Category Archives: Celebrating the four seasons

The Bix – A Quad City tradition

There are tons of walks and runs to participate in during the summer in Iowa. I recently walked in the The Bix. 2008 marks the 34th anniversary of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 – in fact it’s known as one of the United States most prestigious and challenging races.

Here’s a recap of my walk…

Of the people I know about, I brought up the rear. By a lot. About 2:18 for me. That’d be two hours and eighteen minutes to walk seven miles. My 60-year old father in law ran it in just over an hour. Small children and old folks alike giggled as they passed me by. But there’s a reason! Really!

First of all, I started waaaay in the back. So I started off at a disadvantage.

I was near the Army guys in fatigues with 100lb packs on their backs. They started up Brady St. hill walking, and I kept pace. Woot!, I thought, I can keep up with these guys, and they train and like, lift weights and stuff.

Then we got to the top of the hill and they started running.

I never saw them again.

Then I got passed by Tinky Winky.

Seriously.

Then I got passed by the chicken man. But you know, he’s probably a runner in all the getup.

Then the pregnant gal breezed by me. Very pregnant. Maybe 7 months. But she was probably a runner before, so she doesn’t count.

Then the lady in the wheelchair passed me.

Then our inspirations passed me  (and his wife I presume). They were getting cheers the whole way. Truly amazing.

However, all is not lost. I did totally crush this guy in the Monty Python outfit.

So when I got home and Mallory (age 4) asked “Did you win?” of course, I said Yes!

Posted by: ericengelmann

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Filed under Celebrating the four seasons, Daytrips and Getaways, Running, Why it's great to live here

View masterful gardens, get gardening tips from experts

In 2007, 71 percent of all U.S. households or an estimated 82 million households participated in one or more types of lawn and garden activities.

These numbers make gardening the fourth most popular hobby and leisure activity, tied with fishing. According to Harris Interactive, the most popular activities is reading followed by watching TV.

Corridorians can view some of the regions’ best gardens to get creative ideas for landscaping, ponds and flower beds on Saturday, June 14, from The first Master Gardener’s Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The walk, presented by Iowa State University Extension Linn County Master Gardeners, features five diverse gardens with beds highlighting creative landscaping, ornamental grasses, conifers, vegetables, perennials, containers, and ponds.

Master Gardeners will be available at all sites to answer questions and offer advice.

The cost is $5 for adults or $10 for families. Maps and information is available at www.extension.iastate.edu/linn click on Garden Walk, or call 319.447.0647.

posted by: lschreiber

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Filed under Celebrating the four seasons, Community Events, Why it's great to live here

Celebrate May on Mays

May on Mays Island, one of the many fun Year of the River events, is slated to take place this weekend.

Prepare yourself for the invasion of the Hawaiian shirts in downtown Cedar Rapids this weekend as hundreds are expected to participate in the Year of the River event May on Mays Island.

Join Parrotheads (official and unofficial!) from around the Corridor Saturday, May 17th from 5 pm – 8 pm as they join to celebrate summer Jimmy Buffet style.  The Cedar Island Band will perform and costume contests will be held. 

Tickets are $7 at the gate and you must be 21 to enter.  To learn more contact the Cedar Rapids Downtown District. 

Isle of Iowa
If you get a taste for the island life after Saturday’s event and want to learn more about embracing the island lifestyle you might want to consider joining The Isle of Iowa Parrot Head Club.  With more than 200 members the club holds monthly meetings and is always looking for an excuse to celebrate!

Looking for more to do on Mays?
Well, you won’t have to look far! Lunch on Mays Island will take place May 23rd at noon and will feature beef burgers, chips and drinks.   

Posted by: heatherjoy77

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Filed under Arts and Music, Celebrating the four seasons, Community Events

Wilkommen zu Maifest!

In case you don’t read German…that is an official welcome to Mayfest in the Amana Colonies, in Amana, IA.

Maifest is the colonies annual celebration of spring and will be held this year May 3rd and 4th.  http://www.festivalsinamana.com/maifest.html

Maifest is a great reason to visit this wonderful German community, just nestled 20 min southwest of Cedar Rapids.  There is a full weekend of events scheduled and visitors can experience all that Amana has to offer.  The annual Maifest parade will go through Main Amana at 10am on Saturday morning and there is much to do for both adults and children throughout the next 2 days.

I would personally encourage stopping by Millstream Brewery and trying out their delectible beers and sodas.  I am quite partial to the Millstream Root Beer and Black Cherry.  Yummy!

Take the time to visit the Amana Meat Shop, Woolen Mill, and General Store to get the full Amana product selection.  If you have a full day to spend this weekend, make time to sit down to a traditional German family style meal at one of the many excellent resturants in Main Amana.  My all-time favorite is the Brick Haus.  Sit down and enjoy a big bowl full of pickled ham, fresh Amana rye bread and Amana made brats.  Oh..and don’t forget to give Walt a Guten Tag!

I feel blessed to have such a rich heritage based community like the Amanas in the corridor.  My family and my husband’s family are all of German origin, so it is very special to us. 

Froliche Wochenende und hast du viel SpaB in Amana!

Bis spater.

posted by: Anne Ohrt

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Filed under Arts and Music, Celebrating the four seasons, Community Events, Daytrips and Getaways, Good Eats, Shopping, Stuff for kids to do, Why it's great to live here

Retreating from the world without traveling far from it

This past weekend, I escaped to Prairiewoods, a local gem that offers peaceful respite just minutes from I-380 and downtown Cedar Rapids. The Franciscan retreat center offers a variety of non-denominational spiritual retreats, as Pairiewoods Sunrisewell as holistic services and overnight accommodations for those looking to step out of their regular life and into a place of peace and contemplation.

I attended a yoga retreat organized by Karen Wachsmuth of Yoga for Your Life, a local teacher who works primarily in the Iyengar yoga tradition, but several of the other women who attended the retreat had also stayed at Prairiewoods other times. They raved about the staff, particularly those who lead other retreats at the property, and said how much they enjoyed it.

Prairiewoods’ event schedule through March is up on its web site, and includes ongoing fitness classes, spiritual spa renewal days, and even business-oriented development classes. The facilities are also available to those who want to go on a private retreat, directed retreat, or even a sabbatical.

For those who stay overnight, the guesthouse accommodations are straightforward and comfortable. Each room has twin beds, a sink, a nook with a clothes bar, a desk and a chair. Adjoining rooms share a bathroom with a toilet and a shower. Each floor of the guesthouse also has minimal kitchen facilities, although meals are served in the Center.

The Center features a lovely gift shop, with books and handmade jewelry and other products that either foster or demonstrate a creative spirit. There is also a lovely meditation room with soaring windows that look out onto the woods, a conference room, and plenty of common space for reading, visiting or playing games.

The weekend I was there, Cedar Rapids was enjoying –20 to –30 degree F wind chills. While I’m not going to claim deep and abiding fondness for any weather that causes your fingers to fall off within a matter of minutes, it was beautiful to sit inside the Center, which is the main building on the property, and stare out at the windswept snow with a mug of sage tea made from herbs grown there in warmer months.

I hope to return in those warmer months, not just to check out the sage being grown for the following winter’s tea, but also to take advantage of the trails and quiet spots on Prairiewoods’ 70 acres.

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Genie Gratto also blogs at The Inadvertent Gardener.

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Filed under Celebrating the four seasons, Daytrips and Getaways, Natural Beauty