Bonjour, Iowa. At this point, I’ve visited just about every corner of your beautiful state. What a place! And to think I once owned it all. Sacré bleu! What a fool I was to sell the Louisiana Purchase to Thomas Jefferson.
Anyway, on my recent travels I’ve been hinting to everyone I meet that I’d love for America to sell Iowa back to me. While I wait for that to happen, I’ve made a list of the nine places I’d most like to own again, one great travel spot at a time.
- Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City – This 700 acres, tall grass prairie is what much of Iowa must have looked like the day I sold it. I meandered along the paved trails and awed at the bison, elk and other native wildlife.
- Whitewater at Riverfront Park, Charles City – I’m a world traveler, and I knew whitewater courses exist in some exotic places. But here in Iowa? Oui! It’s true. Grab your paddles and join me!
- Historic Park Inn, Mason City – I’ve never felt ever the emperor than at this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel, the only of his hotels that remains in the world.
- Snake Alley, Burlington – Residents built this crooked street in 1894 so horses could more easily traverse Burlington’s steep terrain. If only my trusty horse Marengo were still around to test this tricky brick roadway.
- Downtown Cedar Falls – I’d been wearing the same vest for going on 300 years. Some said it was out of style. Thanks to the friendly merchants in the eclectic collection of shops and restaurants that line picturesque Downtown Cedar Falls, I picked up some new duds and kicks!
- Trout Run Trail, Decorah – Fellow Frenchmen Oscar-Claude Monet made some pretty impressive art. Iowa’s got some cool art, too, especially on the Trout Run Trail. This 11-mile paved loop is decorated with unique works through its route.
- Loess Hills Lavender Farm, Missouri Valley – I’m very accustomed to the sweet smelly of victory, but the aroma of flowering lavender is so much sweeter. I wandered through 4,000 lavender plants and treated myself to an assortment of homemade lavender-infused bath and skin care products.
- Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend – Even a nobleman like me is inspired to stop and marvel at the colorful collection of gems and stones that make up this shrine, rightfully known as eighth wonder of the world.
- Long Lines Family Rec Center Climbing Wall, Sioux City – Rock climbing in Iowa? Oui! For some indoor adventure, check out the world class 53-foot climbing wall and free-standing boulder.