Farewell Iowa!

We had a great final week in Iowa! We watched a Mutton Bustin’ competition at the Linn County Fair (kids riding sheep!), went to a BBQ festival at the amphitheater (chatted with a pitmaster from Norfolk!), saw the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel (it opened in 1910!), and had lunch at one of the few Valentine diners in America (just 10 seats!).

Linn County Fair, Iowa

BBQ Roundup, Cedar Rapids

BBQ Roundup, Cedar Rapids

Historic Park Inn

Suzie Q Diner, Mason City, Iowa

The Airbnb we stayed in was featured in the local paper while we there. Our host saved the 120-year-old house from demolition and then turned it into a shop with an apartment on the second floor. The house was full of cool upcycled decorations. My favorite piece was an old globe stand that was made into a paper towel holder.

Heart House

Heart House, Cedar Rapids

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The Wurst Weekend Ever

We did a lot of walking this weekend! We began Saturday with a visit to the New Bohemia Market to check out Corridor Cars and Coffee. There was a mix of cool antique cars and fancy modern ones. It seemed like anyone who wanted to show off their car could just pull up and join the show. We should have brought the Volvo over!

Cars & Coffee

Cars & Coffee

Cars & Coffee

Just one block away the park was filled with a flea market called Revival on the River. Lots of neat stuff to look at.

Revival on the River

Revival on the River

Then we headed downtown for the farmers’ market, which I read is the biggest outdoor farmers’ market in the Midwest. They did have several blocks blocked off and tons of vendors. There were farmers selling veggies and also lots of baked goods, craft tents, and local restaurants.

Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers' Market

Overalls All Over

After a short break at the house, we drove over to the Amana Colonies, a German settlement from ye olden times. The old stone buildings are very nice, and are now home to restaurants, a general store, winery, and craft shops. We happened to show up during the Wurst Festival, which you just can’t walk by and not attend. They were showcasing local sausage makers, and attendees voted on their favorites.

Wurst Festival, Amana

An Ingress mission walk kicked off our Sunday morning. (Aseem & Daphne: We leveled up!) This walk took us to a different part of the neighborhood and we found some fun art along the way.

Cedar Rapids

In the afternoon we visited the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. They had several Grant Wood paintings and a nice Rodin exhibit. We also took a tour of the house/studio where Wood lived, which was really just one open room above a carriage house. He painted American Gothic here, although the house in the painting is in the town of Eldon. Fun fact: his sister sat for the woman in the painting, who is supposed to be the farmer’s daughter, not his wife.

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Grant Wood Studio

 

Grant Wood Studio

 

Five Seasons Ski Team

Tonight we watched a free ski show on the Cedar River. Lots of barefoot skiing and nice tricks such as skiing around the front of the boat!

Reminds me of the many years growing up going to Smith Mountain Lake with my Aunt and Uncle. We did a lot of waterskiing and as I recall it, I was pretty good! Thanks Dennis and Cheryl!

 

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Rust, Dust, and Wanderlust

On Saturday we visited Le Claire, Iowa, home to the Antique Archaeology shop. Although the Pickers weren’t there, we had fun browsing their shop and walking around the small town. It’s a pretty little town right on the Mississippi River. Every August they compete in a tug of war competition with a town in Illinois, pulling the rope back and forth across the river!

Le Claire, Iowa

Le Claire, Iowa

Le Claire, Iowa

Antique Archaeology

Antique Archaeology

Antique Archaeology

Antique Archaeology

While in Le Claire, we took a scenic tour of the Mississippi River on the Riverboat Twilight. It was a fun old timey boat that played calliope (Torres) music.

Riverboat Twilight, Mississippi River

Riverboat Twilight

Calliope on Riverboat Twilight

We saw some nice homes along the river, a tugboat hauling cargo (the riverboat Captain said the tugboat and cargo were the same length as an aircraft carrier!), and we even saw a bald eagle commuting across the river from Illinois to Iowa.

Mississippi River tour

Mississippi River tour

Tugboat pushing barges on the Mississippi River

Tugboat pushing barges on the Mississippi River

Bald eagle flies over Mississippi River tour

Le Claire has some cute shops and a few restaurants. Sneaky Pete’s is known for their no tie policy, and they will cut off your tie if you walk in wearing one! The Mississippi River Distilling Company was started five years ago by the local weatherman. We went on a tour and tried a few samples. I had the River Rose Gin and Kenan had the Iowish Whiskey. HA!

Sneaky Pete's

Mississippi River Distilling Company

Mississippi River Distilling Company

MRDC Le Claire, Iowa

On the way back to Cedar Rapids, we stopped in Iowa City. There’s a well-known diner there called Hamburg Inn No. 2, where many presidential candidates stop during the Caucus, including Obama, the Clintons, and Reagan. We had their famous pie shake — a slice of pie blended into a milkshake! Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds. We also took a quick drive through the University of Iowa campus, which had a great mix of modern architecture and lovely old brick buildings. The old capitol building is also now part of their campus.

Hamburg Inn No. 2

University of Iowa

Old Capitol, University of Iowa

When we drove around to their football stadium (huge), we discovered they were hosting a movie night for the community. So we grabbed a blanket and joined the rest of the town on the field to watch the Minions movie on the jumbotron.

University of Iowa

Kinnick Stadium, University of Iowa

They even had fireworks when the movie ended!

 

 

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La Vie Boheme

The neighborhood we’re staying in is called New Bohemia. It’s a mix of very old and very new buildings. We can walk to a handful of restaurants and an ice cream shoppe, and the big farmers market is just a couple blocks away. Behind the house is a neat place called Kickstand, which is a biker bar, but for bicycles! There are lots of bikers around town, and many of them play music from speakers attached to their bikes.

The library is a bit further away, but still walkable. It’s a neat building with very modern touches. They have tablets in the stacks for searching the catalog, these big Bibliotecha machines that look like Redbox for library stuff, and big computer labs.

Cedar Rapids is known officially as the City of Five Seasons. We’ve read that the fifth season is time to enjoy the other four. Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to us, either.