This past weekend my parents and I headed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit with my Aunt Lorene, Uncle Ken and little cousin Zach, My grandparents happened to be driving home from Arizona and joined us there too. Iowa is one of those places that you think corn fields and tractors and not much else. At least that’s what I used to think. My aunt and uncle have introduced me to the fun side of Iowa-wineries, little shops and food. And, of course, my family! When we got in we made our way over to the Czech museum. My mom’s side of the family is Czech and therefore holds a special place in my heart. Czech food, heritage, ornaments, antiques and a love for not letting anything go to waste. Back in 2008, the Czech museum was under water when Cedar Rapids flooded. It was moved from its old location to higher ground and restored. Below is a beautiful crystal chandelier in the museum that was underwater in the flood.
Our next stop was NewBo market, an adorable indoor market with crafts, food, jewelry and beer. We bought a few different dips and veggies for our lunch the next day. Then, those of old enough to partake, tasted a few different beers before settling on one to enjoy inside. I chose a wonderful brown ale. Delicious.
Poor little cousin was the only one not able to join in. At least he makes up for his age in height. Kid is tall.
We went to a little bar/restaurant in Czech Village for dinner after roaming some antique shops in the area. No pictures but trust me when I say the food was good. Mostly traditional Czech food in a little bar was quite interesting. I got a mushroom tart with chicken and a paprika sauce with dumplings and sauerkraut.
Then next day started off with wine tasting at Cedar Ridge Winery. Zach had driver’s ed so he joined us at the second place we went. I had a few different whites and reds and tried 2 of their hard liquors. Both of which were very strong, but tasty. I’ll stick to my wine over plain hard liquor though.
We headed home to enjoy the sunshine and have some lunch out on the patio. Lunch was a spread of veggies, dips and chips. We had hummus, guacamole, two creamy based dips and salsa. Below is my grandma and grandpa with the spread.
Once we had our fill, the boy headed out to grab Zach from driver’s ed while the girls went and got Zach an apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Since he couldn’t partake in all of the drinking fun, we figured we could make the pit stop and pick him up something fun to eat while we tasted wines. We then headed to my favorite winery in Iowa that I have tried, Fireside Winery. It’s beautiful and the wines are awesome. Each family/pair got a bottle of wine to enjoy and we drank it outside with some snacks (cheese plate, brie apple dip, and bread) while listening to live music and enjoying the beautiful weather. It was about 72 and sunny. The perfect weather in my opinion.
The winery re-corks your wine for free if you don’t finish it there which is awesome because the three of us didn’t feel like drinking an entire bottle of wine at 1pm on a Sunday. We drank about half and re-corked the rest to enjoy at home. And, because we never eat enough food, we headed home to make a real meal for dinner. We had pork chops, asparagus and my cheesy mashed cauliflower which got rave reviews from almost everyone.
I didn’t even come close to finishing this plate. My stomach was still full from our lunch snacks and drink snacks throughout the day. But those pork chops were holy cow amazing. My uncle cooked them on the grill with this awesome seasoning blend. I can’t remember what it was called but I was a fan. We ended the night watching celebrity apprentice. I’d never watched before and I don’t think I would watch another episode but we had fun laughing at it.
Monday brought work/school for the Iowa residents. Grandma and Grandpa took my other cousin out for breakfast at University of Iowa. Mom, dad, and I headed back to Czech village for baked goods to bring home then went to Amana colonies to shop around. No pics but the weather was great.
Now I am back at home ready to start packing for Germany! Alex and I leave for Germany on this Friday. So, expect me to disappear for about 10-12 days come Friday. I’ll be travelling. Don’t worry. I’ll take a bunch of pictures.
What trips have you been on lately? Any family fun trips?