Every Friday in 2013, the Let’s Fly Away Across the USA series will feature a different state, documenting the things we love about each sate and what you should do or see when you visit.
I’m Laura, an event coordinator for Iowa State University and the voice of The LBeau Room. I actually grew up in southern Illinois but I moved to Iowa in January of 2011, where my husband grew up. I love traveling as much as anyone but there is just something cozy about the heartland that I can’t resist. That’s why I founded Midwest Bloggers and will be hosting a Midwest Meet-Up on Saturday, October 5th in Des Moines, IA!
The people! It’s true what they say: the nicest people you will ever meet live in Iowa. They’re the kind of people who would give you, as a complete stranger, the shirt off their back, then feed you a delicious home-cooked meal and say, “Come again,” before sending you home with leftovers and cookies. The people are definitely what I love most about Iowa…but the bacon is a close second!
1. Des Moines. The capitol city of Iowa is arguably the most underrated city in the country. It is home to one of the best collections of modern art in the world, which you can see for free at the Des Moines Art Center. It hosts the 80/35 music festival every July. There are great shops in the East Village, an incredible farmers’ market, and it’s been named the #1 best city in America for families. Oh, and if you’re in Des Moines in August, the Iowa State Fair is a must!
2. Maharishi Vedic City. It’s the only city in the country built on the tenets of transcendental meditation. Every building is designed according to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda design to promote health, happiness, and good fortune. The sale of all non-organic food has been banned and the city even has its own currency called the Raam. Don’t worry — they still accept the U.S. dollar and credit cards!
3. Okoboji. Perfect for a fun family vacation! There’s great local food and shops, beaches and boats, and even an amusement park. It’s a popular summer destination for many Iowans, but there are events year-round, like the Okoboji Winter Games held every January.
For bonus points
Hidden Treasures! Iowa is full of quirky roadside attractions worthy of a detour on any road trip. Here are just a few of my favorites and a map of the rest:
- Le Mars: Blue Bunny, the Ice Cream Capitol of the World.
- Clear Lake: Surf Ballroom, site of the historic last concert of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson
- Dyersville: The Field of Dreams, filming site
- Riverside: Future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk
- LeClaire: Antique Archaeology, home of the History Channel show American Pickers