Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Stopping in Iowa September 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:41 AM
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THERE ARE STOPLIGHTS and then there are stoplights.

Stoplights in Dubuque, red

I could not believe the number of stoplights at this intersection in Dubuque, Iowa. Crazy.

You better know where you’re headed when you encounter this intersection in this major metro area just across the Mississippi River from Illinois.

Stoplights in Dubuque, green

We were aiming for the downtown, one you will definitely want to visit if you appreciate historic architecture.

Love, love, love this old river town, which my husband and I explored on a recent get-away. I know, who goes to Iowa, you ask, especially if you are a Minnesotan. We did, on our way to our final destination in Galena, Illinois, another historic river town.

Iowa presented some sweet moments and interesting discoveries, all of which I will share in upcoming posts. Our southern neighbor may bill itself as offering “fields of opportunities.” But, thankfully, this state presents more than fields. Even this prairie farm girl tired of all the corn and demanded finding a faster four-lane route aiming east toward the river and hills.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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15 Responses to “Stopping in Iowa”

  1. chlost Says:

    Love Galena, and Decorah is my favorite of all Iowa towns. Dubuque…..a close second. What fun to find these small cities/towns on the big river. We live on the river just a few hundred miles upstream, so they are our neighbors!

    • Oh, Decorah. I absolutely adore that community, which we visited last summer. Another great river town. Have you been to the small river towns of Marquette and McGregor, Iowa? Two more favorites, which I still need to write about here. So much to write about all the time.

  2. hotlyspiced Says:

    Yes, that sure is a lot of traffic lights and worst of all, they’re all red! I have only seen scenes of Iowa in movies but it does look very scenic. I was pleased to hear you spent the weekend with your siblings too. How lovely that you all live in the same city xx

    • Iowa has a lot of farmland and prairie, but also rivers and hills, depending on what part of the state you visit.

      Only two of my sisters live in the same community. The rest of us are scattered in other Minnesota communities and rural areas, from east to west.

  3. Jackie Says:

    I’ve been waiting for some posts on your Galens/Dubuque get-away…. I will patiently continue to wait. We hope to return to visit Galena again one day 🙂

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    That is quite an intersection. Looking forward to you posts detailing your adventures.

  5. John Says:

    I would like to recommend you visit the Main Street community of Elkader, Iowa. It is on the Turkey River and quite unique for Iowa.

    • Thanks, John. What makes Elkader unique and worth a visit?

      • John Says:

        It is the county seat of Clayton County, Iowa. Population is about 1400. It has 10 buildings on the National Historic Register, the Main Street is a historical district, the old historical type, somewhat like Galena but smaller. The Keystone Bridge over the Turkey River downtown is the largest bridge of its type west of the Mississippi River. Stop in and visit St. Joseph Church, on the historical register, it has unique stained glass windows. About 5 miles south of Elkader is the Motor Mill Historic site, now owned by the county as a park and open some weekends, also a campground. The Osborne Nature Center is just south of town on Hwy 13, it contains an old restored Iowa town, a nature center and an official Iowa Welcome Center. Some people like the Whitewater Park, I have not been there yet. Backbone State Park in the area is one of Iowa’s better state parks (Iowa does not charge admission to its state parks.). It is located on an Iowa Scenic byway too. I probably left some things out. Check http://www.elkader-iowa.com/visitorsGuidehtml. I forgot to mention the bakery. It is much less touristy than Galena. There are no fast food or chain resturants there. I think you would enjoy it.

      • John, thanks for the additional info. I just checked Google maps to see the location. We were actually in Clayton County. We stayed in the Mississippi River town of Marquette last summer and again this summer, we liked it so much. That and McGregor. Beautiful and charming small river towns, exactly what we like.

        You’re right about Galena being touristy. Eventually I will write about our visit there.


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