Exploring the National Czech & Slovak Museum

If you’re not from Iowa, you might not know about the different pockets of European immigrants who have settled all across the state. There are the Danes in Elk Horn and the Swedes in Swedesburg, but did you know that Cedar Rapids is home to a large number of Czech and Slovak immigrants?

Earlier this summer we embarked on an adventure to explore the eclectic Czech Village starting with the neighborhood’s National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. Continue reading Exploring the National Czech & Slovak Museum

A RAGBRAI Road Trip: 2016 Edition

If you’re not from Iowa and not into cycling, chances are you’ve probably never heard of RAGBRAI. Each summer, thousands of (potentially crazy) cyclists embark on a week-long ride across the state of Iowa. RAGBRAI (which stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) began in 1973 when Des Moines Register feature writers John Karras and Donald Kaul decided to go on a bicycle ride across Iowa.

While I won’t be riding this year, I thought it might be fun to create a road trip inspired by the 2016 route, which winds through the small towns of southern Iowa. Continue reading A RAGBRAI Road Trip: 2016 Edition

Summer in the City: Des Moines Edition

As the snow melts and the trees begin to bloom, there’s a certain energy that returns to the air, especially in a place with harsh winters like Iowa. But no more so than in the early days of summer. As a kid, that meant never wearing shoes, devouring endless books for summer reading, picking raspberries in the backyard, and escaping to the lake for a long weekend.

Even though I no longer have summers off, I try to approach summer with the same sense of excitement. And while I’m not a big fan of the oppressive humidity or buzzing mosquitos that accompany the season, there are a lot of things I absolutely adore about Des Moines in the summer. Continue reading Summer in the City: Des Moines Edition

A Sticky Saga: A History of Sac City’s World’s Largest Popcorn Ball

When I compiled my list of Iowa’s “world’s largest” things, I strongly considered highlighting Sac City’s World’s Largest Ball of Popcorn. But then I learned that the Iowa version lost its gigantic title to the Indiana State Fair in 2013, and while the reigning “world’s largest” ball no longer exists, I decided to go in a different direction. Continue reading A Sticky Saga: A History of Sac City’s World’s Largest Popcorn Ball

Savoring the SPAM Museum

For the last few years, anytime I would drive north to Minneapolis to visit friends I would find myself chuckling at the SPAM Museum’s billboards. “Visit the Guggenham” one read. “Find Salivation” another joked. But when I finally Googled the museum, I was bummed to learn that the Austin, Minnesota attraction was closed for renovations.

So a few weeks ago when numerous friends reached out to let me know the SPAM Museum had reopened (on a related note, I’m lucky to have people who get me), I knew I needed to plan a trip… Continue reading Savoring the SPAM Museum