Iowa July 01, 2017
10 Hidden Gems You’ll Find Along Iowa’s Great River Road
Iowa’s Great River Road is a unique trip that offers breathtaking views of our beautiful state’s most interesting terrain. For people who may think Iowa is a flat state, traveling our Great River Road will change their point of view. Located in the northeastern corner of Iowa, the high rocky bluffs and limestone gorges combine with rolling hills to create a perfect place to see hawks, bald eagles, and other native wildlife.
If you decide to travel the Great River Road, there are a few places you may want to stop along the way. Here are our suggestions:
1. Empty Nest Winery, 1352 Apple Rd., Waukon
If you are traveling over the weekend, be sure to stop by this incredible Iowa winery. They have a delicious Party Starter Strawberry wine, a Full Moon Dry white wine, and a dry red called Red High Heels, among many others. Tasting hours are Friday 4pm to 9pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 1pm to 5pm.
2. Sodes Green Acre Country Market and Café, 7 Goethe St., Guttenberg
This full-service cafe has a country market, gift shop, and a full bar. Stretch your legs and take in the warm hospitality of Guttenberg at this quaint eastern Iowa treasure.
3. Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, 104 3rd St. SW, Dyersville
This was the first Catholic church built in Dyersville in 1887. The church was raised in rank to minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII in 1956. It's one of 53 basilicas in the United States. You can see the inside of the church by entering through the north or south doors any day between 6am and 8pm.
4. River Ridge Brewing, 118 N Riverview, Bellevue
This is another great Iowa-owned place to stop when traveling on the weekend. The owners were born and raised in Bellevue and they are dedicated to providing visitors with the best possible experience. The decor inside the taproom is reclaimed from the owners' Iowa family farms.
5. Clinton County Historical Society Museum, 601 S 1st St., Clinton
Established in 1965, this museum tells the story of the earliest Mississippi River settlers and the lumber business that helped this area of Iowa grow and thrive. You'll see rare manually-powered fire engines and furniture original to the time period. The museum is open between 9am and 11am every day except Saturday and from 1pm until 4pm on Sunday.
6. Bucktown Center for the Arts, 225 E 2nd St., Davenport
There are over a dozen studios and shops here where visitors can view and purchase the work of local artists. Housed in a historic downtown Davenport building, there are artists that work with watercolors, cyanotype prints, collages, metal, found objects, papier mache, ink, photography, glassware, and pottery.
7. Muscatine Arboretum, 3300 Cedar St., Muscatine
Located in Discovery Park, this is a living tree museum you won't want to miss. The 13-acre area features ornamental and native trees, a labyrinth, demonstration gardens, and ornamental grasses.
8. Simply Soothing Iowa Marketplace, 208 Eastern Access Rd., Columbus Junction
These are the folks that invented "Bug Soother" with its happy smell and ability to banish bugs without chemicals. Their retail location is full of hand-crafted Iowa goods.
9. Capitol Theater of Burlington, 211 N 3rd St.
With 355 seats, this historic and working theater is a great place to catch a show and experience the beauty of a 1937 Art Deco jewel. The theater is open from 2pm until 5pm Tuesday through Saturday, one hour before a live event, and 30 minutes before movies.
10. Harvestville Farm, 1977 Highway 2, Donnellson
This working 5th generation family farm has fresh garden produce, Farm to Table Dinners, home and garden decor, two play areas for families, fresh baked goods, and delicious food served at the on-site Pitchfork Cafe. The farm is open every day starting in May.
Are you ready for a beautiful Iowa road trip?