SW Florida may be a popular vacation spot, for many, but every year I pack my bags and hit the road for my summer vacation. It was time for a road trip, and this year’s destination was the Iowa State Fair.
My first destination was Minneapolis Mn, a young person's city with independent coffee shops on every corner and a sense of purpose felt by everyone enjoying every minute of outside life before the cold settles back in. A city rich in art, diversity, beautiful lakes, and knowing that Bob Dylan played his early music here makes me smile.
On my third day in of my trip, we hit the road headed to Iowa traveling route 35 south. It was where we first met Norlyn and who better to greet us at the Iowa visiting center. Norlyn an older proud Iowan, who schooled us on Iowa's history and its people as if he was greeting us at the end of the road alongside his home. Later we arrived at our destination Des Moines, a city in transition where I felt the absence of what other cities offer such as the hustle and bustle of activity and noise. Des Moines I refer to as “the perfect non- city”; where the capital building with its grand golden dome is visible at every vantage point.
I found Iowa contemporary, quiet, and quite proud.
A good traveler samples local food, visits important sites, and greets people along the way; but a thoughtful traveler takes it one step further becoming inspired in every facet of the trip. That was us, writing down agenda points, organizing food choices such as Corn Dogs, Deep Fried Deviled Eggs, Pork Belly on a Stick, and Fried Pickle Poppers. Whatever best contributed to the Iowa experience was on the table. Like listening and singing to the Music Man on YouTube on the road to Mason City and then squeezing in a photo op standing alongside the statue of Meredith Willson at Music Man Square while twirling a baton.
The joy of traveling strengthens because of the people you’re with and who you meet along the way make it memorable. Like Norlyn, there was Dave, a stranger to us but a friend of a friend, born and bred in Iowa. Dave shared stories and escorted us around the city. He brought us to a great place for lunch that served its special baked potato soup. While Tyler our young waiter at breakfast charmed us when he pulled up a chair to share his life stories, and of course Angela our Uber driver who drove us to the fair and told us about her love for competitive archery.
So, what did I learned on my trip about “Iowa Nice”? I learned when Iowans let you in, they share with an open heart; and what I always knew about “Iowa Nice” already originated from a vintage sampler that hung on the kitchen wall in my Grandmother’s apartment,
--Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man. --- by Sam Walter Foss
I guess you can call that “Bronx Nice”.
--- By JMD The Creator of Aging Creative
Some of my pics of my trip to the Iowa State Fair 2019