In the bluffs of northeast Iowa, Decorah has a lot going for it: a spectacular location, a scenic bicycle trail, fine restaurants and a rich cultural scene rarely found in a town of only 8,000.
Details: See A pocket of Norway.
Past fast plans: Fall on the St. Croix, Capital of cheese, North Shore in fall, Swiss in New Glarus, Fun in the Porkies
Oktoberfest in Amana, Iowa. Listen to German music and watch teams roll kegs, walk a balance beam with full steins of beer and saw logs. A parade is at 10 a.m. Saturday Sept. 30Oct. 2.
Fall Heritage Festival in Mount Horeb, Wis. This town west of Madison offers fjord horses, buggy rides, a Norwegian breakfast, a mini tractor pull, rosemaling and lefse-making demonstrations and photo opps with Jorgen the Troll. Oct. 12.
Big Island Rendezvous and Festival in Albert Lea, Minn. See more than 1,000 re-enactors dancing, demonstrating, competing and pulling visitors back into the fur-trade era. Oct. 12.
For more events, see our Events Calendar.
During harvest time in a vineyard, turning purple has nothing to do with the Minnesota Vikings.
is what you'll be if you get into a wooden tub of grapes and try to
turn them into juice with your bare feet.
Vineyards don't get their juice that way anymore, but many still offer a grape stomp, and there's nothing goofier to do on an autumn day.
There are prizes for
those who extract the most juice and those who show the most "style,''
so wearing a creative costume helps.
When fall arrives, we get a sudden urge to hoist a stein of beer, eat a grilled bratwurst and listen to red-cheeked men in little felt hats play the accordion.
Fall belongs to the Germans, who streamed into the Upper Midwest in the 1850s and still are the largest ethnic group in every state. Which is a good thing, because Germans like to have fun.
On a crisp, sunny fall day, we all get the urge to go for a drive.
The countryside is alight with color, and there's a lot going on art-studio tours, corn mazes, hay rides and harvest festivals in every little town.
And you'll be chasing the colors, of course.
You probably could throw a dart at the map and find a pretty spot, but here are 15 routes that we think are especially beautiful.
In fall, you don't need to limit yourself to seeing the colors while speeding by in a car or even at a snail's pace from a hiking trail.
You also can watch the show on horseback, by boat or from a train. Or try a different kind of conveyance say, covered wagon, dog team or gondola.
The important thing is get out there and see as much as you can while it lasts. Here are 10 cool ways to view the hues.
In this part of the world, fall is sweet but way too short.
All of the quaint little towns along rivers and in the bluffs have to pack their autumn festivals into the same six weekends, rolling out parades, pumpkin contests and oompah bands for all the leaf-peeping tourists.
choices are paralyzing. Flea market or scarecrow contest? Pumpkin regatta or studio tour? Yodeling contest or dachshund races?
You can't do it all, but you can do a lot. Just go on a power trip to two, even three festivals in one weekend.
At most waterfalls, people mainly sit, look and take pictures.
Not at Tahquamenon Falls.
Here, people duck under the falls, wade through them, row out to them and hike between them on a five-mile riverside path that's part of the North Country National Scenic Trail.
The waterfalls are the big attraction in Michigan's second-largest state park, on the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula. Even more novel is the park's brewpub, a popular stop for tourists on the Circle Tour of Lake Superior.
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