Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tri-state tourist

To celebrate our wedding anniversary (not a milestone year), Madame X and I enjoyed a tri-state getaway weekend. It was yet another reminder that one need drive a long distance from Dubuque (or even leave the city, for that matter) to get some R and R.

Speaking of R and R we stayed at R 'N' R Retreat in the Clayton County (Iowa) community of Elkader. The two-unit B&B shares space with owner Mary Klink's insurance office. It is in a former mill and Selective Service Office overlooking the Turkey River dam and keystone arch bridge. Very nice. (Note: The first two photos are from the B&B's site; there was NO snow in Elkader this weekend.)

The county maintains a four-mile-long bicycle trail (similar to but slightly rougher than Dubuque County's 26-mile Heritage Trail), and we "went the distance."

Dinner was on the riverview deck at Schera's, which a couple of guys from Boston opened a few months ago. One of the partners, Frederique Boudouani, is of Algerian descent --noteworthy because Elkader is named for an Algerian chieftain, Emir Abdel Kader, who in the 1830s was credited with saving the lives of 12,000 Christians in Damascus. Elkader is the only U.S. community with a sister city in Algeria. It is because of that connection that Boudouani visited Elkader a time or two, liked it, and decided to leave Boston (population 559,000) for Elkader (pop. 1,465). Anyway, Madame X enjoyed the Algerian dish featuring vegetables, couscous and beef on skewers.

Today, after a bicycle ride in sections of Elkader we had yet to see, we took a leisurely drive home, passing through Littleport (the town, devastated by floods a few years ago, has relocated on higher ground) and Luxemburg before stopping in Balltown for lunch at Breitbach's, Iowa's oldest restaurant and bar. Afternoon adventures included a stop at the Grotto at North Buena Vista, taking the Cassville Ferry across the Mississippi River and returning to Dubuque down the Wisconsin side.

When one of those milestone anniversary years rolls around, we might do something elaborate to celebrate. However, the past couple of days showed us that one need not leave the tri-state area for a enjoyable, relaxing time.


klcomaha said...

Nice video on the ferry. Noticing those old cars, we're you on the Mississippi or coming back from Havana?

Brian Cooper said...

No Michael Moore sightings on this trip, so it must have been the Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Where was the mysterious "Madame X" in these photos? Hmmmmmm!!!

Brian Cooper said...

Madame X does not relish the certain fame associated with appearing on NewsConference. It might have something to do with my photographic skills.