Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Jewel in the Rough

We found another mini-vacation site only 35 miles from where we live. It is the Ladora Bank Bistro, in no other place than Ladora, Iowa, population 286. Proprietors, Brad Erickson and Colleen Klainert purchased the 1920-built “jewel box” style bank and turned it into a bistro of fine wine, phenomenal food and an atmosphere that an old banker loves.

The structure maintains its marble teller windows and the iron teller cages, original wood floors and the two original vaults, now being used as a wine cellar and a kitchen storage closet. Engraved in the wall, next to the 24 foot high ceilings are four pillar statements that warm my heart:

“Frugality is the the Parent of Fortune”
“Integrity in the Companion of Success”
“Wealth is the Achievement of Thrift”
“Diligence is the Mother of Virtue”

On the outside of the bank, above the entrance etched in stone reads “The wealth of this community embodies the richness of her soil, the integrity, frugality and diligence of her people.” On the first visit, Kristy bought me their t-shirt with the sayings.

Colleen and Brad have a great menu of small plated appetizers meant to be shared. Our favorites are the Prosciutto, Maytag Blue Cheese, Stromboli and mini mushroom tart coupled with the California blend Snap Dragon. Colleen is a wine expert and pairs the wine with your taste and food to make the culinary experience extraordinary. We end on either the chocolate covered cherries or the Turtle Minis, both wonderful.

Chocolate, Red wine, a Fortress of old money….is this heaven?

If passing through Iowa or a nearby resident, we invite you can take an afternoon or evening mini vacation and experience the comfort and fun of the Ladora Bank Bistro. Check out the website for the story on the bank, Brad and Colleen, pictures, the menu and hours. Let us know what you think.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Save Energy -Save $$$

If you have a primary residence in Iowa and are served by MidAmerican Energy, then you are most likely eligible for a free energy inspection audit. We had our EnergyAdvantage® HomeCheck this past week. Not only was it FREE, but they made energy-saving improvements to our home during the audit. Outcome of the visit:
  • A FREE report of the condition of our home's insulation, heating and cooling efficiency, water heating equipment and windows
  • Replaced bulbs with FREE energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Swapped out two FREE shower heads with energy-saving, massaging shower heads
  • Installed a FREE energy-saving faucet aerator on the guest bathroom sink
  • Provided us with a 70% rebate for additional insulation in the attic (value of $750!)
There were a number of other things that they would have done, had our home needed it (such as water pipe insulation, water heater insulation blankets and programmable thermostats).

Check with your energy provider to see if they are offering the same service. Not only were the upgrades free, but they will help us save money on our future energy bills, the updates conserve energy and reduce the demand on natural resources needed to produce energy, reducing our carbon footprint.