Saturday, August 18, 2012

Better with time: Five awesome things in Decorah that are, well, awesomer

Remember Bernadine’s? How about Oddfellows? They’re now combined into one fabulous sports bar and pub, thanks to our classmate Dominique (Ells) Bockman and her husband, Mike Bockman. Dom, Mike and Mike’s brother, Mark, renovated the Oddfellows space and brought Bernadine’s great burger recipe. They’ve been serving up great eats and cold beer in a family-friendly atmosphere ever since.

4. Half-Baked Mabe's Pizzas
“I wish I could just bring Mabe's home with me.” Guess what? Now you can. If you haven’t been to a Luther alumni event (which frequently feature Mabe's pizzas, thanks to the half-bake formula), you can bring home a half-bake to finish off in your oven and eat later. Simply call Mabe's and place your order (they’re available in any size or variety) – and bring the magic home with you.

Twenty years ago, there was a little strip of trail that followed the river from Main Street to the Decorah Campground. Today, there’s an 11-mile loop that connects central Decorah, the Fish Hatchery and the campground, offering a paved surface with gorgeous views of Decorah’s amazing natural landscape. The Trout Run Trail is now open, thanks to the generous support of area residents and businesses. Enjoy a run, walk or bike ride and take it all in.

2. Decorah Eagles
A few years ago, a family of eagles took up residence in a tree adjacent to the Decorah Fish Hatchery. The Raptor Resource Project rigged a webcam to watch their nest and the eagles became instant celebrities. For the past two years, over a million people have watched online as the eagles hatch their eaglets, including many school children hoping to learn more about these amazing creatures. Hundreds of visitors have come to Decorah to see the nest for themselves. You can, too. Head out to the Fish Hatchery – always a great afternoon of feeding trout, enjoying the stream and watching eagles swoop majestically along the limestone bluffs.

1. Luther’s Campus
Luther’s campus remains one of the most scenic in the Midwest. Updates and renovations in the past 20 years have made it more so. Check out the Dahl Centennial Union, the outdoor commons area next to the Luther bell, The Regents Center (field house), the Center for the Arts, the new science building and the Towers – just to name a few. And you can't miss the college's new wind turbine - just one of many initiatives that is making the college more sustainable.

It’s all here and it’s waiting for you – join us at Homecoming Oct. 5-7.

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