Winneshiek County is largely rural and agricultural, which makes it perfect for an autumn outing. The air is crisp and the leaves are nearing peak splendor. Approximately 690 square miles makes up the county, with five major highways for fun fall travel. These four awesome autumn destinations are sure to help you and yours create wonderful family memories.
- Decorah Fish Hatchery: Located off Siewers Spring Road in Decorah, the fish hatchery is open 365 days each year. Shasta Strain Rainbow and Saint Croix Strain Brook Trout are raised at the hatchery. There are 15 streams and five urban lakes that depend on the hatchery for stocking. The fish are raised in three rubber lined urban ponds and 24 cement flow through raceways. Hours of operation are available online.
- Heritage Farm and Seed Savers Exchange: The Seed Savers Exchange is located on Heritage Farm just six miles north of Decorah along North Winn Road. The limestone rock formations, white pine woods, and trickling streams in the area create a beautiful landscape around the farm. Heritage Farm is home to Ancient White Park Cattle. The orchard contains historic grapes and apple varieties. The 890-acre farm boasts numerous heirloom varieties of plants in the preservation gardens, which are open to visitors. Heirloom seeds may be purchased on the SSE website.
- Winneshiek Farmers Market: The outdoor Winneshiek Farmers Market is located along River Road in Decorah. The market operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May till the end of October. Vendors offer a variable bounty of baked goods, crafts, dairy products, meat, and produce. Apples, cheeses, pears, crafts, jewelry, and preserves are plentiful at the farmers market during the autumn months. Visit the website for detailed directions and hours of operation.
- Winneshiek Wildberry Winery: The Winneshiek Wildberry Winery is located on a family farm operated by Ken and Yvonne Barnes on 337th Street in Decorah. Lunch is served from May through October. The outdoor patio is the perfect lunch spot during October as the trees are arrayed in autumn splendor. Wine baskets are sold year round with cheese and crackers in the gift shop. Please visit the website for information on group tours, menu or wedding venue rentals.
(Photo is courtesy of Visiting Seed Savers Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa as uploaded by Susy Morris at Flickr’s Creative Commons.)