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Series: Dating Idea Summer 2011: Downtown Cedar Falls

If you didn’t do what I did you might doubt it, but you’d be amazed how many couples end up on the chopping block simply because they didn’t take the time to chum around and have fun.  It seems like too simple of a cure, but, really, folks, it’s unreal how much more resilient couples get if they LIKE EACH OTHER!

There’s a reason they got together in the first place, but often finishing their education, making it in their careers and raising kids takes priority and they put each other on hold.  If they spend any time together it’s with the kids and going to the kids’ things, but that’s really NOT developing their own interests!  Then they grow apart because interests change over time.

I was 23 when I got married.  I’ll be 60 in a few months.  My interests have changed over those years.  So did my wife’s.  We kept our interests common by exploring new things together over time.  We live in a free society.  You can do whatever you want.

You don’t have to be carbon copies of each other.  My wife loves quilting.  I don’t have to become a quilter for us to be happily married.  I love motorcycling.  My wife didn’t have to enjoy motorcycling for us to be happily married.  She’d never done it growing up.  When I popped on the scene with my 1995 Honda 150 Dream, though, she was willing to give it a try.  What do you know?  She liked it.  So when I showed up at her door on my Dream that would have been, let’s see, ahh, 1973? or 1974?  She hopped on the back and we’ve ridden off and on together ever since.

Between babies and bills I’ve had different motorcycles over the years.   I bought my son’s motorcycle from him when he left for college and marriage in Omaha, a 1985 Honda Shadow 500.  Cute little bike.  It gets 60 MPG.

Our two bikes with our daughter Emilie, in Central Minnesota. With two bikes we can ride with our children. Both our daughter, Emlie, and son, Brandon, ride.

Then a number of years ago I picked up a 1995 Kawasaki 1500 Vulcan.  This was the last year before they put fuel injection on them.  We were going to take the Vulcan over to Cedar Falls for our anniversary last Saturday, but we’re fair weather motorcyclists and keep a close eye on the weather and the weatherman all week predicted rain.  We reluctantly and wisely took our car instead.

Mary Sue and I with our Vulcan loaded for a trip to The Apostle Islands in Wisconsin several years ago.

So no motorcycle trip this year for our anniversary.  Bummer.  It did rain, so we made the right choice.

We chose Cedar Falls, Iowa, for our anniversary trip because it was close enough for a day trip (100 miles one way from Ames, Iowa) and because Cedar Falls has a reputation for having a very nice, historic downtown.  We like visiting those types of towns.  The downtowns are disappearing.  A few cities and villages have gone to great lengths to keep theirs alive.  Over the years we’ve enjoyed day trips to Walnut, Iowa (consciously marketed as an antique destination.  If you like antiques, this is the place for you.  About 100 miles west of Des Moines.), Valley Junction in West Des Moines (It’s lost some of it’s former glory, but still worth a visit.), Pella, Iowa,  Amana Colonies (also in Iowa).  Our home town, Ames, has it’s own very nice downtown.  A little further away than can be done in a day is Ludington, Michigan, Nisswa, Minnesota, St. Joseph, Missouri, Stillwater, Minnesota (our favorite), Galena, Illinois and Long Grove, Illinois (just outside Chicago, but worth a trip in it’s own right).  There are many others to explore.  If you’ve found some others, share them with us (click here and fill out the form at the bottom of the page).  Check out Midwest Living Magazine’s travel section of the website for many other ideas.

The Cedar River was really high when we got to town.  It was just coincidence, but the city was celebrating the Sturgis Falls Jazz Festival.  This is an annual event where folk bring their families and lawn chairs and plan to spend the day chilling and visiting and eating some great food from local non-profits.  Cedar Falls does a great job promoting their downtwon.  Check out this web site for other celebrations in Cedar Falls for the rest of the summer.

Here’s a few pics from our trip and a little commentary.  Enjoy:

You can see from this pic facing down the historic downtown district that they keep the area clean and the buildings refreshed. Bicycle racks were in front of the stores. The street was blocked off for the parade they had that morning.

A sample of an older building that’s been updated and still in use, this one housing the local plays.

Mary Sue noticed many of the stores had the same window boxes with the same flowers, a nice touch.

A cute store where Mary Sue found a birthday present for a relative that share remain unnamed.

You can see how crisp these older buildings are with their sharp signage.

This store was 100% knitting. Quite the collection.

A clock on the side of one of the buildings. I thought it was cool.

The outside of the Yarn Shop. It’s cute in its own right.

We love kitchen stores. Lots of fun stuff in here.

Other examples of the cool signage on the storefronts.

A nicely redone hotel with benches and street art.

A very nice antique shop where Mary Sue found an old apron she’s going to use in a sewing project. I marvel how she can go into a store of 10,000 items and pick out the one cool thing. How does she do that?

What woman wouldn’t love a store called Purse-N-Ality? This is where my downloaded biography of Edgar Allen Poe on my iPod came in handy.

I had to ask why a dog has on a T-shirt on a hot day and he said they used to live in S. Korea and everyone had these kinds of dogs (sorry I forgot the breed’s name) and everyone had Ninja T-shirts on their dogs. That’s right. It’s a NINJA T-shirt.

At a city park downtown the Sturgis Falls Jazz Festival was in full swing. Folks were in family groups on their own lawn chairs and were just chatting and enjoying the day. Food booths surrounded the festivities.

Mary Sue was dispatched to pick us up a Root Beer Float while I stood in the Jurassic Corn Dog line. She came back with homemade apply pie ala mode with homemade caramel syrup. Yum. Who can blame her?

For other dating ideas from Dr. Bing see here.

Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

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