One of the many perks about studying in a small town is that it has the least distractions around you as compared to studying in the city. So far, living in Decorah has been nothing but peaceful for me. I find myself being able to achieve the goals I’ve set out for myself without too much of unnecessary pressure. I also don’t spend as much money as I used to because we can get almost whatever we need on campus and it’s not always convenient for us students to get around places outside of school as we’ll have to walk or get a ride from the school’s shopping shuttle (which is actually a great thing, because then we’re able to learn how to manage ourselves financially). Walking from place to place may not be the culture I grew up with back at home, but over here, there wasn’t any other way we (the students) could get around unless we own a car. However, the tranquility of the atmosphere here in Decorah doesn’t make the distance seem like it’s going to be a long and tiring walk, especially in the evening when you can watch the sun set down the prairie.
The weather in Decorah has been moody lately. It could hit 70°F (21°C) one day and 39°F (4°C) the next! But as of now, the weather for fall break has been in our favor consistently. It is about 66°F (19°C) almost every day, which is perfect. I’ve been going to downtown Decorah a lot recently (mostly to eat actually…) as I’m staying in Luther for fall break. What I love most about the long stretch of shops and stores in the town is the individual aesthetic appeal to it. It’s mostly the classic brick architecture you can find in any town similar to Decorah.
The food in downtown Decorah is just as great as the scenery. There’s a variety of cuisines and dining options everywhere which are affordable for the students (and definitely worth it!). I first dined in one of the restaurants downtown during orientation week after we had our complimentary ‘welcome ice cream’ in Sugar Bowl. One of my friends had dinner there once before, and she recommended us to check it out sometime. But we decided to have our first impromptu dinner then and there instead. That place is Koreana, an Asian restaurant that serves sushi and all kinds of Japanese and Korean dishes (with a little bit of American-fused flavors to it). About two weeks later, we decided to head over to Don Jose, a family restaurant that serves authentic Mexican food which also has a lovely outdoor patio seating area to dine in. But as of now, I would safely say that the best meal anyone can get around here is from Old Armory BBQ Chop House. They have amazing barbecued meat that comes along with a generous portion of sides that are just as delicious, which complements the set.
Speaking of generous portions, Whippy Dip (the ice cream hotspot for Luther students as well as the residents of Decorah) serves one of the tastiest ice creams that comes in a great portion that’s worth more than its price! I’ve visited that place a couple of times with my friends and host family whenever we feel like spending time together over a cup (or cone) of good snack. Unfortunately, it’s only open for a short period of time and it’s closed for the season. As for shopping, there are plenty of stores that supply a wide range of necessities. You can opt to get groceries from the Oneota Co-op instead of Walmart for a change once awhile, clothes and shoes from boutiques like JC Penney’s, knitting needs etc. The stores and restaurants downtown close early, so the area is pretty much quiet in the late evening. But it’s also a great time to take a stroll around with a friend.