Still haven’t gotten your fill of Iowa after turning the pages of Butterfly Powder? Then this guide is for you. And for those jaded visitors and tourists who’ve already seen the likes of Yellowstone, Sequoia, or the Grand Canyon and now long for something more. Or less! Never forget, sometimes less is more. Whichever, below in a list as high as a cornstalk, are a few of Iowa’s unique attractions.
Midwest Old Threshers Reunion: traction steam engines, tractors, trucks and cars over 50 years old, and horses too, along with a Log Village portraying life on the Iowa prairie in the 1860’s
RAGBRAI: Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa: a 7 day ride from the Missouri River to the Mississippi through small towns and countryside in the oldest, largest and longest touring bicycle ride in the world
Iowa’s largest sweet corn festival: a small town festival including the Shuckfest, a community gathering to hand shuck tons of corn in a couple hours [hint–the author’s home town and inspiration for the town in Butterfly Powder]
Grotto of the Redemption, called by some “the eighth wonder of the world”–a monument that covers a full city block and is stated to be the largest collection of minerals and petrification in the world
Fenelon Place Elevator Ride: described as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway
Iowa tallgrass prairie: the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge–5,000 acres of tallgrass prairie and native Midwest wildlife
Squirrel cage jail: one of only three such remaining rotating jails–a design to make it practical for a guard to keep an eye on all the jail cells at once
Hitchcockhouse–Underground Railroad: listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a stop on one of the many routes over which slaves were assisted in escaping the South during the slavery era
The Guthrie County Historical Village: eight buildings and many exhibits exploring the history of Guthrie County from 1850 to the early-20th Century
Stanton’s coffeepot watertower: Amtrak travelers might know this one. This following quote from its website says it all–“Hollywood screen and TV personality Virginia Christine, “Mrs. Olson” of coffee commercial fame, was one of Stanton’s famous daughters. At the time of our centennial in 1970, Virginia came home to be our parade marshal. During the celebration she served coffee to the public. Stanton’s water tower was converted to a giant Swedish coffeepot the following year.”
Iowabarnfoundation: a must for those interested in barns in all their glorious variations and history. Check out the barn tours, under the “Events” listing.
Trails from rails–bike trails in Iowa: Iowa bicycle trails that were formerly railroad beds