No state provides a more concentrated taste of America’s Heartland than Iowa. Home to one of the country’s classic state fairs and Kevin Costner’s corn field-turned-baseball-diamond from Field of Dreams, Iowa serves up memory-packed road trips. Visit www.midwestliving.com/dreamtrip through February 29, 2016, for your chance to win a trip featuring these seven small towns and quintessential Iowa experiences.
Start the day off right with a breakfast of apple fritters from The Bakery Unlimited. They’re made with red delicious apples, which were first discovered in Madison County. Explore the world-famous covered bridges, learn about Hollywood legend John Wayne and enjoy the charming town square with locally-owned shops. Before departing, enjoy a delicious lunch at Northside Café (Want to know which stool Clint Eastwood sat on while filming The Bridges of Madison County movie? Just ask!) Make sure to save room for a slice of pie.
Henry A. Wallace was born on a farm near Orient in 1888. He would go on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Vice-President and U.S. Secretary of Commerce. He also founded Pioneer Hi-Bred and was editor at Wallaces’ Farmer magazine. The Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center demonstrates his philosophy, ideas and achievements through artwork, organic produce gardens, a prairie and more. The Gathering Table restaurant’s menu focuses around the farm’s own crops and locally raised beef, pork, lamb and poultry.
Overnight in nearby Greenfield where you can stay in the restored 1896 Warren Opera House in a special balcony room overlooking the Norman Lear Theater at the Warren Cultural Center. (The theater is named for the director of Cold Turkey, a movie shot in Greenfield in 1969. When Lear returned to Greenfield in 2014, he said the eight weeks he spent filming in Iowa remained a highlight of his life.)
Weather-permitting, enjoy a scenic, early morning hot air balloon ride in Indianola. Tour the National Balloon Museum and US Hall of Fame. Don’t leave town without stopping at Crouse Café, well-known for their homemade food. The Des Moines Register named their hot beef sandwich and cherry pie to their list of 100 foods to eat in Iowa before you die. Their cherry pie was also the winner in the Iowa Tourism Office’s pie bracket contest in 2015.
Head east to Pella, where you’ll feel like you’ve arrived in Holland. See the tallest working windmill, try on wooden shoes and enjoy the museums, boutiques, bakeries, meat markets and the Dutch canal before checking in to the Royal Amsterdam Hotel.
Travel to Eldon and strike your very own American Gothic pose in front of the actual house that inspired Grant Wood. The adjacent visitor center includes the costumes necessary as well as parodies of the painting and a gift shop.
Last, but certainly not least, relax at Honey Creek Resort, next to the state’s largest lake. Stay in a luxury cabin, resort room or rough it in the campground. Boat and bike rentals are available, as well as guided hikes, a nearby golf course, luxurious spa and indoor waterpark for the kids.
Increase your chances by entering daily at www.midwestliving.com/dreamtrip. Good luck!