Tag Archive | Iowa

2014 Adventures – Happy New Year!

We come to the end of another year of fun and travel and we have made a list of the places we visited and blogged about. We have been to many places.

Adventures in Travel 2014


We hope you have enjoyed traveling with us. We also hope that if you have not officially been following our blog (email notification, Facebook, etc), that you join us officially today.  We get the feeling many of you are reading and not following, I see the evidence in the stats of the posts being read 🙂   Some days we get hundreds of readers. We won’t bite 🙂 Thanks!

My husband Al and myself wish you a Happy New Year and that you join us here for our 2015 adventures.

Happy New Year

We Stop for Octagon Houses and Barns!

If there is any building structure we have found interesting and unique in our travels the octagon design has topped our interest list. It was a popular design in the 1800’s and some of these buildings have become tourist attractions. here are the ones we have seen in our travels.

The Milton House

Milton House


Watertown Octagon House

Octagon House



An Octagon barn near Hillsboro, a common sight there.

Octagon Barn near Hillsboro


Another barn was seen on a trip out to Argyle.

Octagon Barn Near Argyle


Sometimes the octagon shape was only visible from the inside and just a portion outside. The Larson House in McFarland is an example. It had a room in that shape, three sides visible from the outside. It was the upstairs Master bedroom.

Larson House Master Octagon Bedroom windows


Octagon Room Larson House

Lastly, we even saw the Langworthy Octagon House during our trip to Dubuque, IA

Langworthy Octagon House


There are many more to see in and around Wisconsin and our neighboring states. We’ll add them here as we see them!


Port of Dubuque Marina – Ice Harbor Fun!


Port of Dubuque

The Port of Dubuque Marina has something for everyone and there is a lot to see. We  began our explorations at Paddlewheel Plaza. On display is a large paddlewheel from the steamship William M. Black. It is now permanently docked in Ice harbor and is a Bed and Breakfast from April-November.

 Paddlewheel Plaza in DubuquePaddlewheel Plaza signPaddlewheel Plaza is at the back-end of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, both kids and adults will learn a lot about the river and creatures that inhabit it.

Mississippi River Museum

Back behind the museum is Ice Harbor, where you can enjoy watching all the activity in the marina. You can take a cruise on the Spirit of Dubuque from May to October. On our way out of town, I saw the ship out on the river.

Ice Harbor view Dubuque

Spirit of Dubuque riverboat


Spirit of Dubuque on the river

The Coast Guard ship USCGC Wyaconda keeps the waters safe in Dubuque.

Coast Guard USCGC Wyaconda Dubuque

Also in this location is the Ice Harbor Restaurant, right on the water.

Ice Harbor Restaurant Dubuque


And now we reach the end of this part of Ice Harbor, and the beginning of  Art on the River on a walking path. Each year the art pieces change.

Dubuque Riverwalk trailhead


Along the walk we arrive at the Grand River Center, the convention center of Dubuque.

Grand River Center

We are reaching the end of the riverwalk, and we see the historic Star Brewery building, now Stone Cliff Winery. It is now is a restaurant and museum and now produce wine instead of beer. To the right is the historic Shot Tower, one of the last ones standing. It was constructed in 1856 and lead shot was manufactured here.

Stone Cliff Winery and Shot Tower Dubuque

Shot Tower plaque


This concludes our tour of Dubuque. We really enjoyed the sightseeing and hope to return and take a cruise on the Spirit of Dubuque. This city’s rich history made an impression on us and the residents are very proud of living here and welcome visitors warmly.

Greetings from Dubuque

Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens – Come Grow With Us!


We discovered most big cities to the small towns we have visited  have at least one public garden for the public to enjoy. Dubuque is no exception. The Dubuque Museum and Botanical Gardens is quite beautiful in mid-summer and was well worth the visit.

Dubuque Botanical Gardens


Be sure to stop in the Visitor Center for a map of the huge grounds. You could easily spend the day here. They also have apparel and souveniers.


Dubuque Garden Visitor Center

Dubuque Garden gazebo

There are gardens of different themes…

Japanese Garden

Dubuque Japanese Garden

 English Garden

English Garden in Dubuque

Rose Garden

Dubuque Rose Garden


Even waterfalls are here.

Waterfall at Dubuque Garden

Just some of the beautiful flowers here at the garden.

Dubuque Garden Collage

We had a wonderful visit here. Could not see it all this time but perhaps on a return visit we can see the rest.

Dubuque Botanical Garden Stone sign

Historic Downtown Dubuque

August 4 & 5, 2014

Downtown Dubuque is a study of 19th century architecture with most of the beautiful buildings still in use.  We will explore some of Dubuque’s landmarks that were quite interesting to see.

The Hancock House Bed and Breakfast, a Queen Anne-style home.

Hancock House Bed and Breakfast


The Carnegie-Stout Public Library

Carnegie Stout Public Library in Dubuque

The Courthouse and Old Jail, the first in Dubuque, now a museum.

Dubuque Courthouse

Dubuque Old Jail


The beautiful Town Clock in Town Clock Plaza, restored in 1971.
Dubuque Town ClockTown Clock plaque

The red Grand Opera House,  providing entertainment for the Dubuque area since 1890.

Grand Opera House in Dubuque


Cable Car Square has many places to shop or relax with a cup of coffee. The Fenelon Place Elevator is also located here in this part of downtown.

Cable Car Square selfieFenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque

Redstone Inn and Suites

Redstone Inn and Suites Dubuque


Monks Kaffee Pub

Monks Kaffee Pub



 City Hall

 Dubuque City Hall

Edward Langworthy Octagon House




Langworthy Octagon House

We saw this building just before leaving town, the former H & W  Brewery. It is an impressive building not in use at this time. Hopefully, someone will step in and restore it.

H & W Brewery


We had a great tour of historic Dubuque and know there is more yet to discover in the future.


Dubuque – Iowa’s First City!

August 4 and 5, 2014  Day 1

Dubuque is a moderately large city of 58,000 with a rich history. It’s located on the banks of the Mississippi with both Illinois and Wisconsin visible across the river.  We entered the city crossing on the Wisconsin bridge, or Julien Dubuque Bridge.

Wisconsin Bridge into Dubuque

After crossing, we went left, heading to the Julien Dubuque Monument at Mines of Spain.  It is in a large natural area with many paths and a “water trail” to canoe on kayak on. We got oriented at the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center and found a two-sided historic marker.

E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center in Dubuque

Dubuque Mines of Spain marker

Historic Dubuque Marker


We got maps and directions to the Julien Dubuque monument and these are the coordinates of the parking lot closest to it, it was a bit difficult to find since we are not familiar with the area.

N42° 28.124       W090° 38.904

After parking, be sure to take this trail entrance, it is not marked real well.  Here is a map.

Dubuque Monument trailhead


Another burial site is found here, Mesquaki Indian Chief Peosta. He was a friend of Julien Dubuque.

Peosta, Fiend of Dubuque

 And now we come upon the monument itself.  Inside is the grave, behind protective bars.

Julien Dubuque Monument


Julien Dubuque gravesite

Surrounding Dubuque are many high bluffs, offering great views of the city below and the river. This was our first view, from a distance.  There is a considerable amount of train traffic here, the routes on both side of the river go alongside to minimize city traffic interference. You can see a train in this view. The train actually went right by us below. here it is approaching us.

Bubuque view from Mines of Spain lookout

CP Train Dubuque IowaAfter taking in this great site, we went to see a popular “ride” in Dubuque, the Fenelon Place Elevator. This is the view from the bottom in Cable Car Square downtown.  When it was put into operation on July 25, 1882 it was privately owned by J.K. Graves. It wasn’t long before neighbors were asking for a ride down too and by 1884 he did let them, for 5 cents a ride. Today the round trip is $3.   Drove to the top of the bluff to see another overlook at the station house above.  It was fun watching the cable cars go up and down.

Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque


Fenelon Place Elevator South Deck in DubuqueLet’s watch the ride!

What an incredible view of the city! This view is downtown, looking towards the Town Clock.

Dubuque Clock Tower view

And looking back towards the Wisconsin bridge that we came over.

Dubuque View of Wisconsin bridge

 After enjoying the view we headed down to the Welcome Center on 300 Main St. Ste. 100. This is the place to go to pick up info in Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Also souveniers!

Dubuque Visitors Center

Dubuque Welcome Center

 We were getting a bit hungry for lunch at this point (clock said 12:00 PM), so we decided to have our picnic at Eagle Point Park.  It is high atop another part of the bluff offering a great view of the Mississippi River and Lock and Dam #11.  If you drive in like we did, $1 admission. Walking in or biking is free.  They have many buildings on site that people can rent for events, many use stone in their construction.

Dubuque Eagle Point Park buildings

This is the majestic view of Lock and Dam #11.  Looking to the right from here, you could see the Illinois bridge.

Lock and Dam #11 Dubuque

 It was amazing, having three views of the city from high above in one day. Helped us learn where the landmarks are a lot faster.  After lunch, it was time to see the Mathias Ham House which is near the park. On site is also the oldest log cabin in Dubuque County, from 1827. They were not open on Monday.  No photos are allowed inside during the tour also.

Mathias Ham House Dubuque


1827 Log Cabin in Dubuque

Dubuque Log House plaque

This was a great park for our little siesta. We went downtown and found many beautiful historic buildings from the 1800’s. Storm clouds were gathering though, and they hit just at we arrived at Lot One for dinner. This building and the block that it’s in is historic also.  This was the first platted block in Dubuque.

Lot One restaurant in Dubuque

Lot One plaque


On Tuesday morning we ate at Jorja’s, which is not downtown.  It is located on 3130 Jackson St. Their motto is “Homestyle Cooking with Homestyle Prices”. Jorja Moore is the owner and is also well versed on Dubuque history. She told us about the H & W Brewery building next door. Lunch was wonderful too!

Jorja's Restaurant in Dubuque


They made us feel welcome here, as did all the people we encountered today.  We especially enjoyed our night’s stay at the Days Inn at 1111 Dodge St. It is only a couple miles from downtown and they had a wonderful breakfast the next morning. For only $57, we had a pleasant stay in Dubuque on a budget. The next day, we finished exploring downtown and also went to Ice Harbor.

Days Inn Dubuque