Over Labor Day weekend, the hubby and I took off for our annual camping trip…alone…without kids…or a dog! Just a weekend of him and me! I love our weekends away! I also love our boys, so don’t read something into that that isn’t, but if you’re a married couple with kids, you’ll get me! It’s a time where you can just focus on each other without any distractions!
So anyway, we took off Friday to the Amana Colonies in Amana, Iowa! We had made our reservations online previously for the Amana RV Park & Event Center! Check in was easy and smooth (they gave us tourism guides and coupons, which was great) and we were led by a member of our staff right to our spot where they also helped us get lined up correctly on our pad! (What we didn’t know prior to arriving was that there was also an AKC Dog Show going on at the exact same time and there were 1500 dogs on the grounds! Thank goodness we had decided to leave Nike at home with my mom!)
The next morning we took off to explore the colonies as my husband had never been there before, but I’ve been going since I can remember. We ventured from Amana over to West Amana where we checked out the Broom & Basket Shop complete with Iowa’s Largest Walnut Rocking Chair! It was fun to look over all the knick knacks that have been hand made!
Next we went to Middle Amana to check out the Communal Kitchen (we had prepared ourselves for where we wanted to go by going through their Tourism guide the night before and these were some things that I had never done, but looked interesting). We were disappointed when we got their to find out that we needed tickets to get into these historical places and those needed to be purchased back in Amana. We really didn’t feel like driving back and forth so we opted out..maybe next time!
Back to Amana we went to peruse the shops including leather, the General Store, the Furniture Shop, The Woolen Mill, Millstream Brewing Company, and the meat shop! (Wine tasting would be with my best girlfriend from college the following day!).
Lunch of course, could only be had at the Ox Yoke Inn!! Other than a deli sandwich from the Bakery, I’ve never eaten at anywhere else in the Amana Colonies! The best thing about the Ox Yoke is how good everything tastes. I always order the same thing and have for years, Chicken Schnitzel , which is a flattened chicken breast dredged in cracker meal and sauteed quickly (according to the website). T (the hubby) ordered the Traditional Chicken. The menu says this is “two or four pieces lightly coated with our own seasoned breading. Deep fried in a special blend of refined soybean oil for full flavor and moistness”. Of course, both of these needed to be ordered family style! The waitress quickly brought our cold “salads” which consisted of coleslaw and cottage cheese. The coleslaw I love because the cabbage is chopped instead of shredded and the dressing is flavorful without being overbearing. The cottage cheese (T’s favorite) also has fresh chives cut into it and gives it a real fresh taste! Next came our entrees, quickly and pipping hot! My chicken was served (as always) with Spatzle noodles, which I love..especially the bread crumbs sprinkled on top! Our hot side dishes included: mashed potatoes (real and with the red skins on), brown gravy (which to me taste like a liquid roast beef), sauerkraut (YUM), and corn. We were thankful for family style because we had to have our mashed potatoes and gravy refilled! T worked the corn over while I ate almost the entire bowl of sauerkraut by myself. Don’t forget the fresh bread and homemade strawberry preserves, which I finished off all by myself as well! Of course, we were stuffed to the gills and happy! We strolled through the streets a bit longer before heading back to the campground for an afternoon nap!
Sunday was a day to relax and catch up with my girlfriend from college who came to see us. I also managed to come away with three bottles of wine from Ackerman Winery including the Autumn Blend, Lover’s Wine, & Rhubarb Wine. I also picked up some smoked cheddar cheese and my favorite, Onion Cheese!!
Of course, any visit to the Amana Colonies would not be complete without a trip to the Bakery! We decided to just try a few things instead of bringing home lots. T tried the Fudge Brownie, Pumpkin Bar with Cream Cheese Frosting, & The Giant Cinnamon Roll! I tasted the Cream Cheese Pocket (ok, I actually tasted 2 of them and they weren’t new to me, but they are my favorite), the Apple Dumpling, & the Caramel Nut Roll. It was all great! The Pumpkin Bar was T’s favorite, while the Cream Cheese Pockets are always mine! Don’t forget to stop by the Meat Shop while you’re down there! We picked up a jar of the Amana Colonies Sauerkraut, some smoked chops, Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, & Natural Casing Wieners! All so yummy!
Overall, it was a great weekend and I highly recommend it to all couples. If you don’t camp, there are several surrounding towns that have hotels and there are lots of quaint bed & breakfasts in the colonies themselves!