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Old 03-11-2021, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Mission District, San Francisco
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So I'll be fully vaccinated in May, and I'm planning to fly out to see family in Chicago once I'm able to. However, I've never actually been to Iowa (family all lived east in IN, and we never had any particular reason to drive west), and I was thinking of flying into Des Moines, exploring a bit, and heading east from there.

What's some good stuff to check out in the Des Moines area or points eastward (maybe in the Quad Cities)? I'm especially interested in anything less touristy and more off-the-beaten-path, maybe like an old company town or a neighborhood somewhere with an unusual architectural style or layout. Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2021, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Moving?!
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Pella would be my recommendation. Definitely one of the most picturesque and unique towns in Iowa. The Tulip Festival is on for May 6-8!
https://www.kcrg.com/2021/01/21/pell...e-to-pandemic/

If you enjoy the outdoors, Wildcat Den State Park is between Muscatine and Davenport, not far off I-80.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:12 PM
 
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A little out of your way, but Dubuque is an old, interesting small city. It looks like it was plucked out of the Northeast and plopped on the banks of the Mississippi. Very hilly terrain in the city itself, lots of gritty old neighborhoods with corner taverns and funky old industrial tracts along the river. Drive across the river into Illinois and head toward Chicago on US 20. You'll notice a pronounced lack of prairie you are passing through. This little corner of IL is in the Driftless Area (i.e., unglaciated). In less than 10 miles you'll reach the ancient city of Galena, once the largest city in the state (way before Chicago started growing.) A very cool downtown, and President U.S. Grant's home has been preserved for tours. Leave town on route 20 and in about 60 miles you'll link up with the Tollway at Rockford.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.4145...7i13312!8i6656

Another possibility is to head out of Des Moines up to Marshalltown, where you'll pick up US 30. There are many stretches of the historic Lincoln Highway between there and Clinton. 30 of course will take you straight into Chicago via Aurora. Or if you're in a hurry, catch the I-88 tollway at Rock Falls, which kind of parallels US 30 to Aurora.

https://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/info/ia/

Last edited by Ben Around; 03-11-2021 at 10:22 PM..
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Old 03-12-2021, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Iowa
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I like stopping for quirky stuff along the way to wherever I'm going. Two of my resources to locate such things are www.roadsideamerica.com and www.atlasobscura.com. Both also have apps for your smartphone so you can search along your route where ever you happen to be.

Going east from Des Moines off the top of my head there are the Amana colonies, Herbert Hoover's birthplace, a number of building built by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, world's largest truck stop, statue to James T. Kirk.

If you stray further off the interstate there is the site for the movie Field of Dreams and National Farm Toy Museum.

Just SW of Des Moines is the John Wayne boyhood home and museum and the famed Bridges of Madison county.

But definitely go to roadsideamerica.com and check out the map for Iowa along your intended route and you can see dozens of offbeat things to see along any route. That is free but I think the app costs a few bucks but I find it well worth it when on the road and looking for someplace nearby to stretch my legs.
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Old 03-12-2021, 02:45 PM
 
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"Riverside is a city in rural Washington County, Iowa, United States, along the English River on Iowa Highway 22. It is part of the Iowa City, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 993 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Highland Community School District. Riverside proclaimed itself the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk, a fictional character from the television series Star Trek, with the agreement of series creator Gene Roddenberry."
Quoted from Wikipedia
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Old 09-23-2022, 07:54 PM
 
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The Freedom Rocks are kind of cool to see-the guy who paints them has some real artistic talent. Eventually, every county in Iowa will have one-but I don't think he has them all finished yet. Here is one of them.
Attached Thumbnails
Interesting/quirky/off-the-beaten-path stuff to see in Iowa?-bremer-county.jpg  
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Old 11-21-2022, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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I haven't yet made it there, but Effigy Mounds sounds like it's worth a visit. Effigy Mounds National monument
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Old 11-22-2022, 12:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
I haven't yet made it there, but Effigy Mounds sounds like it's worth a visit. Effigy Mounds National monument
I LOVE Effigy Mounds. Great hiking trails and river views and fascinating history. My favorite spot in Iowa.
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Old 11-22-2022, 12:11 AM
 
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A few months ago I stopped at a really EXCELLENT small museum. It's the Button museum in Muscatine, Iowa! The museum is very professionally created and maintained, with a combination of interactive exhibits, videos and lots of fascinating artifacts. The gift shop area had lots of good stuff, too! Muscatine is a nice little city with a cute downtown and a seemingly healthy economy. I highly recommend a trip there; I had fun!

I'm also going to recommend (since I used to work there) a stop at the Nelson Pioneer Farm just north of Oskaloosa. We had a group of nuns from Kenya stop in one day and one of them told me that it was the most peaceful place she had ever been.

Editing to add: the Steamship Bertrand Museum in the DeSoto Wildlife Refuge in Missouri Valley is WONDERFUL and fascinating.

My "haven't been there yet but want to" include 2 on the west side of the state: A tour of the Blue Bunny Ice Cream plant in LeMars, and a stop at the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend.
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Old 11-22-2022, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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De Soto isn't that far a drive for me; I really need to take some time and visit it. Go for the snow geese, stay for the museum!
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