Family Adventures · Northeast Iowa

The Greatest Decorah Christmas of All-Time: Day 1 of 2


Decorah, IA: Winneshiek County (Our 41st county!)

*Our stay here was complimentary. The opinions expressed on this blog post are of our own.

We have adventured our way through Iowa dozens of times and never have we decided to stray from home for Christmas… until 2016. I have written many great things about the splendor of Iowa and this may be the most sentimental article we have ever posted on The Iowa Gallivant. We chose Decorah for a holiday getaway and we left with a lot of pressure that’ll be put on every Christmas from here on out for Team Goodvin. Our greatest family Christmas starts here….

See that picture of Leah and JayJay? That was our collective reaction when we drove up to Whitetail Cabin. You would have my reaction too if you opened the fridge and saw the present for elders of Team Goodvin. Not to mention a sugary gift from Pinters that we all enjoyed. This wintery home had a warm stove with futons, a comfortable recliner, large flat screen TV in the basement, and a master bedroom with a kitchen and everything you need to cook a great meal or tear apart a whole deer with your bare hands on the upper level. There was also a huge porch for those summer months in Decorah. You can rough it at this cabin or enjoy all the modern perks it provides. I could have hunkered down here for weeks, but I knew there was much more to see in Decorah. And as always we needed to start with a hot meal…

We headed our way to Stone Hearth Inn and got a table right in front on the fireplace and watched the food roll in. We ordered a huge bowl of fettuccine Alfredo, a chicken Caesar wrap, a very cheesy bowl of French onion soup, and all you can eat fried cod battered with beer from one of the local breweries. Our servers welcomed us in and we quickly picked up on a very noticeable divide between the Decorah citizens. There were Packers, Vikings, and Bears fans everywhere. We felt right at home! (Charlie=Packers fan < Dad=Bears fan) Dinner was delicious and filling and we headed back to the car for a drive at Decorah’s famous Holiday Lights, Magical Nights organized by Helping Services for Youth & Families. The pictures are but a very small sample of what you see at one of Iowa’s best array of holiday lights. And one of the coolest surprises…..A drive-thru Santa Claus!

Just down the road from the lights we all enjoyed were two establishments pumping out Christmas miracles all year long. JayJay stocked up on stocking stuffers at Pulpit Rock and Toppling Goliath Breweries!

Decorah has become a premier destination for craft beer lovers and a visit to these two breweries tells me why. The beer masters working the bars at both Pulpit Rock and Toppling Goliath were not only knowledgeable, but friendly, and fun to be around. Both places were getting their typical Friday night rushes going, but they still had time to talk beer with me. And the meaning of life. Which involves craft beer. Now that can bring a tear to a glass eye, folks. I think Yukon Cornelius would love these two places.

The first night in Decorah was in the books. But not until we threw down on an intense game of Uno, thoughtfully included in the cabin’s box of games provided for its visitors, and a bowl of Cookies N’ Cream ice cream at the dining room table at the cabin. We dove into our cozy beds and prepared ourselves for day 2! This was the eve of Christmas Eve and we had plans of shopping local/small, and digging into as many family operated businesses as we could the next day. The Decorah holiday hospitality has just begun. Stay tuned for day 2…..

This article isn’t done yet! Team Goodvin has just started roll’n on the Upper Iowa River with this holiday getaway in Decorah.

Hey! Be sure to read about Day 2 in Decorah by clicking here!

Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin

6 thoughts on “The Greatest Decorah Christmas of All-Time: Day 1 of 2

  1. I love a well-written article, and couldn’t wait for page 2! Thanks for mentioning Helping Services’ Holiday Lights. Your whole visit makes me want to go on vacation too… in my own back yard!

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