A group of German Pietists moved to what has become the Amana Colonies in 1855 and lived a communal lifestyle until the 1930’s forming seven villages. They managed to maintain a self sufficient local economy for 80 years which is quite the feat considering how small this community is. Today, the Amana’s a charming retreat for those seeking to get handmade/handcrafted foods and household goods. The Amana’s are well worth the journey once you see just how much of a hidden gem this area is.
- Ox Yoke Inn–4420 220th Trail- Their Sunday brunch will put some of the ones in Des Moines to shame with how much food is offered and their table’s worth of homemade desserts to choose from. They even serve authentic German food like sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel and American favorites like catfish and pork chops. Their regular menu offers hearty portions as well so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t come for Sunday brunch.
- Millstream Brewery– 835 48th Avenue-Millstream is the first brewery to operate in the Amana’s since 1884 and the first micro brewery in Iowa. Their root beer and cream soda are just as good as their beer selections Their beer range from Pale Ales to stouts and they offer a variety of seasonal beers year round. Be sure to get a growler of whatever you end up liking so you can continue to enjoy your favorite at home.
- Amana Woolen Mill-800 48th Avenue- Make a point of visiting this store especially if you’re in need of a quality blanket/throw or any number of other handmade items found here. The blankets are both soft and durable even after multiple washings. They also sell beautiful Merino wool scarves and their throws would be perfect for picnics. These blankets put the ones you’ll find at the big box stores to shame.
- Amana General Store-4423 220th Trail- This is what all general stores should strive to be like with their wide assortment of fun/practical items as well as a fully decked Christmas room that enables you to buy gorgeous Christmas items year-round. Buy a bag of the Amana Coffee especially in the snickerdoodle flavor. This is perfect for children to find something fun just as much as their parents and grandparents.
- Amana Furniture and Clock Shop–724 8th Avenue- This store not only makes custom furniture but welcomes customers to bring in their own ideas and they’ll work with you to create your dream item. They offer the largest clock selection with over 100 to pick from. They sell furniture handcrafted in Amana as well as leather furniture from Bradington-Young. Their Newport Rockers would make a great gift for a baby shower.
- Village Winery–752 48th Avenue- Village Winery is the best spot to get wine for those who don’t really like wine and for those who like a sweeter variety. They feature over a dozen wines made with fruits like Cranberry and Apple and there’s even a dandelion wine. They give plenty of free samples so you’ll know that whatever wine you end up buying will be something you have tasted and loved. Their gift shop has a lot of cute items so if you’re more interested in shopping than in drinking, this store has something for you too.
- Zuber’s Homestead Hotel– 2206 44th Avenue- If you’re planning on making your visit a weekend stay, Zubar’s will give you a memorable stay. Each room is decorated to celebrate Iowa’s heritage. You’ll get a complimentary buffet style breakfast with your stay that comes with fruit, hot dishes as well as an assortment of pastries/breads. The owners are incredibly good at making sure your time there goes smoothly and is a relaxing visit.
- Fern Hill Gifts and Quilts–103 220th Trail- Fern Hills has a large selection of Iowa made quilts as well as antiques and gift items. They have 3 floors of goods so you can easily spend a few hours finding treasures for both yourself and for loved ones. For the quilters they have over 4,000 bolts of fabric and quilting kits that come in a variety of styles. The orange chocolate swirl fudge is a must try.
- Amana Colonies Golf Club–451 27th Avenue- In case you’re wanting to do more than just shop or eat, the Amana Colonies Golf club has been featured in national magazines like Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The course offers 5 sets of tees designed to accommodate players of all skill sets. They have a newly constructed clubhouse that is 2,200 square feet that would be a perfect setting for a family reunion or wedding reception. This course is one of the more breathtaking courses in Iowa.
- Heritage Haus–4402 220th Trail-Heritage Haus is a foodie’s heaven with their 22 varieties of wine, 30 varieties of imported and domestic cheeses and the squeaky cheese curds which are one of their best selling items. They have harder find flavored cheeses like garlic cheese, chocolate cheese and even a super hot jalapeno cheese. You can find gourmet crackers, mustards and coffees/teas to go with your cheese purchases. This is the perfect place to put together a gift basket with quality, hard to find food items.
For those interested in making a trip to Decorah, click here to find out the top places to visit there.