Over the last five years, I’ve been drawn to travel. It started out with a trip to see my sister in Florida (girl trip), that made me realize that I hadn’t ventured out for a very long time-even places to see within driving distance of where we live (Quad Cities). Since that trip, I have made sure to get the family out of the house whenever possible to do mini trips as well as some more “girl trips” too.
We just got back from Mall of America (loved it-a separate post on that one), and even though we plan on going back in October, I still had the “traveling bug” in me and I just needed to go on a trip. Since I was still recovering (financially!) from our Mall of America trip, I wondered if we could just do a short driving trip that would still be fun.
We love to go to Des Moines, Iowa to check out the malls and restaurants, but I didn’t feel like driving that far. We decided that it might be fun to go to Tanger Outlet Mall and go to a nice restaurant while out there. The hubby suggested that while out that way, we should stop by the Amana Colonies and maybe eat lunch there.
While I’ve been to Tanger quite a few times, I haven’t been to the Amana Colonies since a little girl. So, we got everything together and headed out!
First stop: Tanger Outlet Mall
Tanger Outlet is my favorite shopping center for deals! I love the deals I get from my favorite stores-especially, Nike and Under Armour. I know Outlet centers sizes can be off, but I just make sure to try on everything to make sure it fits fine. There even is a Coach store with awesome deals as well for you Coach lovers.
The drive is well worth it; the parking lot is always clean with lots of parking, and the sales people are always friendly and helpful as well. This mall has been around for awhile, but still looks just like new and a pleasant shopping experience. As you can see, we went a bit overboard with the shopping!
Even though we planned on eating on our next stop, there were plenty of options for after you work up an appetite. Subway is our usual stop for lunch, but they also have a McDonalds conveniently located on the same lot among other restaurants, like Arby’s and even a Red Lobster.
Next stop: Amana Colonies
After we blew up the credit cards, we drove to the Amana Colonies (20 minutes away). I had totally forgotten how big the village was! There seemed to be endless shops and cafes down the flower decorated streets. It’s almost like you went back in time when you visit this quiet little gem of a town.
Make sure you bring your appetite too, because there are quite a few of tasty treats to choose from. You could treat yourself to the traditional, family style German dining that the Ox Yoke Inn serves (this is where we ate!).
The hubby’s prime rib plate-I stole a bite!
I had a brat-excuse the mayo I lathered on.
You must try their famous beer too-we bought a mug as well.
There are other places to eat as well, like Heritage Haus and if you find yourself needing some delicious coffee, be sure to stop at The Chocolate Haus – Dessert and Coffee Cafe and don’t forget to buy some fudge while there as well.
Of course, we had to stop in to sample some of their award winning wine from one of the local wineries. The Amana Colonies also houses Iowa’s first microbrewery featuring award winning handcrafted brews. Two bottles of wine and some aged cheese made it home with us as well.
Oh, don’t forget to stop in The Christmas Room while there. Rooms of beautifully decorated Christmas trees and other Christmas decor. I took a million photos of their decor for ideas for this Christmas!
We had such a fun time and wished that we could have stayed longer, but since we came on a holiday (July 4th), they closed at 4pm. Something we need to remember next time. We also plan on bringing back some of their famous meat from the meat shop our next visit.
Here are some more photos I got while exploring the many shops:
We ended our day stopping at the Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville for a quick walk around the mall-a tradition that we do since we pass it on the way home. We didn’t buy anything there this time, but I love their clean mall and visiting the stores that we don’t have in our mall at home.
So, if you live in the Quad Cities and are looking for a fun way to spend a weekend without having to drive/fly thousands of miles, I recommend either a shopping trip at Tanger Outlet in Williamsburg, Iowa, or spend the day at the Amana Colonies-or both!
Do you live in the Quad Cities? Where do you like to go for a mini trip?