50 STATE UPDATE: IOWA

Is this Heaven?…

It’s Iowa…

Anyone who grew up in any part of the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s surely recognizes the above quote from a famous exchange between a son and his late father at the climactic end of Field of Dreams, the iconic baseball film that took place on a corn field in Dyersville, Iowa.

While I’d love to say I drove out to Dyersville last weekend (I didn’t, I’m saving that for a later time), I did cross the northern border of Iowa to tally my 44th state! I definitely have future plans for the state as this visit was completely unexpected and unplanned. As Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on travel plans everywhere, I was granted an extra couple of days in Minneapolis.

The Top of Iowa Welcome Center

There is nothing like a 40-something degree day in late October, especially in the Midwest. The fall colors make haste in these parts, leaving everything a barren brownish-yellow. Iowa is fairly flat as it is, so I’d hate to take in the state’s more scenic excursions during the ugliest time of year. I crossed just south of Albert Lea, Minnesota at the Top of Iowa Welcome Center near Northwood, Iowa. The center, part of a welcoming effort to the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, was built in 1998 and resembles a barn. I was greeted heartily by two friendly ladies on the second floor (the bottom floor is restrooms and snack machines) who were more than excited to share their knowledge (and give out free guidebooks, which I tend to hoard). There is some definite Midwest charm residing in Iowa, and it’s all the more reason to come back, I’m sure.

A primer on Northern Iowa. Study up!

So, there you have it. That was my entire “trip” to Iowa (sans for stopping for lunch in Austin, Minnesota on the way back). There was no Field of Dreams. No Effigy Mounds. No Herbert Hoover. Heck, I didn’t even stop into the Diamond Jo Casino across the parking lot. A goal is a goal, and I’d like to complete the 50 state tally before my clock hits 33 (I’m into the second half of my thirtieth year if you’re wondering), so while I wasn’t able to appreciate Iowa for it all offers now, I was able to grab it and save it for later.

So what do you say of Iowa? I’d gladly take some suggestions for my next time through…

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One thought on “50 STATE UPDATE: IOWA

  1. You’re already aware of what I’d recommend first: Effigy Mounds. It’s awesome. In fact the whole Great River Road area would be high on my list: http://www.iowagreatriverroad.com/ . My in-laws used to live in the Loess Hills on the other side of the state — another fine place to visit and right near Omaha too — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loess_Hills . Plenty of nice stuff in the middle of the state too (not meaning to ignore it, just not as familiar with what’s there).

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