Category Archives: Shopping

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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Iowa’s Wineries: Some of the Best in the Heartland

We’re not Napa Valley, but that doesn’t mean Eastern Iowa isn’t home to a number of amazing wineries.  I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a few and The Gazette recently unveiled a special section “A Toast to Eastern Iowa’s Wineries” which has helped me update my ever-growing list of new wineries I’d like to try. 

Daly Creek Winery and Bistro – 106 N. Ford St. Anamosa, IA

I was originally enamored by this winery when I heard stories of their fabled “Penitentiary Red” – their best selling wine which is named after the prison that also makes Anamosa its home.  After a taste test and a wonderful New Years Eve meal, I’ve decided my favorite is the Winemaker’s Reserve – (Cabernet Sauvignon) and I recommend buying a bottle to take home with you. 
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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.

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

Antiquing in Marion

Marion is known for many things – the train at City Square Park, the Downtown Getdown summer concert series, and most notably the numerous unique antiques stores. The square in downtown Marion is home to many of the area’s best antique stores, and it also offers many great eating establishments for you to enjoy when you decide to take a break from antiquing!  (Zoey’s Pizzeria, Tomaso’s Pizza, The Marion Maid rite, and The Bookmark Café to name a few.)  If it’s a sunny day, I suggest you get your food to go and enjoy the beautiful City Square Park – just footsteps from most of the stores.  

Here are a few of the shops you’ll find in historical downtown Marion, many within walking distance of one another.  This list was compiled by a great Marion community Web site. I encourage you to check out this site for more information about Marion.

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Shop in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village

by Ruth Paarmann

Before you even think about busting through mall crowds, take a trip to Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village. The area runs from the 16th Avenue bridge to C Avenue SW, just west of the Cedar River.

The neighborhood offers a national museum and a row of lovely locally owned shops. Supporting these local shop owners is important to me, and each fall, I look there for items to fulfill my holiday gift list.

One of the highlights for me is Czech Cottage, where gifts of glass and jewelry line the shelves. The shop owners travel to Europe to select items for sale, so the merchandise is quite unique. It’s a great place for gifts for moms and newlyweds like cut-crystal vases. I’ve also found adorable little glass animals which make surprisingly good, but inexpensive, gifts for friends.

At Christmastime, the gift shop at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library brims with spectacular blown-glass ornaments, cookbooks, souvenirs and more. Located next to a clock tower, the museum itself offers excellent special exhibits and an informative permanent exhibit about Czech and Slovak history. It’s one of Cedar Rapids’ best cultural stops.

Saddle & Leather Shop

I always try to visit the Saddle & Leather Shop, too. The store has changed little since my days as a young rider to buy saddles, bridles and Western wear. It’s still a clean, early-1900s vintage shop run by the Barta sisters. I go there for boots as needed for my time volunteering at the therapeutic equestrian center, Miracles in Motion. Enjoy the aroma of leather while you browse clothing, hats, horse toys such as Breyer models, and more.

The Czech Village also features places to eat and drink, including a restaurant and local watering holes. Baked goods, meat, wine and more can be found to fulfill your appetite. Many other mom-and-pop shops, selling everything from appliances to tattoos, have made their home in this ethnic area. Everyone will have different favorite stops, but regardless of your tastes, Czech Village is something special in this area, and it should be on your shopping list!

Ruth Paarmann, owner of Paarlance Creative Writing, is a freelance writer who appreciates quality ethnic experiences.

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