Most people who live on the coasts seem to feel like the central part of the country is just miles of nothin'. It's referred to as fly-over country. In 2003, we were in the Northwest and wanted to get to Vermont -- and with our house following us everywhere, flying over was not an option! And so, we pretty much expected to see miles of nothing on our first RV trip East. Well, you do pass by a lot of fields of soybeans and a lot of fields of corn......
But we also discovered much of interest out there in the great center of the country. Our stops weren't planned in advance and these kind of serendipitous finds have a special magic.
We stayed for a week at Amana Colonies, a National Historic Landmark, near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Amana was one of many Utopian colonies established in the US during the 18th and 19th Century. Of these experiments, it was one of the longest active, lasting from 1855 to 1932.
The colonies are made up of seven historic villages (close together), each one with many historic places of interest. Almost 500 of the original colony buildings have survived. We toured as many as we could.
There were other shops featuring old-time Amana-area crafts. We visited, sampled, and bought from several wineries, a brewery, specialty cheese and smoked meat shops and homemade jams and jellies.
For an overview of the Colonies and to learn more of the history, we went to the Visitor Center at the "Old Creamery Theater." While we were signing the visitor book and buying theater tickets for a performance the following night, we noticed that the people just ahead of us were from Springfield Oregon. (We had sold our house there only a few months prior to this trip.) We thought this was quite a coincidence and introduced ourselves. We joined forces with our new friends, Gary and Meredith, to tour more of the villages and we still keep in touch. Although we didn’t live too far apart in Springfield, we hadn’t known each other there.
We ate good German food served family-style at the Colony Inn, in one of the original buildings.
Food was wonderful on this whole leg of our journey. It was late August/early September and we stopped at many wonderful produce stands all along our route. There is nothing like eating locally (no matter where your home is parked).