On an unseasonably warm Saturday in late January, I spent the afternoon in Lamoni in Decatur County. There's a lot to do in Decatur County and previously I profiled my visits to Graceland University and Linden Street Coffeehouse in Lamoni as well as The Dinky Diner in nearby Decatur City.
However, I also visited several other places in Lamoni including Liberty Hall, the Amish Country Store, and several other stores and places in the downtown district.
Lamoni is just miles away from the Missouri Border and right off of I-35. For those traveling between Des Moines and Kansas City, it's a great place to stop. You are either 2 hours from Kansas City or 1 hour from Des Moines, depending on which direction you are heading.
There is a sizable Amish population in the Lamoni area and the Amish Country Store doubles as an Iowa Welcome Center.
It's a large building just off of the Interstate with lots of parking, including for Amish buggies. You can get prepared food, gifts, Amish goods, and much, much more.
The grounds also include an old school house, a picnic table and other seating, a windmill, some metal cow sculptures, and a chicken coop with live chickens.
Once inside or on the porch, you are greeted by a truly massive quantity of goods and wares.
They even have a food area, which I believe is technically branded as a Maid-Rite, which is an Iowa based chain.
Of course, no welcome center would be complete without an area where tourists can learn about all kinds of exciting adventures to be discovered within the state.
On the other side of town, you have one of Lamoni's really great historic sites: Liberty Hall. Liberty Hall, for a period of time, served as the home of Joseph Smith III when he was President of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church. I would certainly encourage you to read more about Liberty Hall. The buildings were not open when I stopped, but I still wandered around the grounds a bit.
Elsewhere on the grounds is the Spurrier School.
The grounds offers a great view of town, including the cemetery.
It is also the trail-head for a bike and walking path that weaves its way through town and beyond.
Back in town, I spotted the Lamoni Livestock Auction, which still has weekly sales and I am sure a fantastic sale barn cafe. I am an auction school graduate and I always love a good auction!
I also noticed a very small Hy-Vee, but it still had the old style logo sign which is fun to see.
I was tempted to stop for some ice cream at Pierce's Dairy Cup but maybe that will be on the agenda on a return trip through town.
The Quilt Country Family Restaurant was closed and it said it was due to renovations. Based on some research I did online, it appears to be a popular place. UPDATE: After publishing the post, the manager left a comment on Facebook indicating that the restaurant re-opened on February 2 with a new look and a new menu. They are celebrating 30 years of nostalgic dining. They serve home style food with good southern Iowa hospitality and are debuting a new antique and country store.
Closer to Graceland University, I spotted the Christian Center for the Book of Mormon.
Closer to the downtown area, I found the Maple Street Inn, which appears to be a Bed and Breakfast.
Across the street is the historic Lamoni Coliseum, which is a cinema. What a neat old building!
Downtown, where there are some beautiful cobblestone streets, I went to several businesses other than my stop at Linden Street Coffeehouse.
I found the France Building, which is the first structure of Graceland University and where the first classes commenced.
I found the home of the Lamoni Chronicle, the town's weekly newspaper.
I went into Treasures on Linden, near the coffeehouse, and looked around a bit. They had just about a little of everything! There was a very kind lady working who was eager to tell me about the community and the University. She is a great ambassador.
Nearby, I stopped in the Lamoni Thrift Center.
The pharmacy had some very good advice on a sign taped to the window. This flu season has been rough!
A half block away, across the street from each other, were two antique stores owned by the same family. They had some terrific stuff in both. One was called "Ruff'n Rusty" and the other was called Rusty Nail Antiques.
There was a sign on the door explaining the arrangement. I went into Rusty Nail first and then they took me across the street to see Ruff'N Rusty.
Nearby, there were a couple of other fun looking shops, but unfortunately they were already closed by the time I stopped by.
If you are in the Lamoni area and it's not a Sunday, I would highly encourage an adventure to many of the area Amish farms, who have their own businesses on site. Click HERE for a great map. This alone would make an epic day of adventuring.