Iowa’s Hidden Treasures

I am Iowa born and raised.  Even though I have been here my whole life, there are a lot of things in this state I have yet to explore and discover.  I have a bit of a checklist in my head.  This past weekend I checked another item off my list.  Do you recognize this window below?

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Any ideas?  Does this next picture help you?

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Got it now?  What if I say to picture a farmer with a pitchfork and a frumpy looking woman standing next to him?  And that the style of window is Gothic?  And that the house is made of Wood.

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If the phrase Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic is ringing through your head, you’re right!  This house, which was the backdrop of the famous painting, is located in Eldon, Iowa.  A visit here is more than just seeing the exterior of the house.  There is a very nice visitor center that is free.  You can view a 28-min video about Grant Wood’s life (I can’t vouch for the quality of the video since I skipped it).  There is also a display room with multiple exhibits.  You can read about the painting, the 2 people who posed for it, and all sorts of the parodies that have been done of the picture.  Once you’re done with all of that you can peruse through the gift shop.  Inventory isn’t real high, but it didn’t feel like as much of a tourist trap as some gift shops do, which was a plus in my book.

The highlight of this stop was dressing up!  Yes, they had costumes that matched the outfits worn in the painting.  They had multiple sizes available along with all the props.  The costumes are all tied on or slipped over your head so you don’t have to change.  It gets better; the whole center is staffed with amazing volunteers who will take your picture FOR FREE!  As long as you bring your phone or camera they will gladly line you up in front of the house and take the picture for you.  If you don’t have a camera with you, then they have one available and can make a print for you (but there is a small cost associated with this).

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Tom was such a good sport!

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Ready for his glamour shot! (notice all the suit coats in the background)

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I had a major giggle fit so had a hard time perfecting my stoic look.

As a sort of added bonus, there were some beautiful wildflowers surrounding the visitor’s center.  I couldn’t help but stop and take some pictures of those as well.

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