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Vacationing 35 miles away

June 12, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Some people think their vacation should be all about the journey-load up the car, hit the road and see where you end up, or, head to the airport and grab a flight to places unknown. I used to be like that in my younger days as well.

Now that I have small children, I'm on the other side of the spectrum. The less hassle to get there the better. Who needs airports, layovers and traffic?

Give me my vacation when I want it, so I don't have to worry about a meltdown here or a mess there.

For this exact reason, my family decided to vacation to a town 35 miles from Marshalltown last week.

You may have heard of it - it's called Eldora.

For a week, we rented a cabin at beautiful Pine Lake State Park. It was the quickest I've ever made it to my vacation destination, and that was fine with me.

Kind of nice when my biggest decision during the day was to hit the beach or stroll through the beautiful trails. These cabins have all the luxuries of home, except cable television, and it was nice to have a break from that as well (except the basketball that I missed).

Staying in a state park, you can't help but be active because there is too much beauty to take in to stay cooped up indoors. Bike rides, jogs and hikes were all a part of our days. One of the best times was a picnic lunch on the banks of the lower lake.

Also, when you can wake up, walk 20 steps from your front door and be on the banks of the Iowa River, life is pretty good.

Nature came out to see us as well, from turtles to fish to deer, they were all part of our week. Our state parks are treasures and should probably get more use from the public. You can't beat the free admission price either.

As part of the free fishing weekend, my 3-year-old daughter and I took to the Iowa River to see what we could catch. Unfortunately, her patience with the lack of fish biting and my patience with her ran out 15 minutes into the excursion. Note to self: bring toys along if we decide to go fishing again.

Aside from the beauty of Pine Lake, I also got to know the town of Eldora as well. A nice little town with a lot to offer for a community its size (2,732 people). I enjoyed all but the laundry mat, which could use a little updating.

One day, maybe I'll return to be a "journey-seeker" on my vacations. For now, though, give me a comfortable chair, a view, some sun and some peace and quiet...until the kids wake up again.


Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or



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