Posts Categorized: Today

Peak Peaks: 6 Lookouts You Don’t Want to Miss!

Do you love a good view? Hoping for the perfect photo opportunity to memorialize your summer in the Driftless? Want to get an epic vantage point for sunset or sunrise? Check out this list of six area lookouts that’ll give you some of the best views around. Have we piqued your interest? (Haha!) Get to one of these peaks and take it alllll in! Happy adventuring!

Sugar Loaf – Winona, Minnesota

Sugar Loaf bluff sits high above Winona, Minnesota, its rock spear acting as a beacon, as it has for many years. The well-known rock pinnacle was formed from limestone mining in the late 1800s, although the bluff itself has been a river landmark for centuries. It features an easy drive to an overlook that offers an expansive view of the river, surrounding bluffs, and the city of Winona. The Sugar Loaf area has also come to serve another purpose as well: rock climbing! Winona is quickly becoming known for their outdoor recreation efforts, including climbing instruction and groups.

Mound Bluff TRIP – Trempealeau, Wisconsin

Did you know that around 1,000 years ago, just above Trempealeau, Wisconsin on the mighty Mississippi River, there was an incredibly sophisticated settlement of native “Mississippians”? The Little Bluff Mounds Interpretive Trail showcases the history of the bluff-top settlement, where three temple mounds still stand. With one of the most spiritual views of the Mississippi River in our region, it is no wonder that Native Americans found this place special. Make your TRIP (Trempealeau Interpretive Path) a trifecta, by visiting the Shirley M Wright Library for more information about the Native culture, as well as Perrot State Park with more 500-foot bluff views! www.tremptrip.com

Mount Hosmer – Lansing, Iowa

If we had to pick our favorite “historical story to name a bluff” in the Driftless, Mount Hosmer would most likely win! So goes the tale of the 1,040-foot bluff with a panoramic view of the Mississippi Valley above Lansing, Iowa: Back in the steamboat days, boats often stopped at Lansing for a spell while on the way up or down the river. Upon one of these stops in the 1850s, passengers decided to have a foot race up the nearest bluff. It was one Ms. Harriet Goodhue Hosmer, a well-known sculptor originally from Massachusetts, who won the race to the summit, and thus had it named after her. Well, that’s the tale that’s told anyway, and we think it’s a pretty fine story. Drive or run (or walk) your way to the halfway look out, or all the way to the top for great views, a beautiful Veterans Memorial, as well as picnicking and more. Blow a kiss over Lansing while you’re up there – it’s such a lovely little river town.

Pikes Peak – McGregor, Iowa

Just outside of McGregor, Iowa is Pikes Peak State Park. A stunning view of the upper Mississippi River Valley showcases the confluence of the Wisconsin River from over 500 feet above. With its showcase, double-deck viewing area, and beautiful park and picnicking area, Pikes Peak should be a once-a-summer (at least!) visit for anyone in our region. If your hiking shoes are aching to get in the dirt, Pikes Peak is a perfect place to get out! Eleven and a half miles of trails take guests through wooded bluffs and valleys, past walls of Decorah limestone, fossil and even Bridal Veil Falls – or Point Ann, overlooking the quaint town of McGregor.

Magelssen Bluff Park – Rushford, Minnesota

Tucked away on Highway 43 in Southern Minnesota is the beautiful small town of Rushford, at the convergence of Rush Creek and the Root River. Magelssen Park has three scenic overlooks, with an open panorama of the area for several miles. Drive or hike on beautiful trails to several picnic areas, and the Rushford Burr Oak tree –estimated to be nearly 200 years old and one of the largest in Minnesota! As far as we’re concerned, this is one of the region’s most tucked-away, yet accessible parks – perfect for a day of hiking, views, and a picnic – and close enough to town for an ice cream cone, lefse, or an iced coffee afterwards.

Palisades Park – Decorah, Iowa

On the east end of scenic downtown Decorah lies the 105-acre Palisades Park. With a one-way driving loop, and several miles of single track hiking and biking, the top of the bluff provides a fantastic view of Decorah and the Upper Iowa River Valley. Firepits and grills are set amongst thoughtfully located picnic tables to take advantage of the great views, while also enjoying the shade of the bluff-top trees. Worth noting, the road to Palisades is only open seasonally (Spring-Fall), but is also groomed for cross-country skiing as natural snowfall allows in the winter. Palisades Park is near Ice Cave Park, as well as the 120-acre Barbara Barnhart Van Peenen Memorial Park, which offers many more miles of single track hiking and mountain biking trails.

August 2019 Calendar!

 August! It doesn’t seem possible, but here we are! There’s still time to squeeze in some summer fun… start your planning with this handy-dandy August 2019 calendar (you can download the pdf here).  Have a blast! XO, Inspire(d)

LOOKING FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT EVENTS ON THE CALENDARS?
Check out these great August 2019 activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

24. August 1-4: Lanesboro Buffalo Bill Days. Entertainment for the whole family.  Food, Beverages, Live Music, Parade, Fireworks, Sporting Tournaments, Free Kids Games & MORE!  www.lanesboro-mn.gov • FB-BuffaloBillDays

25. August 1: 2nd annual Buffalo Bill Days Sip & Savor Fundraiser. $25.00 15 vendors sampling wine, craft beer and spirits. Food, Door prizes, live music & more.

26. August 2-3: Iowa’s annual Tax Free Weekend! Shop for apparel Friday and Saturday without the sales tax. Apparel priced under $100 is tax exempt for two days! www.decorahareachamber.com

27. August 3-4: Becoming an Outdoors Family Weekend at Eagle Bluff! A weekend camp of memories exploring the outdoors and learning hands-on skills. June 15-16. Register at eaglebluffmn.org

28. August 10: Pulpit Rock Bend & Brew! Come enjoy a Reefuel smoothie, an hour of yoga, and a delicious Pulpit Rock Beer when you’re done. 10:45am-12pm, Sign up at PRB or online https://squareup.com/store/pulpitrockbrewing

29. August 11: Fossil Hunting in Fillmore County! Collect fossils older than dinosaurs! Located at Whispering Winds, Spring Valley. Sponsored by Eagle Bluff. Register under “Events” at eaglebluffmn.org.

30. August 24: Hop Harvest Festival, Sweet 16 Farm, rural Houston, MN  Music and family fun from 3-10pm, camping available on site. sweet16farm.com/hop-harvest/

31. August 25: Wisconsin State Gravel Bike Championship – of The World!!! Come grind Vernon County Wisconsin’s finest gravels with a pack of like minded racers. Race HQ in Viroqua – info: www.bluedogcycles.com 

32. August 30-31: Labor Day weekend at Luna Valley Farm! We’re open both Friday and Saturday night from 4-8pm for wood fired pizza, drinks and community. www.lunavalleyfarm.com

COMING UP!

33. 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 near Viroqua. Fun. Community. Dirt. Trails. Revelry. Info: www.bluedogcycles.com 

Seed Savers Exchange Benefit Concert: Q&A w/ Lissie!

 

Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) near Decorah, IA will once again host an incredible lineup of mid-western musicians for an on-the-farm benefit concert, Saturday, August 3, 2019. The benefit concert is hosted in the natural grass bowl of Lillian Goldman Visitors Center on the SSE Heritage Farm, offering a magical setting for some of the mid-west’s best roots musicians, including; Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles, LissieDavid Huckfelt of The Pines, Pieta BrownMichael Rossetto, and Special Guest Mr. Greg Brown. Tickets are available at this link for $25 in advance, $30 day of at the gate.

Seed Savers Exchange has been providing a home and outlet for heirloom and open pollinated varieties of seeds since 1975, encouraging gardeners and farmers worldwide to grow, harvest, and share heirloom seeds, as well as recount the inspirational stories behind them. SSE aims to conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.

“For Lissie, her past—the last decade or so, to be specific—is something still very much alive and open to interpretation and rephrasing. With the release of When I’m Alone: The Piano Retrospective, Lissie is poised to show listeners that her past is hardly static, that the songs she wrote nearly 10 years ago are still fresh and vibrant, evoking feelings old and new.

In the eyes of the midwestern songstress, who in recent years made a conscientious return to her roots with the purchase of some 50 acres in northeastern Iowa, the operative metaphor at work in her career—and in the creation of the retrospective album—is something deeply entropic: gardening.

“When you garden,” she says, thoughtfully, “it’s like all of the things you eat and grow are beautiful, and as they die and decompose, that carnage becomes the food for the plants you grow next year. When you’re out in nature and there’s four seasons, you see the cycle… It spurs my creativity to see how life becomes death becomes life. It’s this beautiful, comforting thing because it’s a constant.”

And that entropic beauty shines through in her work on When I’m Alone. When you listen to the lush, atmospheric arrangements of Lissie’s best-loved, most career-defining tunes, you can almost hear the “carnage” of each past moment and remembered feeling coalescing to form this beautiful, dark tempest of emotion and memory.” (Red Light Mgt.)

Inspire(d) would like to thank Lissie for taking a few moments away from her garden in NE Iowa to answer a few questions in advance of the Seed Savers Benefit Concert.

Inspire(d): What’s the most fun or rewarding thing you’ve ever grown?

Lissie: I get really excited about broccoli! It’s usually one of the first things my garden produces and it’s so gratifying to see the little head start to form & grow.

Inspire(d): Why does the work of Seed Savers Exchange spark you?

Lissie: New growth from the Earth & gardens’ represent hope for me. When I visit Seed Savers and see the wide array & diversity, visit Diane’s garden and tour the old trees, I dream of a brighter future & getting my hands dirty!

Inspire(d): In the beginning of Seed Savers Exchange, it was a stash of morning glory and tomato seeds that Diane Ott Whealy’s Grandfather brought over from Germany that started the organization on it’s path. Has anyone ever handed down a seed or a story about a garden variety to you?

Lissie: No but I wish! I loved reading Diane’s book about the birth of SSE. I’ve got a healthy crop of Grandpa Ott’s morning glories taking over my garden right now!

Inspire(d): Seed Savers now has over 20,000 plant seeds in their collection – hundreds which have gone to the Svalbard Gobal Seed Vault in Norway. Any favorites you hope are in that stash, or specifics you can’t imagine the world without?

Lissie: I actually performed at the Polar Jazz Festival in Longyearbyen & what a magical place & idea! That all this rich diversity of food is being protected & preserved, is so important! I love the classic German Pink tomato but really think that all 20,000 are essential. With a changing climate, who knows what challenges agriculture will face! Variety seems key to adapting!

Inspire(d): You might know that Seed Savers has an amazing orchard with over 1,200 varieties of Apple Trees. It’s quite a place, encompassing many varieties that have all but disappeared – with a long view plan for revitalization. Are you more of an apple pie or apple crisp type person?

Lissie: Apple pie! But if I can cheat, apple sauce all the way!

Inspire(d): Hopes, wishes, or dreams for the 2019 Seed Savers Exchange Benefit Concert?

Lissie: I feel very honored to be a part of the SSE world now and to share the bill with a legend like Greg Brown & alongside so many artists I admire! I hope for good weather, some collaborations perhaps & united good vibes! And I hope that lots of money is raised to continue to support their incredibly important efforts!

*

(To read an interview with mid west musician David Huckfelt about his connections to Seed Savers Exchange, please click here.)

Seed Saver Exchange Benefit Concert
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles
Lissie
David Huckfelt of The Pines
Pieta Brown
Michael Rossetto
Special Guest Mr. Greg Brown

3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA
5pm gates, 7pm show
Tickets available seedsavers.org/concert
$25 advance / $30 at the gate
(563) 382-5990
https://www.seedsavers.org/