This summer, we received a beautiful postcard from the Amana Colonies near Cedar Rapids, IA. The postcard was sent by a friend of ours, Jen Van Winkle and one of her friends, June Biggs. Jen and I have been friends for more than a decade. We met when I was working in the cable industry and Jen, a middle school language arts teacher in Lincoln, Neb., was awarded my company’s National Teacher Award. I had the privilege of taking Jen and some of her colleagues to the awards ceremony in Washington D.C. We sat next to each other on the plane, struck up a conversation, talked the entire flight, and have been friends ever since.

Like us, Jen loves to travel and has taken lots of opportunities to see the world and she continually inspires her students to want to do the same.

This summer, Jen and June decided to take a relaxing road trip before the start of their school year. They drove from their homes in eastern Nebraska across the state of Iowa to the Amana Colonies. The Colonies have been a treasure on the Iowa prairie for more than 150 years. Located just minutes from I-80, the seven villages of the Amana Colonies offer visitors the opportunity to step back from today’s busy pace, to relish in the comfort of locally crafted foods, furniture, art and more. The Colonies offer a unique history and culture found nowhere else in the world.

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While Jen and June had a great stay at Rose’s Place Bed and Breakfast and enjoyed strolling through the Colonies in the warmth of summer, there are also lots of events in the winter months, as well. Next week on Jan. 23, the Colonies will host Winterfest in the Amanas. Winterfest is a celebration of the experience of winter in the Amana Colonies. You’ll find a wide variety of activities including a 5K run/Walk, Outdoor games, Open Fire Chili, a Wine Walk featuring samples of locally made wine and beer, and a dance to name just a few.

Sounds like a great place to celebrate winter in the Midwest — just dress warmly! Thanks again, Jen and June for sending us postcard from the Amana Colonies and for all you’re doing to educate tomorrow’s leaders (and travelers).

[well]When you’re traveling next, be sure to send us a postcard at Postcard Jar, P.O. Box 334, Crete, NE 68333. We’d love to hear from you![/well]

 

  • We had a few windy days in the #FloridaKeys this week that stirred up the waters. It created the most gorgeous colors in the Atlantic Ocean including this area at Sombrero Beach.
  • We miss waking up on the Celebrity Edge. That's all.
  • We've been having the best time in the Florida Keys visiting Steve's mom and dad this week. Today, it was cold for Floridians, but we loved the sunshine (and were thankful for awesome neighbors who were likely shoveling the snow from our driveway back home).⁣
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We are so thankful for a flexible schedule and opportunities like this one to share time with family. Life seems to pass us by so quickly the older we get and we're fortunate to be able to travel and share experiences with the people we love most. ⁣
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Feeling especially blessed tonight, in the beautiful Florida Keys.
  • We enjoyed a delicious dinner tonight at Hideaway Cafe on Grassy Key with Steve's mom and dad. We went early at 5 p.m. for the sunset dinner menu which has smaller portions and the most beautiful views of the sunset. ⁣
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The food was fresh and made-to-order and served by gracious and professional staff who made us feel right at home. ⁣
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Hideaway is a great restaurant choice for dinner if you're in the Florida Keys. Get a reservation ahead of time, as it fills up quickly, even at 5 p.m.
  • Need some inspiration for staying healthy while traveling? Good news! We are taking over the @noom Instagram stories this afternoon and hope you’ll all follow along as we share tips on how to make healthy living choices while on a cruise ship. We’ll take you inside the beautiful @celebritycruises Edge and show you how we stayed on track with our Noom goals while still enjoying a fantastic cruise vacation. Be sure to follow @noom! Our takeover has just begun. 😁
  • The Rooftop Garden is a unique space on the top deck of the @celebrityedge. There’s no water slide on this ship, no go-carts, and the’s no rock wall for climbing. Instead the Rooftop Garden provides a “living urban playscape inspired by childhood playgrounds and designed to waken the inner child in all of us,” according to the Celebrity Cruises website. There are live plants, comfortable outdoor seating, and unique art installations that set the space apart from anything else at sea. @cruisecelebrity
  • Blu is a restaurant on the Celebrity Edge that is dedicated to guests in Aqua Class.  It serves “clean, crisp flavors and inventive cuisine” in a gorgeous blue venue. To give you an example of the types of entrees served, for dinner tonight Blu is offering seared duck breast with wilted chard, farro risotto, and black cherry jus; a cracked pepper corn-crusted tuna salad, watercress, and dijon vinaigrette; and pumpkin gnocchi with sautéed arugula, sundries tomatoes, marinated artichokes, goat cheese and basil pesto. What would you order?
  • Yes, cruise ships are huge, but if you do a little exploring, you’ll find that the designers have included many small spots perfect for intimate conversation and watching the world go by. We found this nook in Eden, on deck 5 of the Celebrity Edge, near the stern.

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