This summer AmericInn hotels is giving away a free night all summer long (2016) and I urge you to run and enter. Road tripping is one of my family’s favorite pastimes and AmericInn has made for the ideal overnight as we’ve been trekking around the Midwest. We’ve bounced between Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota but these last couple of trips have been in Iowa.
Why AmericInn? As I’ve written before, my family of five have been enjoying the way AmericInn always is guest ready. When we walk in the kids love grabbing a freshly baked cookie while Jeff and I are always impressed by the friendly staff. Every. Single. Time.
The kids look forward to jumping in the pool as soon as possible and in the morning a nice assortment of hot and cold breakfast items from waffles, cheese omelettes and oatmeals to fresh fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard boiled eggs. Oh, and coffee. The coffee is always available sometimes even with flavored creamer. The detail we are most are appreciative of has been the bed comfort.
In between our AmericInn stops our journeys we have been having a blast stopping at the best roadside attractions in Iowa. We’ve hardly seen them all but we’re off to a good start. These top our list so far:
Elwood the World’s Largest Concrete Gnome in Reiman Gardens Warning: Many roadside attractions are literally found roadside and free to visit but this darling gnome resides in the Reiman Garden owned by Iowa State, so there is admission ($8/adults & $4/kids). Of course, you can spend hours at the garden, grab a coffee at the coffee shop, and let the kids play in the Children’s Garden. Naturally, for us the highlight was seeking this mystical no-so-little creature.
American Gothic House: Eldon, IA You know it. The classic photo by Iowan Grant Wood of the stoic farmer holding a pitch fork and his daughter (many still assume it’s his wife) standing in front of the white house with gothic inspired window. The last time I saw my grandmother she revealed we had relatives who were neighbors of the original home owners. My search for the exact address came to standstill but I know the answer is in my basement somewhere. The American Gothic museum is adjacent to the house. It was closed when we visited but we did get a snap of the farmer and his companion. We knew it was Grant Wood’s 125 birthday this year but what we didn’t realize during our visit was these sculptures are part of the celebration (keep reading). (Address: 300 American Gothic St, Eldon, IA 52554)
Overalls all Over in Cedar Rapids. You better hurry if you want to add this one to your list. All throughout Cedar Rapids a public art project featuring 6-foot fiberglass statues depicting the farmer and daughter from Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting. Only one set resembles the pair from the painting. The rest are painted whimsically, creativity, and sometimes familiarly (See Monopoly man and Andy Warhol?). Visit OverallsAllOver.com for more information.
Buddy Holly Crash Site: Clear Lake, Iowa. Did you know that Dan McLean’s song “American Pie” is about the devastating plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson? The pilot was Roger Petersen. The entrance is easy to find. Simply look for the large Buddy Holly-style glasses (see above). When you go, expect a five to seven minute walk to the actual crash site where there are memorial markers. If you have babies or toddlers, I recommend a stroller. We had our jogging stroller with us and were grateful to have something that handled the terrain (path is not paved) and get through a few puddles. (Put this address in your navigation: 22728 Gull Ave, Clear Lake, IA 50428 – look for the glasses.)
Iowa’s Largest Frying Skillet: Brandon, Iowa. This attraction dates back to 2004 when it was built for promoting the town’s cowboy breakfast. There is enough room for the kids to stand and adults to sit or get creative in your posing. We were traveling from Cedar Rapids to Clear Lake and the skillet was an easy find. (Exit 1-380/Exit 49 – drive west and continue though Brandon. You won’t miss it.)
This post was sponsored by AmericInn.