Destination: Des Moines

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times: travel is our passion. The planning. The anticipation. The excitement of discovering something new. And while this passion is something we hope to share with our girls some day (they don’t have a choice, considering half their family lives in another time zone), right now…not so much. As much as we love traveling, it’s safe to say Miss & I had our fill of 18 hour car rides and delayed flights that don’t land until 3:00AM.

So we’ve been forced to become creative, and in the process…whether it’s spending a weekend in the Twin Cities, a day at the Omaha Zoo, or scarfing BBQ in KC…we’ve ended up having the time of our lives.


After a long, dark, cold winter stuck indoors, Missy and I were due. Yet with an ever more mindful eye on the family budget and birthday month just around the corner…a getaway, even just an overnighter, was almost out of the question. Then it hit us: why not spend the day enjoying what we’ve got right here in good ol’ Des Moines, Iowa. Not just a “dinner and movie” type date, but a sun-up-to-sun-down, let’s make the most of our city type date.

A day date in Des Moines.

We kicked things off last Saturday bright and early at one of the cities most acclaimed breakfast spots: La Mie!

Day Date 1 Day Date 2

We arrived just after opening and already there wasn’t a seat to be had. Luckily for us, the weather was nice enough to order up and head outdoors. I had my heart set on a savory omelet with a cup of fresh coffee…

Day Date 3

…while Miss ordered the peanut butter/banana/bacon french toast.

Day Date 19

Ok, so I had my heart set on helping Missy out with said peanut butter/banana/bacon french toast. Literally, one of the best breakfasts we’ve ever had. Then we made our way over to Mars Cafe for “fancy” coffee.

Day Date 18

To be enjoyed sitting down. Out of non-disposable cups.

Day Date 4

Who are we!?

Phase 2: a picnic lunch at the lake! Ok, so first we had to buy our lunch. We were urning to recreate our Tuscan evenings in Siena, eating cured meats and fresh cheeses on the piazza, so we turned to Des Moines’ source for the closest thing: The Cheese Shop.

Day Date 5

Choosing was half the fun!

Before our picnic we walked the 2-mile loop at Gray’s Lake and scoped out the nesting Bald Eagles…

Day Date 7

…and stopped for a pint (or two) at Confluence (just off the lake path)…

Day Date 10

…which has quickly become our favorite brewery in city; we love that they’re just all about the beer. Plus I’m a sucker a row of stainless steel fermenters!

Day Date 9

Finally, ate had lunch as the clouds rolled overhead.

Day Date 11

And after a quick nap, it was off to phase three: thrift shopping!

Which really is one of Missy’s love languages 😉 First we stopped by West End Salvage downtown. While it was massively fun to peruse the four floors of junk…

Day Date 6

…it was also massively overpriced…at least in our minds. $95.00 for a set of old door knobs? Pass. So we made our way over to Bargain Basement to browse some wearable goods. And check it: we also found this massive 42″ rustic tin star…which we also saw at WES costing upwards of $100…

Day Date 20

…for just THREE DOLLARS. We celebrated our thrifting success with a round of Skee Ball at Up/Down, which was only a few blocks away.

Day Date 14 Day Date 15

As the afternoon faded into evening, our minds turned to dinner. Anxious to try one of the area’s newest restaurants, we made our way across town to Eatery/A, only to be spurned by a 75 minute wait.

Day Date 16

And after similar results from a few other establishments, we cut our losses and headed for home. After all, we had been out for almost 12 hours by that point. Only later did we realize that a score of proms, plus the Drake Relays (oh, and PBR was in town), were all conspiring against us finding a table anywhere in the metro area.

We made it home just in time to put the girls to bed, which was a real treat for them after not seeing us all day. Oh, and it didn’t take us long to find a great spot to hang that decorative star:

Day Date 17

What’dya think?

In the end, while it wasn’t an adventurous of town excursion, it was still a huge day date success. Big thanks to the Florer crew for hangin out with the girls all day 🙂





This entry was posted in Travel by Tom Hardinge. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

One thought on “Destination: Des Moines

  1. Pingback: A Midsummer Night’s Update | living in pursuit

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