Few days ago, some dear friends from New York visited us here in Iowa. Yes, while hurricane Irene lashed out New York City and the northeastern seaboard, they enjoyed a perfect weather here in the midwest.
Aside from reminiscing the good ‘ole days we spent together and having re-bonding time, we played host to them as well as tour guide to our locale. There are more to see than cornfields here. (For there are also soybean fields!) But seriously, even though our state is not a popular tourists’ destination, we have interesting places to visit. But if it is cornfields that amuse you, then this is a “Field of Dreams” for you. (By the way, that film was shot here in Iowa.)
We visited the historic covered bridges of Madison County, which was popularized in a best-selling novel by Robert James Waller and later on made into a film, “The Bridges of Madison County,” which starred Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.
We went to visit the Salisbury House located in the ‘South of Grand,’ an area in Des Moines noted for eclectic variety of historic mansions and luxury homes. The Salisbury House is a mansion built by cosmetic magnate Carl Weeks, and was modeled after the King’s House in Salisbury, England. The house was completed in 1928, and has over 42 rooms.
We also drove around downtown Des Moines and visited the Iowa State Capitol complex.
We also toured the Temple of Performing Arts in Des Moines, a beautifully restored building, which was a former Masonic Temple. The building now hosts music and theatre performance facilities.
We also went to Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown, which just opened in 2009, and features artwork by 21 of the world’s most celebrated artists.
The tour would not be complete without a visit to the farm, after all, that is what our state is known for. We were invited by one Filipino who lives in Nevada, Iowa. Her family owns an almost 9,000 acres of farmland. While we were driving to their place, we got “lost”, and intentionally took a detour to have a closer look at the rows and rows of windmills, jutting out from the vast landscape of cornfields.
After touring our visitors, this gave me a new perspective and deeper appreciation of this place, even of my immediate neighborhood.
This just solidify my endearment for the place I now embrace as home.
(* photo credits to my visiting photographers, and to the resident photographer, my wife)