When I moved to Iowa, the Iowa State Fair went straight on the ‘Iowa Bucket List’. We don’t have fairs quite like this in the UK and every Iowan seems to have gone multiple times, so of course I wanted to see what the fuss was about! The fair is located in Des Moines and in 2016 over 1 million people visited! Here’s what I thought of the 2017 fair as a first timer (for those stats lovers 120,833 people were at the fair the day I visited) my tips for anyone else thinking about visiting the Iowa State Fair!
Now I was shocked to find out that it is in fact possible to reach the Atlantic Ocean from Lake Michigan. I just always assumed with it being a 1000 miles away from the sea that it was probably land locked. But after discovering that cargo ships could in fact travel from Kenosha Wisconsin all the way to SOUTH AFRICA, the dots of Kenosha’s history all connect together!
I love flicking through destination visitor guides. Sometimes on a website you may miss something if you’re not quite looking in the right place but in a guide, it’s all there in black and white for you to see. Back in April, I discovered that Kenosha (Wisconsin) had a section of their guide entitled “Get Your 10,000 Steps While Enjoying the Kenosha Area”. Now as a Fitbit obsessed person, I was desperate to get back to Kenosha in the summer to test a couple of the routes out! I was so impressed that a destination was actually targeting the 10,000 step counting market!
During the months of July and August (for the past 25 years!) the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa comes alive with ghosts of the Chicago White Sox for their free event ‘Ghost Sunday Comedy Show’.
Ever since I was small, I’ve LOVED what us British call ‘Service Stations’. Basically they are glorified petrol/gas stations but they will have a separate building with a food court, gift shop/’newspaper shop’, nice toilets, maybe a small games arcade etc. They remind me of the excitement of going on holiday in our caravan. I recently stopped at Iowa 80, which claims to be the world’s largest truck stop, it even has its own trucking museum!
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque is one of Iowa’s top tourist attractions! It is one of only a handful of establishments that is accredited by BOTH the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums! The museum is split into 2 main sections, the National River Center and the Mississippi River Center (which focuses on the history and wildlife found along the Mississippi) and today I share my favourite must see areas of the museum!
For me, sometimes it’s the silliest of things that attract me to a destination. For example, I went to Jamaica to go on a bobsleigh track in a rainforest. I signed up for the Kenosha pre conference trip at the Women in Travel Summit, purely because I wanted to go on a tour of the Jelly Belly Warehouse. Little did I realise, that Kenosha would steal my heart, I was just about ready to pack up and move into one of the houses along 1st Avenue, that overlook the waters of Lake Michigan.
When I moved to America I thought I’d never get to have a British cream tea ever again. Then Dubuque decided to throw out one better, a FULL English Afternoon Tea experience at the Inspire Cafe in the historic Millwork District! The Afternoon Tea tradition dates back to the 1800s. They usually include: a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, cake and scones (cream teas are smaller and only have scones and tea). When my American family came over for our wedding in the UK, we took them to a tea room for an English Cream Tea and we even served it at our wedding reception!