You don't want to miss Luther College when you visit Decorah. Founded in 1861, its acreage encompasses beautiful bluffs and expansive prairie, as well as sections of the Upper Iowa River. There is always a buzz of activity during the academic year from student plays to professional music in the state-of-the-art Center for Faith and Life to various sporting activities, if that piques your interest.
The college music program provides top-notch concerts, and there are walking and hiking trails easily accessible throughout campus. Just hopping on the elaborate, interconnected sidewalks to take a tour of campus is also worth it.
It's simply a must-see destination in fall when the colors of crimson, amber, and burnt-orange collide on the tree-laden campus and the gorgeous surrounding bluffs. There is a beautiful deck area on the rear of the student union where you can take in the majesty of the colors, soaking in the crisp air and perhaps sipping on a pumpkin latte from Marty's, the café and eatery in the lower level of the union.
It gives you a great view of campus as well and you might just hear shouts and cheers from the "We Bleed Blue" crowd taking in an early-fall football game with the Luther Norsemen giving their all against a formidable opponent.
Around Christmas, there are a variety of concerts that are certainly a difficult ticket score. The campus is decorated for the season and the melodious tones of carolers might even be heard. A stop here over the holidays can quickly become a tradition as you won't want to miss all that's offered.
For those who are more adventurous, there is a disc golf course and several easy-access trails for hiking or enjoying the rippling current of the Upper Iowa. Walking along the river trails is a favorite activity during the summer months when you might spot a deer or a group of tubers reveling in all the river has to offer. Then cross the road to continue your hike among the varied vegetation in the sprawling prairie, being careful to leave this pristine area just the way you found it.
As you can see, you don't need to be a college student to appreciate the wealth of amenities available at the Luther College campus. Whether as a detour or part of a scheduled road trip across the state or just up the street, I recommend taking some time to explore its wonders any season you have the chance.