Iowa Natural Wonders and Agri-Cultural Heritage

Western Iowa – 2 Days

Council Bluffs, Honey Creek, Missouri Valley, Elk Horn, Manning

Day 1

Along the Missouri River in western Iowa exists a geological masterpiece that’s recognized the world over as having the finest agricultural soil, and long-revered for its tapestry of scenic spaces, artisans and rich cultural heritage. We’ll discover the beauty of the Loess Hills while visiting Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. Get hands on experiences learning about the preservation of this fragile ecosystem, viewing the unique wildlife or exploring the 13 miles of hiking trails perfect for all abilities.

We’ll continue to explore the Loess Hills area gourmet artisanal foods and wine, organic farms, and embrace nature in its finest setting. Smell the fragrance of French lavender fields and sip on some lavender lemonade at a lavender farm. Visit a creamery and taste artisan cheese crafted using fresh milk from goats that are fed rich, chemical-free alfalfa and raised on the farm. You’ll be introduced to a fruit that’s gaining in popularity because it’s packed with antioxidants and offers Iowa farmers a value-added crop and a good way to diversify farm income.

The Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau will help you with accommodations, dining, and entertainment options for the evening.

Continued…Iowa Natural Wonders and Agri-Cultural Heritage

Day 2

Did you ever wonder how a 60-foot Danish Windmill ended up in Elk Horn, Iowa? Did you ever wonder what it would be like to live in a barn… with your farm animals? Today’s agri-cultural heritage attractions will provide some answers to these natural “wonders”!

Growing green and wind energy is not something new to the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn– It’s been “green” since 1848! Once the mill was one of thousands scattered across the Danish countryside, and today it stands amid fields of modern wind turbines on the Iowa prairie. We’ll see grain processing as it was done in Denmark more than 150 years ago when farmers brought their harvest to the mill and wind energy was used to grind grain into flour. Before we leave, we’ll find out how the Danish Windmill ended up in Elk Horn and why. Here’s a clue–it all started with a farmer.

If your kids wonder why they have to share a room with their siblings, you can tell them it could be worse! In 17th century Germany, it was a common practice for a farmer’s house (bauernhaus) to be shared by families and their livestock. You’ll get to go inside an authentic German Hausbarn built in 1664 that was moved to Manning and rebuilt by German and American craftsmen.

Nearby is the William A. Leet and Frederick Hassler Farmstead District. The farm was home to an innovative and progressive early twentieth century Poland China purebred hog operation. The details and condition of the high quality Arts and Crafts style home and the fact that all of the original farm structures are intact is very rare. The home was built as something of a country estate and the farm structures were meant to impress and reflected the most progressive ideas in farm buildings and livestock production of the day.

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