For a first blog I thought I would introduce you to the Blue Heron Knittery and to the town we are located in. Decorah, Ia, a small town in NE Iowa, has approximately 8,000 inhabitants plus around 2,000 Luther College students. We are part of a special area known as the Driftless. This is an area that was missed by the last glacier. This has left the area with picturesque hills, valleys and fantastic bluffs along the rivers. The typical preconceived notion is that all of Iowa is flat. That is not so, but you really do need to come and visit and see for yourselves. Another fun fact about Decorah is that it sits above an ancient a meteor impact crater.
Besides shopping there are many scenic and cultural attractions. First there is Vesterheim, or Western Home. This is the largest museum in the country dedicated to one ethnic group of people, the Norwegian immigrants. To really experience the museum you should plan on 3-4 hours to enjoy viewing over 33,000 artifacts, 12 historic buildings, a church moved from North Dakota and a mill. Vesterheim's mission is to tell the story of the Norwegian immigrant in America and how they adapted to the New World. Not to miss is the exhibit on handwork. There are wonderful examples of weaving, spinning, knitting, tatting, lacemaking and hardanger. Vesterheim has also become well known for their folkeskole (folk arts school), with classes on many different folk arts. They have brought in knitting instructors such as, Arnhild Hillesland, Beth Brown-Reinsel, Laura Ricketts and Elsabeth Lavold. For more info on Vesterheim go to vesterheim.org.
I like to recommend that people drive the few miles north of Decorah to visit Seed Savers. Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 with a mission of saving heirloom seeds and their stories. One of the first seeds collected and propagated for sale was Co-founder Diane Ott Whealy's grandfather's morning glories, Grandpa Ott's morning glories. Take a picnic lunch, walk through beautifully tended gardens or along the trails and learn about the process of saving heirloom seeds. Seedsavers.org
Decorah has around 670 acres of parks that the city Park and Rec Department maintains. The county adds another 700 acres for hiking and biking. There is an 11 mile paved biking/walking trail that meanders along the Upper Iowa river, along streams, by a farm, past prairie areas, through woods and under an eagle's nest (check out raptor resource project and the Decorah eagles), and a working fish hatchery. Other recreational activities are trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and tubing on the Upper Iowa River.
I encourage you to pick up your handwork and watch our slide show of scenes from Decorah and parks around Decorah. Many of the pictures are of park benches so you can picture yourself sitting and working on a project. The accompanying song was written and recorded by a talented group of local young people. Please, enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-nZ5Ptf4T0.