Three Reasons to Visit: IowaCity Travel, Dispatches from the Road, Food & Wine, Shopping & Style, Tours & Attractions, United States — By Molly F on May 13, 2009 at 8:00 am
by Molly Fergus
When a host on an Iowa talk show called “I love Dubuque” said that “Iowa is more than corn,” I laughed out loud, mostly because we had just driven through a neighborhood where backyards met up with cornfields that stretched on for miles like oceans.
But then, something amazing happened, and the talk show host was actually right! In just two days, we found at least three reasons to visit the Iowa City area again. Just more proof that almost all areas of the country offer something to be discovered.
Columbus Junction, IA: Anchored by a Tyson pork processing plant, this town of about 2,000 is a veritable little Mexico. At least five Mexican restaurants and grocery stores dot the two-block Main Street stretch. After three months in South Texas, I’m mildly obsessed with Mexican food, and the fresh fruit paletas looked terribly tempting.
Amana Colonies: I hadn’t heard of the Pietism movement or that the group was persecuted in Germany until my friend mentioned this historic settlement. Followers of Pietism, a denomination of Christianity, were persecuted in Germany, so they moved to America in 1843. Twelve years later, many of them settled in Iowa, where farmland was cheap. They built seven villages, which are now clusters of original buildings stocked with German restaurants and shopping. Who knew?
Iowa City: Like any college town, Iowa City offers something for everyone, but we were most impressed by the Ped Mall’s street cart food offerings. The pedestrian strip of restaurants and shops hosts several vendors whipping up the usual hot dogs and pretzels. Our favorite stop, though, was a grilled cheese and quesadilla stand. Genius, right? And also a novelty in smaller towns.