Posts Tagged: Fall 2017 Inspire(d)

Cool New Places in the Driftless!


RockFilter Distillery

Hey – We love whiskey, and that’s just that. Local, hand crafted, organic whiskey and bourbon in the Driftless? Why, yes please! As they say at RockFilter, “No barn nor glass should be raised alone.” Nor spirit crafted, one could add. The RockFilter crew, just up the road in Spring Grove, Minnesota, have been hard at work creating unique whiskey and bourbon – beautifully bottled and sold in small batches, as well as served in their extremely well-designed tasting room just off the park in downtown SG. Local grain – and local talent – are playing out well for this start-up distillery. And we couldn’t be more excited to have (another) reason to visit this cute little town. Currently, the distillery and cocktail room are only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, so check their website or Facebook for hours before visiting.


Kickapoo Coffee Viroqua Café

While you’re in Viroqua for the Harvest Parade October 14 (or any day, really), we also highly suggest that you swing in to the new Kickapoo Coffee Café. The Kickapoo Coffee kids have been hard at work upping their – already pretty amazing ­– brand the past couple years, with a successful partnership launch of a Milwaukee Kickapoo Café. So it only makes sense that they bring the good stuff to the masses at home in the Driftless. The space, on the corner of Terhune and Main St, is a clean, beautiful building with indoor / outdoor communal seating and simple, beautiful décor. Delicious baked goods from Crumb Bakery fill the case, in addition to simple, delicious, local café fare. Kickapoo has been “farmer focused” since the beginning of their coffee roasting adventures in 2005. They’ve come a long way from the old train depot they started in, and we couldn’t be happier for them (unless we drank even – more – of their delicious coffee…). Swing by the café next time you’re in Viroqua, or make the trek just to check it out – it’s worth it!



High, Wide & Handsome

Word on the street is that there is some tasty pizza flying out of High, Wide & Handsome in Calmar, Iowa these days! That would make sense, since it’s the Sparrow family dishing up the pies. Jason, “Mr. High, Wide & Handsome” Sparrow is realizing his take-out pizza dream at 117 E. Main St. Call ahead – 563-562-9029 – to order a Three Little Pigs, or a Bacon Cheeseburger (pizza, that is…). Kudos to Calmar – with the new PIVO Brewery set to open in Calmar sometime later this year – it seems like this awesome community is ever-reinventing itself as the crossroads of NE Iowa! Like High, Wide & Handsome on Facebook to stay in the pizza-know.

Luna Valley – Pizza Farm Nights 

While we’re on the subject of Pizza (we could do this all day…), you may recall a “loving” write up from our Spring 2017 issue about the start-up of our friend Maren and Tom Beard’s Luna Valley Farms Pizza nights. Well, tick-tock, and guess what? They’re slinging farm fresh pizzas out of the wood fired oven every Friday night through October. Here at Inspire(d), we are big fans of the “pizza farm” concept, where local producers use their own and other local ingredients to put out tasty pizzas for you enjoy picnic-style on Maren and Tom’s gorgeous Driftless farm. Find details on Facebook or at


New Downtown Decorah Digs!

There’s been some grumbling amongst the coffee klatch crowds this past year about empty storefronts in downtown Decorah – but huzzah, we’re here to say never fear! While our favorite stores and restaurants continue to breathe new life into our community, Decorah is in the midst of a slight renaissance, with some new and relocating businesses just on the horizon! A duo of buildings in the middle of Water Street have recently been transformed into new office spaces for Thrivent Financial and Midwest Group Benefits, Inc. Just down the street, adjacent to the Hotel Winneshiek (in the old Hallmark) our friends Lisa Lantz and Scott Bassford are busy beautifying the space to become “The Getup” – a cool new shop that will buy and sell quality used children’s clothes, gear, and maternity ware in-store and online ( Meanwhile over on Winnebago, Gabi Masek has been busy at Wildcrafted Acupuncture and Herbs – check out the community acupuncture and personally crafted Wai Ke Botanicals. Across the street from there, find Cardboard Robot (in the old StoryPeople wood shop), self-described by the legendary Eric Sovern (owner) as a “supply depot for makers, artists, kids, former kids, goofballs, and nerds.”

Back on Water Street, Decorah artist Paula Brown has opened a retail shop for her work ‘The Goods’. You may remember reading about Paula in Inspire(d) before – she’s offering some really cool art and services downtown now! It’s so exciting to watch Decorah continue to grow! Now if we can just figure out what to do with that old JCP building…


Fat Pat’s BBQ Truck

Well, well. If it’s not the craft whiskey distillery gussying up lil’ ol’ Spring Grove, then it’s a kick ass new BBQ food truck! That’s right, Patrick Longmire Jr may have cut his teeth bagging groceries at his Pop’s IGA (read about Red on pg 42), but it was several years on the road playing music in Texas that brought him into the world of BBQ. When he and his family circled their wagons for Spring Grove, his love of BBQ led him to explore the idea of a BBQ truck – and it was an excellent idea! The menu is simple BBQ, the sides are beans, slaw, or potato salad, and the customers are raving. The best part is that you don’t ever know where Fat Pat’s may be pulling up next – recent favorite spots have been the new RockFilter Distillery (Spring Grove), Karst Brewing (Fountain), and Turtle Stack Brewery (La Crosse). Keep an eye on or instagram @fatpatsbbq, or Facebook to see where you can catch some killer BBQ next!

September 2017 Calendar

September 2017! We think fall is one of the loveliest times of year! Start your planning now with this handy-dandy September 2017 calendar (and you can download the pdf here). Enjoy! XO, Inspire(d)

Check out these great September 2017 activities!  In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

1. September 1: At Luna Valley Farm we are growing wood fired pizza and community. Join us on Friday Pizza Nights in September and October from 4-8pm.

2. September 2: Winneshiek Farm Crawl! Family-friendly event includes farm tours and food sampling plus an evening concert at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds.

3. September 2: Tomato Tasting (and Salsa Contest!) at Seed Savers Exchange: Sample dozens of open-pollinated heirloom tomatoes, judge a salsa contest, attend workshops, and hop on a hayride.

4. September 9: Root River Trail Towns Taste of the Trail – 10am-3pm- Lanesboro, Peterson & Whalan– Join us for a taste of each of our Root River Trail Towns Communities- more info at

5. September 9: Join in on “Live on Water Street” – a community celebration featuring music, food, beer, and fun for all ages! 300 Block, downtown Decorah, 3-8 pm. Info on Facebook.

6. September 9 – October 7: Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree. A free dance performance series and visual art installation with a Middle Eastern flavor, by Sharon Mansur. Outpost, 119 E. 3rd St., Winona

7. September 14-16: Experience Cresco’s Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest with Inspire Day at the Borlaug Farm. Take in the car show, 5K, Quilt Auction, live music and MORE!

8. September 15-17: MidAmerica Herbal Symposium, herb conference with amazing Herbalists sharing their plant knowledge. A weekend filled with great classes, food, and beautiful surroundings. Whitewater State Park, Altura, MN Register today,

9. September 16: Root River Trail Towns Taste of the Trail – 10am-3pm- Fountain, Harmony & Preston– Join us for a taste of each of our Root River Trail Towns Communities- more info at

10. September 16: Arts & Heritage Day in Chatfield, MN. Art fair, kids activities, food, music all day culminating with the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra in Potter Auditorium.

11. September 23: Takkefest! Join Vesterheim Museum for this free festival for everyone! Live Music, Dancing, Norwegian Fusion Cuisine and Beers, plus crafts and games for all ages.

12. September 23: Root River Trail Towns Taste of the Trail – 10am-3pm- Houston, Rushford, Rushford Village– Join us for a taste of each of our Root River Trail Towns Communities- more info at

13. September 24: Chosen Bean Concert with David Mallett. Live folk music up close and personal. Limited seating, $20 in advance or at the door. 6:30pmconcert.

14. September 24: Upstart Crow Theatreworks presents The Cemetery Walk, celebrating the Porter House’s sesquicentennial. Tours leave every 15 minutes, 2-4pm, Phelps Cemetery, Decorah. $10/$5.

15. September 30: Seeds + Cider Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invites you to Heritage Valley, a 1,200-acre nature preserve, for a fall prairie seed harvest! RSVP at