The Sioux got it right when they named our uniquely blessed state Iowa…meaning “beautiful land”. You’ll agree as you explore the idyllic rolling hills of southeast Iowa, the mighty and majestic Mississippi, scenic “Little Switzerland” of northeast Iowa, and some of the world’s most fertile farmland and our vast prairies. Plus, you’ll get acquainted with people you’d never meet on your own—including an Amish family and their Percheron horses, a dairy farmer who will explain how milk goes from cows to your table, and the agricultural workers at the Midwest Old Thresher.
- Meet an Amish family and enjoy a homemade dinner
- Enjoy a delicious lunch and tour of the Midwest Old Thresher’s Museum
- Go behind-the-scenes at the John Deere Harvester Works and Isabel Bloom Factory
- Visit the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute
- Take in gorgeous views at Pikes Peak State Park
- Experience dairy, grain, and heirloom seed farms
- Free airport shuttle or hotel parking
- Bag handling (1 per person) at hotels
- Fees & tips for included attractions/meals
- Welcome reception, 24-hour emergency call service, free bottled water on coach
DAY 1–WELCOME TO DES MOINES
Welcome to Des Moines, Iowa. This evening, you’ll meet your fellow travelers and Discovery Director at our welcome reception.
DAY 2–CANDY MAKING/HY-VEE BANANA WHIZ/AMISH VISIT
We’ll start out with a visit to an old-time candy making demonstration at Piper’s Grocery Store in Chariton. Next, we learn about the nationally-known “Hy-Vee Grocery Banana Whiz”. The meticulous method of preparing bananas for shipment helps to preserve their shelf life. Then it’s off to meet members of the Moravia Historic Society at the Wabash Depot Museum. Here we’ll sit down to a delicious picnic lunch with a few historic society members. Later this afternoon, we’ll head to Davis County and tour the beautiful and historic Davis County Courthouse. Finally, we visit the horse farm and stables of an Amish family, and then this evening, we enjoy a delicious home cooked dinner at a local Mennonite church in Bloomfield. B, L, D
DAY 3–OLD THRESHER’S MUSEUM/QUAD CITIES EXPLORATION
This morning we’ll savor a home style country breakfast prepared by a local civic club in Birmingham and then head over to the Midwest Old Thresher’s Museum for a fascinating step back into our agricultural heritage...a surprise ride that’s sure to make you reminisce. After the tour, we will feast on an included buffet lunch. Then, you will get a chance to take some amazing pictures of the Mississippi River and Norbert F. Beckey Bridge at Riverside Park in Muscatine. We conclude today with a visit to the Winter Bison Ranch to see its unique herd. Afterwards, we continue to our hotel in downtown Davenport. This vibrant city was declared “The Most Livable Small City in America”. You will have free time to explore the city on your own tonight. B, L
DAY 4–JOHN DEERE FACTORY/ISABEL BLOOM/MISSISSIPPI RIVER MUSEUM
A captivating behind-the-scenes tour at John Deere Harvester Works along the Mississippi begins the day. Here we’ll see the step-by-step process of making the famous farm equipment in one of the most modern and efficient factories in the world. Then we’ll call on the Isabel Bloom Showroom for a behind-the-scenes visit to see how their world-famous figurines are handcrafted. We’ll enjoy lunch at the historic Decker Hotel in Maquoketa. Then, arriving in Dubuque, explore the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, so distinguished that it’s been chosen as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. We stay overnight at the elegant Hotel Julien Dubuque— some may wish to join an optional excursion up the world’s shortest and steepest scenic railway, known as the Fenelon Place Elevator or 4th Street Elevator. At the top marvel at the spectacular views of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois! B, L
DAY 5–LOCK AND DAM/PIKES PEAK STATE PARK/SEED SAVERS EXCHANGE
This morning wake up ready for a mouth-watering breakfast at Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. Scenery abounds as we head north along the Mississippi River Valley to Guttenberg and its Lock and Dam for a “see-how-it-works” visit. Have your cameras out—Pikes Peak State Park offers some of the most stunning views in the Midwest. We’ll stand high above the Mississippi across from where the Wisconsin River empties into our nation’s longest waterway. Then, we’ll stop by the Seed Savers Exchange—its members have been passing on garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds. Gardeners will surely want to stock up on their favorite seeds. Tonight we will end the night in Decorah with a memorable in a local eatery. B, D
DAY 6–FISH HATCHERY/BILY CLOCKS/LITTLE BROWN CHURCH/GRAIN FARM
Off to see the world-famous Decorah eagle nest (Mother Nature permitting), and Decorah Fish Hatchery. We will then head to Spillville to tour St. Wenceslaus, the oldest Czech Catholic church in the United States. During your visit you will have the chance to sample kolache, a delectable Czech pastry. Before leaving Spillville we will tour Bily Clocks. These unique hand-crafted clocks are so astounding that The Smithsonian has tried to secure several. This afternoon, we continue our journey to see the Little Brown Church in Nashua, famous for hosting more than 75,000 weddings. We will cap off the day with a visit to the Mueller grain farm to learn about no-till farming of corn, grain, and soybeans. The Mueller's will even treat you to cookies and lemonade on their front porch! B, L, D
DAY 7–HANSEN’S DAIRY/MATCHSTICK MARVELS/ALTOONA
This morning starts with an impressive tour of Hansen’s Dairy in Hudson. On a trolley ride around the farm, we’ll see calves, cows, wallabies and kangaroos as well as their milking and processing facilities. The tour concludes with a delicious scoop of homemade ice cream. Then we head to Gladbrook to Matchstick Marvels where Patrick Acton crafts intricate sculptures out of matchsticks. You’ll be fascinated by models of the U.S. Capitol, Space Shuttle, and Notre Dame. Enjoy one last lunch together at Claxon's Smokehouse in Altoona before returning to Des Moines enriched by the natural beauty and culture of our 29th state. B, L
Night 1: Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport and Conference Center
Night 2: AmericInn by Wyndham, Ottumwa
Night 3: Radisson Quad City Plaza Hotel, Davenport
Night 4: Hotel Julien, Dubuque
Night 5: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Decorah
Night 6: Hilton Garden Inn, Cedar Falls
Jul 13-19, 2021
Sep 21-27, 2021
Price Per Person:
Pre-/Post-Tour Hotel: $148/night
Depart/Return: Des Moines, IA
Highs in the mid-70s to mid-80s / Lows in the mid-50s to mid-60s
Schedule your flight to arrive by 5:00 p.m. on Day 1.
Tour concludes at Des Moines Airport and hotel at 2:30 p.m. on last day.
The Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport and Conference Center offers complimentary shuttle service for Pre/Post Hotel accommodations.
Free parking is offered during the tour at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport and Conference Center
Moderate to Extensive walking on uneven pavement and pathways is required to fully enjoy this tour.
Hair dryers, TV/cable, and telephone available at hotels.
Dress on tour is casual.
Further information is mailed upon receipt of your reservation. A total of three mailings are sent to assist you in preparing for your tour…Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Our “Get Ready” packet is sent confirming your reservation. Our “Get Set” packet provides further information approximately 90 days prior to departure with important details regarding making your travel arrangements. Finally, our “Go” packet arrives 2-3 weeks before departure containing your final documents.
Updates to this document are available from our Discovery Reservations Team, and will be posted online at CountryTravelDiscoveries.com/OIA.
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