we had a very mild winter in iowa! it was unseasonably warm. (if that sounded like a complaint, it was not. maybe a little fear we’ll get payback later). we’re talking the occasional 60º day in FEBRUARY. that’s unthinkable, or it was. but on the days it happened, it was like mother nature was peer pressuring you to get outside + make the most of it. because within 48 hours, she could send a snow or ice storm your way. so we did.
on a unicorn of a “winter” day, I convinced the husband to get in the car + drive south. with our dog in the backseat. it wasn’t until we had been driving about 15 minutes that I revealed our destination. we were headed to winterset, IA. it’s a small town located 30 miles away from des moines. it is well-known for being the birth place of john wayne AND the inspiration behind the book “the bridges of madison county” + even better, where they shot the movie. (think: clint eastwood + meryl streep in the mid 90’s). as an iowan, I felt like it should be high up on the must visit list.
covered bridges | winterset, IA.
after doing a bit of research, I read the best views in madison county could be found at clark tower. (a tribute of sorts to the original settlers). it’s in the city park and you can get there by car or foot. not in my research: the car option is NOT an option during the winter months. they close the park to vehicles. so, hiking was it. we figured we’d made it this far, why not? so, we took to the trails. “one mile” on a dirt trail, through a tree-covered forest with a heck of a lot of hills for this is being “flat” iowa, WE MADE IT! (I’m convinced it was longer than a mile). the views were gorgeous + well worth it. after our hike back to the car, we drove past john wayne’s childhood home and three of the famous covered bridges. it was a really great way to spend what started out as a plan-less, beautiful saturday!
is there a place close that you’ve been meaning to visit? you should go!