IN IOWA EXISTS a comfortable familiarity for me. It’s not that I’ve explored much of this state, except the northern fringes. But Iowa feels like a friendly next door neighbor or cousin, the ruralness of this land creating an instant bond.
For in Iowa—the Iowa I’ve seen—the lay of the land, the length of the sky, the scenes of barns and fields and small towns connect to my rural southwestern Minnesota roots.
I feel at home in Iowa, the place that is often the butt of Minnesota jokes. Outside the Twin Cities metro and the lakes and woods of northern Minnesota, our landscape mostly duplicates that of our southern neighbor.
It’s OK to admit you like Iowa. Some of my favorite trips have been to Iowa communities—Clear Lake, Mason City, Decorah, McGregor, Marquette and Dubuque. These towns possess character and hold natural and historic interest for me.
Sometimes we need to step outside our boxes of preconceived ideas about a place and simply explore. Leave the metro and drive a gravel road, stop in a small town, delight in the simplicity of a rural landscape. Iowa and many parts of Minnesota are more than the middle of nowhere. If we choose to slow down, we begin to notice the nuances that define a place, that make it worth our time to visit and to appreciate.
TELL ME: If you’ve traveled to Iowa, what community would you suggest visiting and why? Or, if you haven’t been there, tell me what a visitor should see in your state or country?
© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
NOTE: All images were taken in late May 2016 on a return trip from Minnesota to Boston.