Why I Will Always Love My Home State
I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about my home state of Iowa. There is so much more to the great state of Iowa than meets the eye. It is not all about cornfields, cows, and flatlands.
I was born and raised in Iowa but have not lived there for almost 20 years. However, despite residing in several different states over the years, currently in New York, Iowa will always be home to me. I miss Iowa and I love telling people about the state that is so different than the stereotype it endures.
Iowa has some of the best food in the United States and not just burgers, steak or corn. There is a wide variety of fabulous cuisines and restaurants you can’t find anywhere else. Some Iowa staples include pork tenderloin, kettle korn, corn dogs and Iowa’s famous Maid-Rite loose meat sandwiches. The latter is an Iowa specialty, with several locations making their sandwiches a must have when visiting the state.
Along with unique food, Iowa also has a slew of ethnic restaurants that rival those in New York City. Zombie Burger & Drink Lab has over 20 unique burgers inspired by The Walking Dead. Their Dead Moines burger is a fan favorite with smoked Gouda, prosciutto, ham, and truffle mayo.
Tumea & Sons restaurant serves up the best Italian food in Iowa, in the country in my opinion. The restaurant is an old school family run restaurant bringing, family dishes all the way from Italy. It was voted Best Italian restaurant in the Iowa by MSN.com. Come enjoy the delicious food and stay for a game of bocce ball because everyone is family Tumea & Sons.
Other must-try restaurants include Americana, Tequila Restaurant & Cantina, George The Chili King, Christopher’s Whitey’s Ice Cream, Jethro’s BBQ and The Waveland Café.
Iowa is full of fun activities for adults and kids. Lake Okoboji is the best family getaway. Everyone can enjoy fishing, motor boating, water skiing, jet skiing and of course swimming. It is a natural body of water making up part of the Iowa Great Lakes. Rent a cabin, bring your camper or rough it in tents, there is plenty of space for all experiences.
There are a few iconic spots everyone must check out in Iowa, which have been featured in Hollywood blockbusters. The Field of Dreams, yes the one in the film, where you too can play on the baseball field Kevin Costner did in the flick. The Bridges of Madison County are the most beautiful and historic covered bridges in the country. People were enjoying the bridges long before Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep made them famous on the big screen.
Clear Lake Iowa and the Surf Balloon were made famous by tragedy. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson, were killed in a plane crash outside Clear Lake on February 3, 1959, after finishing what would be their last performance at Surf Balloon. The crash site and ballroom have become tourist destinations, including an annual event held at Surf balloon every year in honor of the talented men gone too soon.
Other fun activates to check out, Prairie Meadows and Casino where adults can watch live horse racing, play slots and tables, as well as enjoy a good meal. Nearby is Adventureland Resort, a water park and amusement park that will keep the kids busy all day and night. Boone Speedway and Knoxville Raceway are perfect for those who love to watch live car races.
The Grotto, Effigy Mounds, Spook Cave, The Brucemore Mansion, Basilica, Fenelon Place Elevator, and Mississippi River Museum, Grout Museum and Lost Island should also be added to the list.
Special Yearly Activities
Iowa is full of unique activities that occur once a year. The Tulip Festival in Pella is a great way to kick off the spring season. It is a celebration of Dutch Heritage and is a three-day event full of parades, food, Dutch performances, craft beer and the one of a kind Tulip gardens. The festival happens every May.
Ragbrai, which stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is a state-wide bike ride that occurs every July. People from all over the country come to participate. The route changes each year, so all cities in Iowa benefit from the annual event, which brings over 8500 riders. It goes east to west and has become such a popular event, there is a lottery drawing for those who want to participate in the ride.
Finally, the best thing to see in Iowa is by far the Iowa State Fair. On over 300 acres of land, people come from all over the country every August to enjoy the 10-day event. It features various competitions, shows, musical guests, all types of animals, a midway full of games rides, as well as game and most importantly food. The fair is famous for its different but delicious foods, mostly on a stick. Corn dogs, tenderloins, pork chop on a stick and giant turkey legs are just a select few of good eats. There are too many amazing foods to mention so you can get the entire list here.
Iowa is chock-full of fabulous things to see, do and eat. However, what makes the state genuinely different is the people. Although I miss doing and eating at all the places I mentioned, what I miss most about my home state the most is the people. There is a sense of community in the state that is unlike anywhere else. Describing in words is hard. You will just have to visit Iowa to find see what I mean.