The Hawkeye State. Land of the Rolling Prairie. The Corn State. Land of James T. Kirk.
Given the distinct air of amused condescension that some southern Minnesotans have for Iowa, a person would expect to see the border stretching east to west in a near-straight line. Visually, though, there’s no real difference in the farms, animals, crops or people on either side of the border. The biggest difference I’ve ever noted south of the line were the quilt patterns boldly emblazoned on the hayloft door of the barns. I’ve seen them in other states, but Iowa was where I saw my first. I’ve since learned that the concept of the barn quilt and the barn quilt trails originated in Ohio, but at the time I thought it was unique, and I wondered if the patterns were family heirlooms, a proud display of a State Fair prize winner, or a sign of some specific heritage – Amish, American Colonial, Civil War Abolitionist.
One of Iowa’s claims to fame are the Bridges of Madison County – yes, the ones in the book and in the movie of the same name. I’ve not read the book, myself, and my taste in movies runs more to science fiction and/or comedy, but I do enjoy unique architecture, and covered bridges definitely fall into that category. Such a simple, utilitarian idea – cover the vulnerable wooden beams and trusses and the bridge will last longer than 10-15 years – and yet it’s created such an iconic image. Walking across one, I can see in my mind’s eye generations of traffic: Horse-drawn wagons and buggies bearing their farming families into and out of town; Tin Lizzies chugging across with their engines echoing impossibly loud in the confined space; touring vehicles and muscle cars right up through the variety of econoboxes and SUVs we have today… And the bridges themselves have lasted – will probably outlast any of us.
Places to go
**Birthplace of John Wayne – Winterset
**Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk – Riverside
**Ax-Murderer House – Villisca
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Stuff to see
**World’s Crookedest Street – Burlington
**Field of Dreams – Dyersville
**House of Clocks – Waukon
Ornare tincidunt, erat nisl mauris sit erat. Ut feugiat tristifermentum tincidunt suspendt
Things to do
**Barn Quilt Trail – various counties
**Hawk Watch Eagle Migration – Honey Creek
**Spook Cave – McGregor
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** denotes places and events I have no personal experience with – YET!