Known as the “Hawkeye State” (in honor of Black Hawk, leader of the Sauk Indians), “The American Heartland” (for it’s geographic and cultural centrality) and The Corn State or The Food Capital of the World (for it prolific production of maize – that’s what the native Americans called it), Iowa is the fourth stop on our US tour. As the 26th largest state and the 30th in population, Iowa is actually a very diverse economy with a mix of agriculture, manufacturing and technology. Insurance adjusters consistently rank the state as one of the safest to visit.
From the cornfields of the Field of Dreams movie set to the cornfields of Living History Farms, we’ll probably find a few corny things to check out in the fine fertile land of the Hawkeye State.
Living History Farms: Three historic farms or as they like to call it “an interactive outdoor museum” designed to educate, entertain and connect us to Midwestern rural life experiences. Working examples of a 1700 Ioway Indian Farm, a 1850 Pioneer Farm, and a 1900 Horse-Powered Farm as well as a working town including a blacksmith, general store, print shop and the Flynn Mansion and Barn are featured on site. More info here: http://www.lhf.org
Amana Colonies: A National Historic Landmark since 1965, the Amana Colonies are seven German villages that acted as a communal settlement from the mid 1850s until the 1930s. During that eighty year span, the settlements were almost entirely self-sufficient – in fact, they imported almost nothing from the surrounding (and growing) industrialized Midwestern economy. The Amanians as they are called even today were able to achieve this independence and lifestyle by adhering to the specialized handcrafts and farming occupations which they had brought with them from Germany. Today, Amana is still a thriving community, but primarily due to tourism. A very cool town and a can’t miss for us. Here’s the link for more info: http://www.amanacolonies.com
Field of Dreams Movie Set: In 1989, we learned seven iconically whispered words — “if you build it, he will come” and since then it has become a part of our lexicon, and the movie from which it came – “Field of Dreams” – has since grossed over $85 million in box office, VHS and DVD sales. More importantly, the movie has become a classic baseball story for baseball fans.
The production company built the baseball field in the Iowa corn in just over three days, and twenty two years later, just as James Earl Jone’s character Terrance Mann said – “Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.” We will too! More here: http://www.fieldofdreamsmoviesite.com/
Arnolds Park: Built in 1889 with one “Chute the Chute” slide, Arnolds Park bills itself as the oldest amusement park west of the Mississippi River. Inexpensive, fun and historic? Sounds like it’s RIGHT up our alley! More here: http://www.arnoldspark.com/
- Castles of Ida Grove: Eccentric Millionaire builds a bunch of castles? http://www.idagroveia.com/
- Grotto of the Redemption: Billed as the 8th wonder of the world… We’ll see. http://www.westbendgrotto.com/
- Lover’s Leap Swinging Bridge: Safe? Unlikely. Must see? Probably. http://www.bridgemeister.com/pic.php?pid=1962