guest post: what I love about Iowa

30 September 2010

We received Iowa in the mail and I was thrilled when Sarah agreed to guest post on what she loves about Iowa.
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A little bit about me:
I’m a wife to a great husband, and a mom of 2 little girls, with baby #3 on the way. I graduated from college in music with a vocal emphasis. I have a photography business (, a hobby blog (, and a recycled toys blog ( I’ve lived in Iowa for three years and I love it here.
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“Is this Heaven? No, it’s Iowa.”(Field of Dreams)
I’m so excited to write about Iowa! My husband apparently missed his calling in life as travel guide; he has memorized tons of interesting facts and destinations of every place he’s ever lived. I won’t try to be quite as amazing as him, but tell you my favorite things about living in Iowa. You may find some common things about anywhere in the Midwest or the small town you live in, too.
1. The Community. I live right on the edge of a small college town, Iowa City. I can take the bike trails straight into town in a short two mile ride and end up at the best public library I’ve ever belonged to (seriously, you can check out a Wii console). The city is full of unique, delicious, local restaurants and artistic venues. Our town has a bike library, a great farmers market, a children’s museum, and free activities downtown. But, the best part of all that is that it’s a small town, so once you start going to these things and talking to people, you make friends and see them again and again around town.
2. The Country. Did you know that there are more pigs than people in Iowa? Even though I live near this charming cultural town, when I look out my back window, I can see a pond, a lake, fields of wildflowers, and a cornfield. I drive past a herd of cows every day when I drop my daughter off at preschool. It seems like most people who live in Iowa live within a 5-10 minute drive of a farm. I love the sweet, relaxing feeling of being in the country.
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3. Good Dirt. I was so inspired by the beautiful wildflowers I’ve seen here that I named my business after it. Also, I love my little garden out back. We’ve planted apple trees, a cherry tree, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and all sorts of vegetables. I don’t have a green thumb, but this year we were able to harvest 20 raspberries, and tons of cucumbers, squash, zucchini, hot peppers, and cherry tomatoes.
4. The people. The people in Iowa are the nicest on earth. When my family moved here to Iowa three years ago, we went to get our new license plates at the local government building. What does that image bring to mind? Probably long lines and slow, surly workers that tell you, after you’ve waited in line for two hours, that you don’t have the right documents. But not Iowa! We had no line and the people behind the desk smiled at us and were helpful and quick. Then, they asked us if we needed anything or had any questions about the area! We were amazed! And the past 3 years have proven it to us: The people of Iowa are friendly, kind, and genuine.
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For those of you more likely to just visit Iowa, or maybe even just drive through, here are some of my husband’s favorite random places to visit:
  • · “Is this Heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa” - If you come to Iowa, you need to go the distance. Visit the Field of Dreams.
  • · The Iowa State Fair has loads to offer in late Summer.
  • · If you are in to college football, visit Iowa City or Ames on Game Day.
  • · We love to visit the Orchards and local farms to pick our own berries, apples, and produce.
  • · The Museums. There is great art and appreciation for the arts in all towns in Iowa.
  • · The Ice Cream Capital of the World, Le Mars Iowa - Home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream.
  • · The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk in Riverside Iowa.
  • · If you are into politics, visit the Hamburg Inn in Iowa City. A frequent stop for politicians during campaign season. Every president since Reagan has dined there.
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Whether you’re just driving through or staying forever, I think Iowa is its own little piece of heaven.
What is your favorite thing about Iowa?


  1. Iowa RESPRESENT! :)

    Everything Sarah said is so true - the "Iowa Nice" people talk about absilutely exists!

    Oh, Iowa, I love you. We So Corny. :)

  2. Number 3 really made me smile. I grew up in northern Illinois. Now I live in the south and it's all red clay here. My parents retired down here last year and my dad complains weekly about how much better his lawn would look if he just had some black dirt! :-)

  3. Oh this made me miss Iowa! I am an Oklahoman now but went to University of Iowa for college. This time of year I get especially "Iowa-sick" for the gorgeous campus scenery. I also still daydream about the New Pioneer Co-op. Thanks for bringing back great memories!

  4. I live in Minnesota and can totally relate to everything said about Iowa. Midwest living is hard to beat. Unless you are a city slicker. :)

  5. PS Melissa - Linking to you today!

  6. What a great post!! My sister lives in Iowa City and works at the Univ. of Iowa! She loves it there

  7. Oh dear...I would so be one of those people who go visit the future birthplace of Cpt. James T. Kirk. :)

  8. My sister lives in Iowa too...I love visiting her. One year we traveled along Interstate 80 (she lives in Des Moines) and there were sunflowers profusely blooming in the median strip. What a welcome that sends to visitors!

  9. Great post! I, too live in Iowa and love it. Everything you said is so true. I love the peacefulness of small town living. It's great!


  10. I graduated from the University of Iowa, and my parents still live in Kalona. I've lived all over the country, but it's true that no place is quite like Iowa. If it weren't for the snow, I'd move back in a heartbeat :)

  11. We were only in Iowa for a few hours when visiting South Dakota in May/June. We stopped at Le Mars for ice cream. SO good! I wish we had Blue Bunny ice cream out here in California. It's the best!

  12. The sweet corn, the quad cities, Pella, Iowa, beautiful state capitol, downtown Des Moines, bike across Iowa tradition, and I could go on -- don't live there but have visited there over the years.

  13. I had the chance to visit Iowa several times while my friends were living there in Davenport. They lived right on the Mississippi. What a beautiful site to sit in a sunroom on a hill overlooking the Mississippi. I loved all that we saw and we took the Great River Road to Galena, Il. for a daytrip. Beautiful.

  14. I was born/raised in the great state of Iowa. My husband and I graduated from the University of Iowa...and experienced the BEST college years of our life!!! We have since been traveling for my husband's job since college, but our dream is to end up back in Iowa City and raise our kids there.
    There is something about Iowa City, that you can't explain in is the atmosphere/people/places/ect....people just need to experience it!

    Iowa itself is by far the greatest place in America (other then the freezing winters!) :) I feel so safe and the scenery is beyond beautiful.

    Thanks for this great post and representing Iowa as a GREAT place to live and that is really isn't all about farming!! :)

  15. Great post. I too live in Iowa, have all my life, in fact my daughter has some of the same teachers that i did when I went to school; she went to the same elementary school as I did! I love it here too, except the winters can get pretty brutal w/ our -45 degree wind chills! Right now is my favorite time of year w/ the leaves changing and the crisp air, the smell of the dried leaves and the crunch when you walk thru them. I live in the same town where Donna Reed was from, my Dad when to school with her, my Mother in Law wore some of her "old" clothes! I do love the "small town" atmosphere!

  16. I loved Iowa. We moved to Pa. from Iowa City 12 years ago. Iowa City was a great place to raise a family. I've been to the Hamburg Inn! Best burger and fries. We have more than good memories of Iowa- we have great memories of Iowa. The people were the best. Thank you for bringing it all back.

  17. I grew up in Illinois but came to Iowa to attend Drake University in Des Moines. I've been here ever since (20+yrs). Some of my favorite things about this GREAT state include 1. The BEST State Fair EVER. Period. 2. SMART people. We are NOT the dumb bib-overall-wearing simple folk movies portray. We have AWESOME schools that produce smart kids. 3. CAUCUSES. AWESOME political involvement opportunities. 4. BEAUTIFUL landscape. Spring in Iowa in particular is greens...just makes you feel alive. 5. If I dare stereotype the people of Iowa, I'd say we are hard-working, honest, compassionate and friendly people. There are so many things I love about this state! Winter is not one of them, however. =-)

  18. What a lovely post! I'd say Iowa must be a wonderful place to live. All in all, I really like the Midwest. The weather is harsh for half of the year, but that's about the only drawback. Nice, REAL people--what's not to love?

  19. Jennifer Miller10/1/10, 6:07 PM

    My husband is from Iowa and all of my in-laws are still there. It is indeed a wonderful place! I love visiting there and I think that their school system is fabulous, based on the people it produces. Thanks for sharing.

  20. I love being an Iowan!! The view out my window is worth a million dollars....I wouldn't trade it for anything! Love those corn and bean fields! Growing up a farmer's daughter was one of the best things in the world :)
    Thanks for sharing all the great words about Iowa!
    PS. My aunt and uncle live in Coralville. He's retired, but was head of the payroll dept. for the Univ. of Iowa.

  21. Rolling hills.
    I LOVE Iowa.

  22. Di/mom2riandkayl10/3/10, 4:37 PM

    Another Iowa girl chiming in...

    Thanks for the great post! I love our state.

  23. Don't forget that John Wayne was born in Winterset Iowa -- just another American Hero.

  24. stayed for a while in ames, iowa waaaay back in early 90's........fond memories of a truly nice place in the USA :))))))


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