Iowa

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

Wandering Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village

One of the things I love most about Iowa is its unique neighborhoods and unexpected heritage sites located within larger cities. In Cedar Rapids, one of those cultural influences happens to be Czech.

Today the area just across the river from the thriving New Bohemia neighborhood is known as the Czech Village. Once home to many Czech and Slovak immigrants, this part of Cedar Rapids is filled with interesting architecture, cultural symbols, and restaurants and bakeries serving traditional delicacies.

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

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.

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

The Magnificent Matchstick Marvels

It’s no secret that Iowa is full of offbeat attractions and over the years, I’ve visited quite a few. But somehow I’d always missed out on Matchstick Marvels in Gladbrook, Iowa.

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Dubuque’s Historic Shot Tower

Driving through Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District, it’s not difficult to imagine the hustle and bustle of the area’s industrial past. Located on the banks on the Mississippi River, one of the most intriguing parts of that history is Dubuque’s historic shot tower.

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

Exploring Reiman Gardens

As a kid, I loved going to the botanic gardens in Chicago. Wandering the different gardens and learning about all the exotic plant varieties was always a favorite activity. So a few weeks ago when we made plans to visit Reiman Gardens in Ames, I knew I would be in for a treat.

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

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.

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

Driving the White Pole Road

I’m a sucker for scenic drives and vintage highways. So I’m surprised it took me this long to discover the White Pole Road. Part of historic U.S. Route 6, today the White Pole Road is a 26-mile roadway across west-central Iowa that passes through five small towns…