Shopping and Discovering New Things in the Small Towns in Iowa

I like to drive around in the small towns in Iowa and shop at there stores. I have discovered a lot of great treasures in the small towns in Iowa over the years. I like to shop at the hardware stores and buy tools, pyrex dishes, garden equipment, lawn mowers, dehumidifiers, appliances and much more. I like the fact that their stores are not crowded and that you get service after the sell.

I have purchased a lot of furniture at family owned furniture stores for my rental properties over the years and for my home. I have found wonderful recliners, bedroom sets, couches, lamps and much more. I have stopped at carpet stores also and purchased their end rolls of carpet and beautiful wood flooring.

Northwood, Iowa

I drove around on the rural roads in Northwood, Iowa the other day and I discovered a lot of Amish  and Mennonite homes. I discovered a wonderful Greenhouse owned by a Mennonite family. They had wonderful mums, trees, garden supplies and more. I purchased some Deer stay away powder and I will be back later on for some of their mum plants. I also discovered a Mennonite family that had tomatoes and farm fresh brown eggs for sale. I purchased two dozen of her wonderful looking brown eggs. I drove down the road further and I saw an Amish man headed to the field with his two young sons.

St.Ansgar, Iowa

I like to shop at Home Sweet Home in St. Ansgar, Iowa. I have purchased wonderful blankets, cards, dish clothes, baking dishes, Christmas cards, home decor and more. They have a lovely and clean store and they are very friendly and accommodating to all of your needs and wants. I like the local hardware store in town. I have eaten at The Blue Belle Inn over the years and I have also stayed at their Inn. The rooms are nicely appointed and their food is excellent. I like to look at the white albino deer that is displayed in a glass building in town.

Clear Lake, Iowa

I love shopping at Larson’s, Wilcox Furniture, Ralhpene’s, The Red Geranium and eating at the wonderful restaurants in Clear lake, Iowa. All of the stores have very friendly and  accommodating employees. It is very easy maneuvering around downtown Clear lake, Iowa. I love to sit next to the Lake and watch the boats on the water. It is fun just to go for a walk while you are spending your day at Clear lake, Iowa. There are many parks to see and drive through.

Kalona, Iowa

I am very familiar with Kalona, Iowa. I love eating at the Tuscan Moon Restaurant  that features Italian food in Kalona as their food is always cooked to perfection. Kalona is an Amish and Mennonite community. I love to see the horse and buggies pull up to the stores. The Amish and Mennonites are excellent cooks and bakers. I was invited to a Mennonite home that served food to a group of eight or more and I must say that that was the best meal I have ever eaten in my entire life.

Keosauqua, Iowa

Keosauqua is located on the big bend of the Des Moines River in southeastern, Iowa. The towns in the area are called the villages of Van Buren County. The Hotel Manning is a very historical hotel. I have stay at the Hotel Manning and I was impressed with the historical architecture of the building. I loved the room and their food was excellent. The oldest court house in Iowa is located here and was built in 1843 it is a must see for everyone. The Lacey Keosauqua State Park is a wonderful and beautiful park to drive through. I would recommend going to all of the villages of Van Buren County for the historical significance.

Various Small Towns In Iowa

I have found wonderful treasures in Pella, Vinton, New Hampton, Farmington, Bonaparte, Bentonsport, Hampton, Traer and other various small towns in Iowa. Always remember there are still some stores left in the small towns across Iowa where you will find a wonderful treasure of your own.

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Keep Up Your Pace In Life

The pace of life refers to the speed of which changes and events happen in life. If you live in a big city you probably live a fast paced life. Small towns let you live the pace of life that you prefer to live. I like to keep up with a group and I am usually in front with the leader of the pack.

Covid 19 Has Changed Our Pace in Life

All of us have had to live with all the changes that Covid 19 has added to our daily living. Covid 19 is not a change in our daily routine that any of us saw coming. In march our lives changed drastically with the pandemic. All of us have to social distance and wear our mask if we want to get back to our old familiar pace in life.

Keep Up Your Pace While Traveling

I like to travel and keep up my pace with the rest of my tour group. I like to walk by the tour guide so I can hear everything that she is telling me about the area that we are looking at. I love to hear the history of the towns and what crops they raise in the area and why the people settled in that particular area. I especially loved my European travels and seeing where my relatives came from and walking down the same streets that they walked down so many years ago.

Surround Yourself With people That Have The Same Pace As You

I had a Personal Pace Toro lawn mower at one time and I loved that mower because it went as fast as I walked. The mower and I had the same pace. I went on one tour and the ladies roommate would always be the last one on the bus and she was always the first one on the bus in the morning. She kept apologizing for her roommate. One day she did not show up for 20 minutes and we had a full schedule of tours that day and the bus driver took off without her. She had to catch a train to get back with our group again. Our tour guide had told our group that we would have to catch a train if we were very late. She kept on being late but she did not have the ability to take over the pace of our entire group.

Keeping Your Pace In Life Is Very Important

Do not be late for appointments as it slows down everyone’s pace that comes after you on that day. Being on time is very important so the pace of life moves along efficiently and smoothly. Business people do not have time to wait around for you. Always think of other people and not only yourself. We want to all keep up our pace in life to the best of our ability. We all have a number of things that we have to get completed in one day. Do not be the one person that breaks another persons pace in life.

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Short Road Trips

I like taking short road trips. I like to go to the small towns in my area that I have not been to for some time. It is interesting to see how they have changed so very much over the years. Most of the meat lockers in the small towns are out of business and the family owned grocery stores are few and far between. The old jewelry stores and small furniture stores, clothing and private family shoe stores are no more. I miss the service of the family owned stores from days gone by. I loved to visit with the owners of the stores and ask them what they might be getting in soon that I might be interested in buying shortly. The service of the department stores was top notch and the clerk would bring clothes to you to try on. I miss all of the small town malt shops that have gone out of business. I miss the old TV sales and repair stores. Unfortunately when a TV stops working now you throw it away and buy a new one. It is too bad that we are a throw away society.

I am thrilled when I revisit a small town store that is about the same as it was years ago. Some of the old hardware stores are still in business and they are very glad to help you with all of your needs. I loved to go to the old five and dime stores. Sadly all of them went out of business when I was about 10 years old. There is still an A & W in Forest City, Iowa. Stan’s Drive – in is still going strong in Osage, Iowa.  I still shop at a family owned appliance and furniture store in my area and they both offer excellent service. My hometown still has a family owned shoe store that is wonderful. Kalona, Iowa still has many of the stores that I grew up with and loved going to. Some of the small towns still have the same restaurants that I ate at as a child and there food is just as I always remembered it.

You can discover a lot of new and interesting things and places on a short road trip. I like to discover new parks to walk in and explore and new restaurants to eat at. Short road trips get you out of the house and back home again in just one day. You may discover a candy shop that sells the kind of candy you ate as a child or a toy you had years ago that will bring back fond memories to melt your heart. Get out and take a short road trip and see what you will find and discover today. You will be amazed by things that have stood still in time in the fast paced world that we live in today. With change comes progress and when some things remain the same we feel at peace and secure and young at heart again.


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Transporting Your Cat Safely For Travel And Vet Visits

I want a sturdy animal carrier when I transport my cats. I prefer a solid one with a lid on the top as well as a door on the side of the carrier. With a lid and a door on the carrier it makes it so much easier to put your cat in the carrier and take your cat our safely.

I have noticed people trying to hang on to their cat that is just wrapped up in a towel while waiting outside of the Vets office. An upset and nervous cat that is not in a carrier can end in disaster quickly. My Vet told me that a party had come to his office with their cat in a towel and a Semi drove by and happened to honk his horn and their cat bolted out of their arms and ran onto the busy Hi – Way and was run over by a car. What a tragic and horrific experience and it could have been prevented by having their cat in a cat carrier.

A cage that comes to part easily is good at the Vets office. Some of my cats are nervous beyond nervous at the Vets office. Having a cage that comes to part quickly makes it safe for your Vet to handle your cat without him getting bit or scratched up. My Vet moves the lid down about part way and administers their shots. Trying to pulled a scared cat out of a cage can result in being bitten and scratched.

When taking your cat for a drive it is best to have him or her in an animal carrier. A scared cat could get under your feet while you are trying to drive. A  frightened cat could start leaping all over the inside of your car causing you to lose control of your vehicle and that could result in your death and someone else also.

If you are flying on a plane with your cat use a carrier that is approved for airline travel. Check with the airline to see what time your cat is feed, watered and more. Your cat shots must be current if you are taking him on an airline. Expect your cat to be nervous and upset by the time you reach your destination. Some Vets will give you a mild sedative to relax your cat while he is on the plane. I once noticed a woman that traveled with her cat all of the time by train. She told me Sam had traveled on the train with her for years and he enjoyed it. She has a leach on him and he was sound to sleep in her loving arms.

By the best cage that you can afford and it should last for many years. Remember to always have your pet under your control at all times for his health and safety and the safety of others. I hope you and your cat have safe travels and Vet visits for many years to come.

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Berkeley Plantation And Its History Located in Virginia

The Berkeley Plantation is a very historic plantation located between Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia. The plantation is one of the first plantations in America. The Berkeley Plantation sits on approximately 1000 acres. The Berkeley Plantation was first called Berkeley Hundred as it was named after the Berkeley Company of England.

In 1619 the Good Ship Margaret landed at Berkeley with 36 men. The men had the first official Thanksgiving in America in accordance with instruction given in a charter by the Virginia Co.

In 1691 the Harrison’s purchased Berkeley. In 1726 they built their mansion. Benjamin Harrison V signed the Declaration of Independence and William Henry Harrison was are ninth US President.

Mrs. Harrison did not like her husband and friends smoking in their home. She told him to smoke in the guest house with his friends and colleagues. The family loved their pets and they have a pet cemetery on the site. There was also a house used as a kitchen. They also had small cabins for their slaves.

Benjamin Harrison IV and his two youngest daughters were killed when lightening stuck their home while they were trying to close their window and shutters upstairs on July 12, 1745. His wife took to her sick bed after she lost her husband and two daughters. She never recovered and died 30 days later. William Henry Harrison was only 18 and he took care of his four younger surviving siblings while also attending college. He later became our ninth President of the United States of America. William Harrison’s Grandson Benjamin Harrison became the 23 rd President of the USA.

During the Civil War General George  McClellan’s troops were in the buildings and had tents in front of the plantation. The upstairs of the house was used as a hospital as well as the guest house. General Butterfield with help from O. W. Norton a bugler created Taps while camped at Harrison’s Landing on the plantation.

The Berkeley Mansion is made with bricks that are made out of materials found on the site. Some of the bricks have a rich purple color and shine like diamonds when you look at them. The colors of the brick vary by the amount of time they are in the kiln. The house is built up high and the bricks shine brightly  to let people know that a wealthy family resides here. It was popular with all wealthy families to have a house that was built up high as it was a status symbol.

I loved my tour of the Berkeley Plantation. We had a wonderful and knowledgeable guide that was dressed in appropriate attire for that time frame. Our guide new all of the history of the plantation and other items of interest. He told us years ago yarn was dyed with tobacco juice as the smell of the tobacco dye killed off bed bugs for many years. Families have donated furniture and other household items that fit the timeline of the mansion.

I would highly recommend taking a tour of this wonderful old plantation with all of the rich and vast history that it holds. Travel often and enrich your mind.

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Mason City Honda located in Mason City, Iowa

I purchased a new 2016 Pioneer 1000 from Mason City Honda. The salesman was very knowledgeable and friendly. In about one week after my purchase I received one dozen artisan gourmet chocolate chip cookies to my surprise along with a Thank You note.

My pioneer 1000 has a dump lever for the box in back of it. I filled up the box with tree branches and pulled up the dump lever and out went all of the branches right into my burn pile. The pioneer 1000 makes picking up tree branches a breeze. I have also hauled water in the box for watering trees. I have hauled bags of dirt to fill up holes in my yard. I use it to check on the fields and one can put small rocks in the back that you find in your fields.

I also use my pioneer 1000 in the winter to pick up my mail when it was very icy. I added a windshield and a back window to my pioneer 1000 which made it a lot warmer to move around in especially in the winter. Later on I added two full size doors which really help keep the wind out.

This year I added a snow blade to my Pioneer 1000. The blade will make it easy to get out of my garage this winter. I will not have to shovel as much snow by hand anymore. I control all of the levers on the blade inside of the cab. The operation of the blade is controlled by push buttons which makes it very easy to maneuver the blade. I also had side  view mirrors and a windshield wiper added on. When the snow hits the windshield all I have to do is push a button and the wipers come on and push another button for the wiper fluid.

All of the employees at Mason City Honda are very friendly and accommodating. When I need an oil change or accessories added on they pick up my Pioneer and bring it back to me as soon as they are done.

My Pioneer 1000 is a fun and very useful item to get a lot of task accomplished quickly and safely. The Pioneer 1000 is easy to operate and I absolutely love it.

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Patriot Wings Restaurant Next To The Airport In Mason City, Iowa

My friend and I ate at Patriot Wings Restaurant recently and we were very impressed with our food. I love how the restaurant was decorated for the Fall season. The surroundings and the atmosphere are magnificent. Our waitress came to our table in a timely manner. She took our order and she gave us a nice carafe of water.

I looked over the food that was delivered to the other tables while we were waiting for our food. The food that was delivered looked absolutely mouthwatering . I could hear them tell their friends how wonderful the food tasted. Their conversation ended as they kept eating their food.

We ordered the Black Angus Burger with french fries. Our black Angus burger was cooked to perfection and it tasted delicious. Our french fries were seasoned and not greasy and they were very tasty. Our waitress filled our carafe with water again.


She had wonderful desserts that you could eat in the restaurant or take home with you. I took home a wonderful looking cherry tart and a scone. The cherry tart was out of this world, it was absolutely amazing in its taste. The scone was very tender and had a marvelous flavor.

We saw a plane take off through the window while we were eating our Black Angus Burger and fries. It is fun to watch the planes come and go while you are eating your meal. I always enjoyed eating at the airport restaurant as a young child. I was very fascinated with the airplanes and I still am today.

The restaurant also has a bar so you can enjoy a drink with your meal. I saw several people having a glass of beer. Some women were drinking mimosas. The food and the waitresses and the waiters and the cook and baker do an awesome job. I would highly recommend eating at Patriot Wings Restaurant in Mason City, Iowa next to the airport.

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Traveling 101

Always be prepared for the unexpected. Always have your passport tucked away on your person at all times and never let it out of your sight. A lost or stolen passport can end up in an 8 day delay or more in a foreign country  before they are able to replace it. Carry extra money with you and hide it away on your person. Have a list of emergency phone numbers with you at all times and let a friend know where a copy of your passport is and other important documents  if they are needed.

Have someone lined up to take care of your pets, mail, lawn mowing, repairs and whatever situation that may arise while you are gone. Your trusted friend will man the helm while you are away and enjoying life to its fullest potential.

Plan out your trip and always be prepared for the unexpected.

Plan out your trip in advance and make a list of where you want to go and what you must see. Delays may occur on your trip so allow extra time in your day for delays of all types. Make room reservations so you don’t have to hunt for a hotel room into the wee hours of the night. I keep a traveling diary of each trip that I take as it helps identify pictures and keeps the pleasant memories of my trip alive.

Pack light.

Pack light as we all tend to pack more things than we could ever use. Bring along a small suitcase with wheels that is easy to pull along and maneuvers easily. I also have a small carry on with me that I put one set of extra clothes in just in case it takes  awhile for my main suitcase to catch up with me.

Your hotel room should be to your liking.

Look over your hotel room and if it is not to your liking ask for a different room. If there are not enough towels or you are too cold do not be afraid to speak up and ask them for the items you need to make your stay enjoyable. The hotel will want to please you if possible because they want happy customers that will say how wonderful their stay was there to their friends and family. Word of mouth can make or break a business so think twice before you make a rash statement about a business. Did you tell them you had a problem or did you think they could read your mind somehow.

Unwind and take in all of the sights and sounds.

Relax and enjoy your vacation to its fullest. Leave your worries behind and unwind and relax and take in the scenery, nature, architecture  and the sounds. You may hear cow bells, church bells ringing, the oceans pounding waves and much more. Go to the local museums, concerts, plays and much more. Ask your hotel concierge what some of the main attractions are in the area where you are staying. He can also arrange for a cab to take you there and back to your hotel.

Home again.

You are now home again. I unpack my suitcase and put my clothes in the wash. I go through my mail and get back into the swing of things again. You will be very tired by the second day that you are home so take a nap and recover from your trip. I put all my pictures in an album and I identify them with my travel diary. I certainly enjoyed my vacation to its fullest and I hope you will to. Godspeed to you and your family on your trip of a lifetime.

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Williamsburg, Inn Located in Williamsburg, Virginia

The Williamsburg Inn has been a home for royalty, heads of state and guest from all over the world. The Inn’s policy is to treat every guest as royalty.

John Rockefeller Jr. and his wife made a monumental commitment to the Inn. They helped with design, construction and furnishings. The facility opened in 1937 with 61 guest rooms unlike a hotel, but more like a comfortable Virginia country estate. It  is perhaps the most perfectly appointed Inn on the continent. More than 70 years later, the Inn remains one of America’s finest and elegant hotels.

The Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America and top Hotels of the World. The Inn offers its guest a world – class experience. The Inn has a special ambience and timeless style. The inn is located next to America’s premier living history museum. In 2012 the Inn celebrated 75 year of hospitality.

We stayed at the Williamsburg Inn before Christmas. The Inn  was decorated with most beautiful flower arrangements, Christmas tree and Christmas arrangements. Everyday fresh flowers were placed in your room and on tables throughout the Inn.  The flowers and arrangements put you in the Christmas spirit.

The hospitality of the staff was outstanding and the full service concierge and the fact that they had drivers to take you to any place that you desired to go in Colonial Williamsburg. The drivers would open the door for you upon entering the fine vehicle. A doorman held the door open for you as you left and than returned.

Our room had the bedding turned down at night with mints on our pillows. We had robes in our room along with slippers. The towels were thick and luxurious. We had fine soaps and lotions and a rose in our bathroom. Our room was very spacious and elegant.

The food at the Inn was magnificent and very generous. I loved their chicken, fish, Oysters Rockefeller and more on the dinner menu. At breakfast I would order an omelette or two eggs over easy with hash that had sweet potatoes, potatoes, sweet onions and green peppers. I ordered their sweet potato pancakes which were thick and amazingly delicious.  I had espresso ice cream, raspberry sorbet, sticky toffee pudding and American Heritage hot chocolate which was thick and decadent with a true rich chocolate flavor.

I would  highly recommend treating yourself with a stay at the Williamsburg Inn in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Book your rooms now as they are filling up very quickly.



Stores and Food That I Love in Kalona, Iowa

My Grandmother grew up in Wellman, Iowa which is not far from Kalona, Iowa. I have relatives in Kalona, Iowa. My Grandmother was in the Pleasantview Nursing Home in Kalona, Iowa until she passed away. My family and I would always shop in the stores in Kalona and i still enjoy shopping in the stores in Kalona. Kalona is an Amish and Mennonite community. I love watching the Amish buggies go down the road.

 Kalona Antique Company

I always enjoy going to the Kalona Antique Company which is an old church that has been converted into an antique store. I have made numerous small purchases there over the years. In my younger days it was old metal toy cars, marbles and other objects that enticed me.  I purchased a few old oil lamps in my later years. They have a hug assortment of fine items for sale.

Hardware Stores in Kalona

Yotty’s Ace discount hardware store is my favorite hardware store of all time. They have the old hard to find items. I purchased a nice heavy gauge aluminum scoop shovel with a metal and wood handle made like the ones from years ago. I like the old wood floor in their store. I have purchased oil lamp parts, dehumidifier, paint brushes and fire king bake ware and much more. I like the fact that is family run multi generation business. They are very nice, knowledgeable, and accommodating to all of your needs.

I always stop at Gambles hardware to get my garden seeds. I purchased a nice homelite gas operated hedge trimmer that worked perfectly for years. I also purchased a pellet gun there years ago. I love shopping at hardware stores. Gambles hardware stores carry a wide array of products.

 Kalona Coffee House

The Kalona Coffee House can take care of all of your coffee needs. They make stunning lattes and cappuccinos. They have wide array of cold coffee drinks. A nice place to meet and gather with your friends and enjoy an awesome coffee drink. Try one of there muffins for a wonderful snack. Pleasant and awesome atmosphere with the amazing fresh coffee smell.

Tuscan Moon Grill

I love to eat my evening meal at the Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth in Kalona. I purchased their lamb dinner several times. The lamb came with a large baked potato and grilled vegetables. The lamb was cooked to perfection. I also purchased a glass of white wine and it had a nice delicate flavor. The owner of Tuscan Moon visited with us at our table and he was from Italy originally. I like a restaurant where the owner or chef visits with you directly as you know they take great pride in their restaurant and their customers.

Kalona Creamery

I love the Kalona Creamery. I love their fresh cheese curds and other cheese.They have old fashioned candy bar brands from my childhood days. I have purchased a sky bar, milk duds, etc. They sell canned pork and chicken which is amazingly delicious. You can watch them make the cheese curds.

Stringtown Grocery Store

Stringtown Grocery Store is an Amish convenience store. I have purchased their homemade breads, pies and more. The Amish are excellent bakers. I love their fresh carrots, potatoes, apples, cherries,and so much more. They have all kinds of spices and seeds for sale. They have a wide variety of candy. They have all of the baking ingredients available for sale for all of your baking needs. They have nail clippers, harmonicas and much more for sale. A wonderful and welcoming and very clean store.

Plan a day trip to Kalona

Kalona is a wonderful town to spend your day shopping with your friends or family. You will have plenty of things to do to keep you pleasantly occupied all day long.