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Burns Gallery & Tea Emporium: Tea and art are a pleasant combination

Ken Burns. All photos by Phil Roberts.

Ken Burns. All photos by Phil Roberts.

Sue Burns waits on a customer.

Sue Burns waits on a customer.

Art's not the only thing for sale.

Art’s not the only thing for sale.

Unframed prints also are available.

Unframed prints also are available.

The gallery has a relaxing feel to it.

The gallery has a relaxing feel to it.

Artist Anita Lee stands beside one of her works.

Artist Anita Lee stands beside one of her works.

If you enjoy art or tea — or both — no visit to Van Buren County, Iowa, is complete without some time spent at Burns Gallery & Tea Emporium, 509 First St., Bonaparte, IA 52620.

Their website is http://www.burnsgalleryandtea.com, and they’re also on Facebook.

Burns Gallery & Tea Emporium is located in a beautifully restored old building in the Bonaparte Historic Riverfront District, a stone’s throw from the picturesque Des Moines River.

The district was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, so bring your camera.

The Emporium’s owners, Ken and Sue Burns, will happily pour you a cup of tea to sample as you stroll through the gallery.

During our most recent visit, my wife and I tried some pumpkin-flavored tea. It was very good, but we ended up buying some Bella Coola Herbal/Fruit Tea to take home.

The Burns will accompany you, if you wish, on your gallery tour to provide information about the artists. Or you can look on your own.

The gallery displays framed paintings by artists from as far away as Japan and Alaska to as close as southeast Iowa. The subdued LED lighting provides a relaxed atmosphere and perfect viewing.

The day we visited, artist Anita Lee of Van Buren County was on hand, greeting visitors. That was a bonus.

Every piece of art is for sale as are some unframed paintings and, of course, a variety of teas from around the world. They also do framing.

On their website, the Burns say they “hope to create a world of art and specialty teas within the walls of our gallery that allows you to escape the daily routine and dream of far off places.”

In our case, their plan worked.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hungry? Detour to historic little Bonaparte, Iowa

Bonaparte Retreat is located in a former grist mill. Phil Roberts photo.

Our friend Dan contemplates his huge ribeye steak. Phil Roberts photo.

Bonaparte Retreat (bonaparteretreat.com) is a delightful restaurant located in the former Meek’s Grist Mill on the banks of the Des Moines River in tiny Bonaparte, Iowa.

That’s in Van Buren County in southern Iowa.

The historic mill building, constructed in 1878, replaced an 1836 structure that burned down in 1841.

Bonaparte Retreat is a casual place, and the authentic mill decor is a plus — some tables offer a view of the river — but the best part is the food.

It’s open for lunch or dinner seven days a week. We always go at dinnertime, and I order their specialty, a huge ribeye steak that covers much of my plate. I’m a big guy, but I always end up taking some steak with me in a “doggie” bag.

My wife prefers a seafood platter they serve. That’s also a bonus for my belly. One of the items on her platter is fried oysters. She doesn’t care for oysters, but I love them. So I am the lucky recipient of her oysters. Yum!

In addition to a salad and potato, dinners include a cup of homemade soup and croutons plus some pan-fried bread. You certainly won’t leave hungry.

Prices are reasonable, too, considering the amount of food.

With the possible exception of the Scenic Drive Festival, which draws huge numbers of people to the county and to the restaurant, service is good.

Allow some time, too, to walk the downtown area, which deservedly is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Our favorite store is the new Burns Gallery & Tea Emporium (burnsgalleryandtea.com), where you can sip on a cup of their custom-blended tea and purchase artwork and tea to take home.

Copyright 2011 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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