near the lighthouse, but you cannot walk next to it. The walkway out to the lighthouse itself is a walk worth taking.

walkway to lighthouse

The stroll out to the tip here was worth the walk. Once out near the end, a view of the beautiful red Sturgeon Bay Lighthouse was right there!

Red lighthouse in Door County

The Cana Island Lighthouse is located on an island that you walk to. The grounds on Cana Island are worth the visit in themselves.

Cana Island Lighthouse Grounds

The Cana Island Lighthouse is home to 97 steps that will take you to the top. I did not climb to the top on the day of my visit, as it was foggy and drizzly. I would definitely make the climb, the next time I go back to the Cana Island Lighthouse. Here’s the view of the lighthouse from the bay side.

Cana Island Lighthouse

There’s a lot of history at the Cana Island Lighthouse, as the lighthouse keeper’s home is on site, with a lot of historical features. The oil house is also on site, along with more than 8 acres to explore.

So, tell me, have you visited the lighthouses of Door County? I’m ready to go back and explore all that Door County has to offer. There’s truly a treasure around every corner in Wisconsin’s Door County. A lighthouse along the way, just makes the visit all the better. Check out the Door County Visitor Guide to help you plan your visit to this majestic Midwest travel destination.


Best Western Plus Mid Nebraska Inn & Suites: Kearney, Nebraska

Traveling the I-80 Corridor can seem long and daunting, unless you make the time to get off of I-80. Kearney, Nebraska is a fabulous place to make one of several pit stops! In Kearney, you can experience Classic Cars and The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, along with a cozy place to kick your feet up for the evening.

The Best Western Plus Mid Nebraska Inn & Suites offers a clean, quiet family friendly lodging experience. The swimming pool area offered seating, as well as a place to swim. The other nice thing about the Best Western Plus in Kearney, is the location. It is right off I-80 on Exit 272. Any hotel that offers a convenient location and is quiet, makes for a perfect pit stop while traveling along a busy corridor.

Pool at Best Western

The lobby offered a family friendly seating area as well as a nice selection of travel brochures. The hotel staff was also very knowledgeable of the times that attractions opened and closed in the area. Be sure to check out the travel brochures, as there was a nice selection of what to do in the area. A hot breakfast was also provided in the morning in a comfortable setting.

Gathering area at Best Western


A must experience while in Kearney is the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument. Before you head into the actual museum, you will be greeted with a little someone from the past!

Archway Monument


Here you will experience how many people traveled West across the United States. The Archway Museum pays tribute to the pioneers that carried their belongings in covered wagons as they ventured West. One thing that I did not realize is the fact that the Archway Museum was designed to resemble a Nebraska sunset. The stainless steel exterior was specifically treated using electricity charged acid to create the yellow, oranges and reds to tie the exterior color to the region.

It’s not everyday that you can travel down an Interstate Highway with a view like this. This is what the Archway Museum looks like while approaching it on I-80.

Museum Across Road

Are you curious? Be sure to view the Kearney online visitors guide and start planning a visit to Kearney, Nebraska, as you will be glad you did!

*Thank you to the Kearney CVB for hosting us while we were in the area.


Smokin Yard’s BBQ Is A Must While Traveling I-70 West Of Denver In Idaho Springs, Colorado

When you think of BBQ, do you think of Idaho Springs, Colorado? Maybe yes or maybe no. Well, let me tell you this- Idaho Springs, Colorado is home to some of the best BBQ I have ever had! We took a little day trip from Estes Park to drive up Mt. Evans and stumbled upon an awesome BBQ joint in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Smokin Yard’s BBQ was more than we anticipated it could possibly be. When it comes to BBQ, I do think we are kind of picky, so this one scores big for us!

We made our drive up Mt. Evans and stumbled upon Smokin Yard’s BBQ on the way back to Estes Park in Idaho Springs. It was on, what we would call, the main drag in Idaho Springs. When you see this pig… you have landed at Smokin Yard’s BBQ!

Smokin Yard's BBQ pig

Smokin Yard’s BBQ had outdoor and indoor dining. The weather was kind of cool and cloudy and having returned from our drive to the top of Mt. Evans, indoor seating was a good fit for us. We were greeted promptly for seating, given menus and within a few minutes, our order was placed.

Not too long after we order this arrived!

Smokin Yard's BBQ sandwich

Along with this!

Smokin Yard's BBQ chicken

The inside was simple and if we had seriously just came off of a hiking trail, we would have felt comfortable. The atmosphere was welcoming, friendly and anytime we can have good food to accompany a casual dining experience, we are happy campers.

Smokin Yard's BBQ Dining

Curious as to how to fit this into your Colorado vacation? If you are traveling on I-70 West of Denver, you will easily find Idaho Springs. Plan a day trip from Estes Park, as we did, to drive up Mt. Evans and you will find yourself on I-70 with an exit to Idaho Springs. And if you need a little more encouragement, how about a view like this while driving up Mt. Evans?

Mt. Evans Drive

Have you visited Idaho Springs, Colorado? I’d love to hear about your visit, because I will definitely go back for BBQ at Smokin Yard’s BBQ!