Monthly Archives: September 2008

Apple Picking and Pumpkin Patches

Recently I had the opportunity to take my Girl Scout Troop to a local apple orchard, Honey Creek Acres.  I have lived in Cedar Rapids for 8 years now, and was unaware that this great opportunity was less than 5 minutes from my home on the SW side.  

Honey Creek Acres has just recently re-opened.  The couple that previously owned the orchard didn’t have the time or energy to keep it up.   After 10 years of the orchard sitting neglected, the Pilarczyk’s took up the challenge and are running it as a family business.  Honey Creek Acres is located at 799 Swisher View Drive, in Swisher.  (If you turn at the Swisher post office, you just need to follow the road for about ½ mile and you are there.)  The orchard is open from August to October.  You can pick your own apples or purchase some that have already been picked.  By next year they hope to have the bakery open too, so it will be a one stop shop for all your apple pie, cider, honey and apple pastry needs.

The girls in my troop had a magnificent time.  They received a tour of the orchard via hayrack ride where they viewed all the different kinds of apple trees, the bee hives, and the pumpkin patches.  They also learned about what all is involved in maintaining the orchard.  After the girls took turns picking their apples they were able to eat them and explore the different areas.

By now, the orchard should have their pumpkin patch ready with games etc for the Halloween season, so if you and your family are interested in having a group outing please consider visiting this amazing local orchard for all your pumpkin and apple needs.  They also have field trips available, and the hours are located on their site.

By Kristen Everett

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Filed under Celebrating the four seasons, Stuff for kids to do

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art Reopens with Flood Photography Exhibit

I had the opportunity to go to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art this week, just a week after it’s reopening from the flood.  Aptly, the museum’s first exhibit is The Year of the River: Flood Photography from The Gazette.  The moments captured are breathtaking.  The emotion they rekindle surprising.  We are months removed from the Flood of 2008, and although the people of the corridor have moved on to recovery, it’s important to look back and remember just how extraordinary the event truly was.

I was lucky enough to explore this exhibit with people not from Cedar Rapids, many whom aren’t even from the Midwest.  I’d seen many of the pictures before, I’d witnessed the flooding in person, and these photographs still took my breath away.  To see their reaction was truly a privilege.  They had all heard of the flood, and had sent their thoughts and prayers in our time of need.  But as they walked the halls of the museum they were in awe of what we had experienced.  They also had toured some of our flood-savaged areas and expressed amazement at far we have come, and how quickly we reached where we are.

I was bursting with pride for my community, as I nodded in agreement as they spoke of our spirit and our determination to rebuild. 

I highly recommend visiting the museum and seeing this amazing exhibit. And if you have friends or family visiting from afar, take them and show them.  It will give you everyone who sees it a new appreciation, and a new perspective on just how reselient we are.

On a similar note, a colleague recently shared an emotional and information video on the flood produced by Metro Studios – if you have a moment, check it out.

posted by: heatherjoy77

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Filed under Why it's great to live here

Mississippi River Museum: A fun and educational getaway for the whole family

We decided to take advantage of the long weekend and take a short trip to Dubuque.  We’d visited the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium  before when my son was two, but now at age four he really seemed to appreciate the impressive sights he was seeing.  Upon entering he rushed to the entrance way tank, following the ducks and turtles with excitement.  Then we moved on to the five large aquariums that let us get up close with the giant catfish, an alligator and an ancient sturgeon We were ooing and awing at everything, including what I think was a huge albino turtle. 

This summer’s attraction was called Venom that displayed all sorts of wonderfully colorful, intriguing and venomous creatures including Spiders, Jelly Fish, Bugs, Scorpions, Poison Dart Frogs, Snakes, Lizards and Fish. I’ll admit I was a little squeamish, but my son loved it.

We also looked through the riverboat museum, explored some wetlands, and took a tour of large 1934 steamer which included seeing the kitchen, bunk rooms, engine room and pilothouse.

TripAdvisor named the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium one of the top ten aquariums and zoos in the U.S. – and it’s right here in our backyard.  I encourage you to take advantage of it!

posted by heatherjoy77

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Filed under Daytrips and Getaways, Stuff for kids to do

Tanager Outlet Mall – A Shopper’s Paradise

My mom and I love to shop.  And although the Corridor offers a number of malls and boutiques, nothing beats a power shopping trip to the outlet mall.

Located just 30 miles from the Corridor you’ll find the Tanager Outlet Mall.  It offers more than 55 name brand stores including some of my favorites -Old Navy, Carters (although my guy is getting too big), Gap, Bath & Body Works, and Nike.  I also like to stop into the toy store and get a jump on birthday and Christmas gifts. 

What I love the most about Tanager is it takes advantage of the wonderful area it calls home.  It features an Amana Shop where you can buy crafts and food from the area.  We partook in some yummy Amana cheese and I bought a bottle of red wine from the local Fireside Winery to enjoy when I returned home.

We often think, let’s go to Tanager… and then dismiss it quickly because we don’t want to drive that far.  But honestly it’s not that far – and if you take the Highway 151 South out of Cedar Rapids and drive through the Amanas, it’s a beautiful drive and the reward is well worth it.

posted by heatherjoy77

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Filed under Shopping