11 Midwest Popcorn Shops You Must Try

11 Midwest Popcorn Shops You Must Try

I’ve mentioned here before that if  I could have only one snack food for the rest of my life, it would be cheese popcorn. But not just any cheese popcorn. The supermarket stuff won’t do. It must be super cheesy, the kind you can only find in a gourmet popcorn shop. So every time I stumble upon a popcorn shop in my travels, I must go in and buy some.  Here are 11 Midwest popcorn shops I’ve come across in the past few years that offer rich gourmet cheese popcorn—and caramel corn in lots of flavors if you prefer your popcorn sweet. Read more

Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 Posts

Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 Posts

At Midwest Wanderer we write about a variety of article topics. We like to include a mix of restaurants, attractions, festivals, and accommodations. So I was pleasantly surprised when I ran the list of the Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 (most viewed) posts and the top four were a bakery, an attraction, a hotel, and a festival. Apparently you, our readers, like a variety of topics, too. Here is the list of Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 posts: Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 3

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 3

This summer we spent a weekend in Webster City, an agricultural community in North Central Iowa. On Day 1 and Day 2 of our visit, folks from the community chatted with us about farming past and present. The third day of our visit highlighted local community entertainment, as well as a stop at a local grocer that emphasizes locally produced foods. Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 2

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 2

I mentioned in my post covering Day 1 of our visit to Webster City, Iowa, that one of my favorite things about my job as a travel writer is learning about a myriad of subjects. Another thing I love is meeting people from different walks of life and hearing their stories. On Day 2 of our visit to this rural community, I met shop owners, artists, farmers, and a student working on his doctoral degree. Every one of them had an interesting story to tell. Read more

Touring Grant Wood Studio: ‘American Gothic’ Artist

Touring Grant Wood Studio: ‘American Gothic’ Artist

The tiny hayloft above the carriage house was never meant to be living space, only the artist’s studio. However, for eleven years, from 1924 to 1935, Grant Wood lived there–with his mother and sometimes his sister, too. I visited the Grant Wood Studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of a press tour honoring the 125th birth year of the American Regionalist artist and saw how Wood transformed the space into both home and studio. Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

One of my favorite things about my job as a travel writer is learning about a myriad of subjects. Therefore, when I was invited to Webster City, Iowa, to learn about their agricultural community, I jumped at the chance. My husband and I joined several other bloggers and their guests for three days. We not only learned about agriculture and the rural lifestyle in this community, but had a lot of fun, too. Read more

Brucemore: The Mansion and the People Who Lived There

Brucemore: The Mansion and the People Who Lived There

Have you ever traded houses with someone? I mean, for keeps? In 1905, George and Irene Douglas traded their city home for the mansion that would become known as Brucemore, located about ten miles outside of Cedar Rapids. During a tour of the 16,000 square foot Brucemore, I not only took in the opulence of the home’s design and furnishings, but also learned about the fascinating lives of two families who lived there. Read more

Exploring NewBo: Trendy Cedar Rapids Neighborhood

Exploring NewBo: Trendy Cedar Rapids Neighborhood

When devastation strikes, it’s difficult to imagine good coming from it, but that’s what happened in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, New Bohemia neighborhood, referred to as NewBo, following the great Cedar River flood of 2008. Most buildings in the already declining New Bohemia neighborhood filled eight feet or more with floodwaters. Sadly, some historic buildings were torn down rather than repaired. However, with federal and state funds, as well as insurance money, a building resurgence occurred. Today NewBo is booming with new shops, restaurants, and pubs.

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The Hotel at Kirkwood Center: Full-Service Teaching Hotel Wows Guests

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center: Full-Service Teaching Hotel Wows Guests

How many community colleges do you know of that run their own hotel? Not many, I’ll bet, especially a full-service hotel. There are only six in the entire United States, and I had the privilege of staying in one last month during a press trip to Cedar Rapids hosted by Iowa Tourism. The Hotel at Kirkwood Center is part of Kirkwood Community College’s hospitality arts program, which also includes The Class Act restaurant. Read more

Old Fort Madison Recalls Rough Life of Early Soldiers

Old Fort Madison Recalls Rough Life of Early Soldiers

It was considered the “Walmart” of its time. Fort Madison, the first U.S. settlement on the upper Mississippi River, was set up as a trading post, also known as a factory. It was the third highest revenue grossing factory in the country. But by 1813 the post was abandoned and burned. A replica of the post, known as Old Fort Madison, tells the story of the rough life soldiers faced at Fort Madison. Read more