The summer travel season in America begins Memorial Day weekend, when most retirees avoid the iconic national and state parks filled with excited crowds trying to fit a measurable amount of time into a twenty-four or thirty-six-hour time limit.

My Harvest Host membership has become a travel companion when I want to avoid crowded campgrounds during a holiday weekend.

From my early childhood through my college years, I used a library card catalog which prepared me for my computerized travel research and planning to become an essential part of my nomadic lifestyle. 

I usually have several definite options as I organized my Memorial Day Weekend trip utilizing my Harvest Host membership with stops at several destinations without any RV Campgrounds visits

Image courtesy of

My journey began from the Lakeshore Resort in Oelwine, IA, traveling northbound for forty-two miles to the Pivo Brewery in Calmar, IA.
Image courtesy of

I enjoyed an incredibly tasty Scottish Stout Beer with a medium size pretzel. I decided against the large pretzel when I saw it on a customer’s plate, which could have held a twelve -fifteen-pound turkey.

PIVO Brewery
Image courtesy of PIVO Brewery:

The outdoor patio is a welcoming setting with a secondary building capable of hosting seventy-five to one hundred people. The kitchen produces several appetizers along with full meals. 

Image courtesy of PIVO Brewery:
Image captured by the author at PIVO Brewery:

Foxy sat upon a level gravel parking lot, surrounded by the sights of farmland made ever more beautiful during the sun easing below the Iowa horizon.


Image of the skylight captured by the author
Image of the skylight captured by the author

The bright sun streamed through the skylight of a cool spring morning when I began preparations for my twenty-mile drive to my next Harvest Host destination. I traveled along a two-lane road of rolling hills, farmlands on each side, effortlessly with calm attentiveness guided by GPS towards the Winneshiek Wildberry Winery.

Turning into the driveway of the Winneshiek Wildberry Winery, its presence is punctuated with a white three-level home facing the road. The white barn behind the house decorated with a barn quilt emblem majestically posing for the visitors.

The interior is decorated with modern wood-finishing tasting room, an oak bar, a gift shopping area, and a large patio. Four or five small bird feeders next to the home had dozens of birds flying around, filling the spring air tweeting their songs. I met Beth, who greeted me with the warmth and hospitality of family as she directed me to my parking location, and I felt I was home.

The winery is a 160-year-old family-owned and operated farm with twenty-two acres of vineyard and two acres of rhubarb specializing in award-winning fruit and midwestern grape table wines.

Image captured by the author
Image captured by the author of cheese, cracker and olives appetizer

The cheese and cracker appetizer was tasteful along with the flight of wines I tasted.

A harvest Host couple arrived and shared my table and we enjoy several hour of travel talk, and their pets were eager to pose for these photos.

When the morning sun approached the horizon, the songbirds began their musical making it hard for me leave the picturesque setting with three to four hundred-year-old- trees. But, I had one more harvest host stop sixty-seven miles northbound in Rochester, MN.


Image courtesy of Little Thistle Brewing Co.
Image courtesy of the Little Thistle Brewing Co.

I traveled seventy-one miles out of northeast Iowa towards the city of Rochester, MN, for I only new of its world renown Mayo Clinic. This was my first visit and like so many place I have been, there’s so much more to every destination.

The Little Thistle Brewery is located in a business warehouse area that parralles the Douglas bicycle trail connecting several local parks totaling twelve plus miles. many of the bicyclist stop for a beer or othher tasty beverages and with so much bicycle traffic, contruction in the process of building a off ramp from the bicycle trail.

The Stout beer I choose was “Drop it Like It’s Bock” (Doppelbock), a German Style Dark larger. The Brewery has no kitchen but scheduled local food trucks arrives for the outdoorsy feel of this place family, pet and bicycle friendly with a game room.

I parked in their parking lot and it was a quiet evening with no noise, and enjoyed my stay talking with other customers. Steve and Dawn are the owners who have developed a great beer garden for locals and it was a wonderful experience.


My three days of driving took between half an hour to an hour and a half, including my final stop at a Craker Barrel, a 70-mile journey. When I arrived, the Memorial Day crowds were present with a filled parking lot.

I settled in for the day and evening to awakened in the morning an enjoy a small breakfast before heading north to my final destination at Ham Lake Resort campground, in Ham Lake MN. I enjoyed a weekend of Havcest Host Hopping, driving a total of two-hundred fifty-four miles.

By Expedition Nomadic Adventurer

As a retiree travel blogger touring the US, voicing my wisdom, opinion, and thoughts about the retirement lifestyle and life in general. I'm an aspiring pre-published indie author of baby boomer romance and adventures with a whimsical comedic side. I photograph wildlife and landscapes, mountain, biking, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking. I travel the back roads and highways of America, Canada, and Mexico, documenting my adventures via print and photography.

One thought on “Triple “H,” Weekend!”
  1. Marty, just wanted to let you know how much Kathy and I enjoyed your visit at the quilt shop. I’ve been thinking your short story since then and felt like I needed to let you know that there’s another little tidbit you might have interest in incorporating if you use the crazy quilt theme… it’s considered good luck to put a spider and a spiders web on your crazy quilts. Each of my blocks has and embroidered web and I usually use tiny buttons or beads for the body of the spider. Sometimes I’ve used partial lace doilies as the spider web for variation. I can send you pictures if you need a visual.
    Didn’t know if that would interest you, but I thought I’d let you know in case you weren’t aware. Take care!

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