When you think of Newton, IA does Maytag Blue Cheese immediately come to mind? For most people it does, and for good reason. Since 1941 the community's Maytag Dairy Farms have churned out scrumptious wheels of the rich cheese. Its claim to fame is that it’s cave aged twice as long as other blue cheeses, earning it a starring role in the dishes of renowned chefs such as Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck.
But there’s far more to Newton than cheesy goodness on a cracker.
Did you know that Newton is also home to the Iowa Speedway? The nation’s newest and most state-of-the-art motor speedway annually hosts IndyCar, NASCAR Nationwide, NASCAR Truck races plus other, smaller racing events. Located just off Interstate 80, the Iowa Speedway’s 7/8 mile track leaves race fans cheering for more.
Home to a handful of talented sculptors and artists, Newton made the most of its artists-in-residence by installing nearly 90 sculptures – most made of bronze – at locations around town. From the meaningful piece that pays homage to the dangerous work of firefighting to the fun-loving depiction of children forming the obligatory Y, M, C and A at the community’s local branch, these sculptures represent a range of styles and interests. Don’t forget to visit in June when the community hosts is annual Iowa Sculpture Festival.
The arts in Newton don’t stop with sculpture. Wander inside Crazy Redhead Quilting and prepare your senses for an overload of color and texture. Housed in a quaint former church, this quirky quilter’s paradise offers kits, classes and character!
Back outside, the Newton Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is home to a collection of native and introduced trees and various plants for the year-round enjoyment of walkers and cyclists. While you meander, keep your eyes open for a few of those sculptures.
While you’re in town, curb your appetite at the charming Hunter Mansion. Built in 1900, this stately but not at all ostentatious tea room is quaint and comfortable for the whole family or a ladies outing. Nosh on homemade quiches, salads, sandwiches and specialty beverages. While you’re here, keep your eyes open for spirits that supposedly haunt the home.
So pass the Maytag Blue Cheese. But serve it up with all the hidden gems Newton has to offer.