Iowa is pretty much the face of small town America, and we have tiny little towns scattered all across the state, each one more charming and beautiful than the last. But there is one town in particular that shines extra bright – the little Dutch town of Pella. Pella may only have just over 10,000 residents, but what it lacks in population it more than makes up for in character.
Pella is rich with history and culture.
Pella was founded in 1847 when 800 Dutch immigrants led by Dominie Hendrik P. Scholte settled the area. The name "Pella" is a reference to a place called Perea, which was in the kingdom of Herod the Great, where the Christians of Jerusalem found refuge during the Roman-Jewish War. The name Pella was chosen because Dominie and the rest of the settlers were seeking religious freedom.
Because of its strong Dutch roots, Pella offers some very unique architecture, most notably the wooden windmills you will see around town.
And the town itself is absolutely charming. There are courtyards and parks and gardens galore, plus tulips everywhere during the spring!
And they're famous for their tulips.
Speaking of tulips, make sure you visit Pella during the spring so you can check out their famous Tulip Time festival.
During the festival, there is a parade, crowning of the Tulip Queen, a performance at the Pella Opera, and much more tulip-themed fun.
Visit some historical landmarks.
When you're there, learn a little more about the history of the town and its founder, Dominie Scholte, by visiting the Scholte House Museum and Gardens.
The house contains original furnishings and household items from Holland and America, and the garden features colorful tulips and annuals.
Do a little shopping.
There are countless, unique shops that line the streets of Pella. No matter what you like, you're sure to find something interesting here.
If you're looking to do a little shopping, be sure to check out the Windmill Mall.
Stop for a snack.
And if you're looking for a treat, there's no better place than Jaarsma Bakery.
Don't leave without trying one of their famous Dutch letters, and stroopwafles are delicious, too.
Another must-stop is In't Veld's Meat Market, where you will find a wide variety of mouthwatering meat treats like: beef jerky, summer sausage, dried beef and bratwurst.
Get some fresh air.
If you feel like getting a little fresh air, just drive a few miles outside of town to Lake Red Rock, and be sure to check out the view from the top of the Cordova Observation Tower.
Make a night of it.
And if you're planning to make a night of it, stay at the Royal Amsterdam Hotel, where you will get a great view of the Molengracht Canal while being a quick walk away from the historical village.
What are some more charming, small towns you would like to hear about? Share your thoughts with us!