You might associate Iowa with corn fields and cows, and the state sure does have a lot of those. But there’s a lot more to Iowa, including countless local flavors that extend far beyond the realms of corn and dairy. We put together a list of stops along the Mississippi that show just how diverse and delicious the flavors of Iowa are.
Places to eat:
Schera’s offers an array of Mediterranean favorites and Iowan classics. The Mediterranean dishes pay homage to the town’s namesake, Algerian leader Emir Adb El Kader. At Schera’s you can get your falafel with a side of fried pickles. Now that’s the best of both worlds.
The Wild Carrot (Waverly)
The upbeat yet cozy atmosphere of The Wild Carrot makes it the perfect place to stop for breakfast or lunch. The menu features American favorites including burgers, cheesesteaks and the dish that made the restaurant famous, carrot cake.
Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ (Bellevue)
Who says Iowans can’t do spicy? If you can’t wait to get down South, Flatted Fifth has you covered. This unique spot offers Southern-inspired dishes like jambalaya, pulled pork and gumbo to keep you on the edge of your seat while you tap your foot to live music.
Things to do:
Osborne Welcome Center (Elkader)
The Osborne Welcome Center is the perfect place to stretch your legs after a trip in the car. Peruse the Native Wildlife Exhibit and learn about Iowa’s many species of plants and animals. Then, take a walk down one of the scenic nature trails for a breath of fresh air before stopping in the gift shop for a souvenir to remember your adventure. Osborne Park is located 5 miles south of Elkader on Highway 13.
Froelich 1890s Village Museum (McGregor)
Step back in time with a tour through this historic gem. See turn-of-the-century inventions, a country store and an old schoolhouse as they were over a century ago. Tours available daily (except Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Find hours and ticket information here.
Places to eat:
Atlas Steak & Smokehouse (Fort Madison)
Atlas Steak & Smokehouse wrote the book on farm-to-table dining. This steakhouse sources its beef from a farm just six miles from its front door. It doesn’t get fresher than that! Located across the street from Riverview Park and Old Fort Madison, Atlas is the perfect place to wine and dine before a sunset walk along the Mississippi. See the menu here.
Wide River Winery (Clinton)
Enjoy live music on the water’s edge. Take in the scenery as you experience wine made on the Mississippi. Check out their website to get info on events and offers. You won’t want to miss their seasonal specials. While you’re there, get a behind-the-scenes look at the facility and learn the art of wine-making.
Rastrelli’s Italian Restaurant (Clinton)
This Italian bistro is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. In fact, people love it so much that Rastrelli’s offers overnight delivery of its pizzas anywhere in the United States. That means you can relive your trip with a taste of one of Iowa’s best Italian restaurants long after your vacation ends. View menu options and learn more about Rastrelli’s on their website.
Things to do:
Blue Hyll Dairy (Clinton)
This dairy farm is home to 1,200 cows and goes through 75 tons of feed every day to keep the animals fed and happy. The family-owned facility has been providing dairy products to restaurants and grocers all over the area for over 50 years, and they are proud to welcome visitors. Check their Facebook page for hours and plan your visit to see the farm in action.
The Sawmill Museum (Clinton)
This one-of-a-kind interpretive center pays tribute to the United States’ lumber industry and emphasizes the pivotal role Clinton played in developing the Midwest. The museum features vintage sawmill equipment and, in July, will open a virtual reality lograft simulator for visitors to experience the Mississippi the way loggers did in the 1800s. Visit their website for hours and ticket information.