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

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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Downtown Hampton: Unique Shops in a Rural Iowa Setting

Downtown Hampton: Unique Shops in a Rural Iowa Setting

Exploring downtown areas is one of my favorite things to do in a small town. This past fall, while we were on the Franklin County, Iowa, Harvest Tour, we had an opportunity to check out downtown Hampton, the Franklin County seat. Hampton’s town square, anchored by a stately old courthouse, is surrounded by small, independent shops and cafes, where you are often greeted by the shop owners themselves. Read more

Exploring the Bentonsport Historic District

Exploring the Bentonsport Historic District

The last stop on our tour of the Villages of Van Buren was the Bentonsport historic district, first developed by Mormon craftsmen as they migrated west along the Mormon trail in the mid-1800s. Steamboats no longer ply the nearby Des Moines River, but the historic district is still bustling. Refurbished buildings are now home to galleries, a candy shop, and a haunted bed and breakfast. Read more

Dutchman’s Store: Old-Fashioned Shop in Amish Community

Dutchman’s Store: Old-Fashioned Shop in Amish Community

In 1985 Clair Zimmerman and his wife, Virginia, opened a small general store in Cantril, Iowa, a town that serves the surrounding Amish community. They expanded…and expanded…and expanded. Today Dutchman’s Store occupies an entire block on Cantril’s main street, and it’s as much a tourist attraction as it is a grocery store…or a fabric shop…or a gift shop. Read more

Relics Antique Mall and Tea Room: Largest Antique Mall in Missouri

Relics Antique Mall and Tea Room: Largest Antique Mall in Missouri

Row upon row of French and English antique china cabinets, dining tables and beds…booths stacked with nostalgic toys that bring back childhood memories…fashion jewelry just right to complete your outfit…the perfect statue or painting to add pizazz to your newly decorated room. Over 500 vendors in 90,000 square feet of space make Relics Antique Mall in Springfield, Missouri, the state’s largest store of its kind. In fact, Relics is so large that it’s a destination in itself, complete with a tea room so you don’t even have to leave for lunch. Read more

Pease’s Candy: Five Generations of Sweet Confection

Pease’s Candy: Five Generations of Sweet Confection

Pease’s Candy has been a staple in Springfield, Illinois, since 1930. The chocolate company still uses many of the same recipes for their confections that they’ve used for a hundred years. Folks who live in the Springfield area are bound to be familiar with the pink box filled chocolate goodness, but you don’t even have to visit Springfield to enjoy this local tradition. Read more

Browsing Downtown Hayward, Wisconsin, Shops

Browsing Downtown Hayward, Wisconsin, Shops

Browsing downtown shopping areas has become one of my favorite things to do when visiting a resort town. Along with souvenir and t-shirt shops, I’ll often find unique gift shops, wine tasting rooms, specialty food stores and boutiques. Inevitably I pick up a treat or two. Hayward, a resort town in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, is one of those towns. We spent an entire afternoon shopping and sampling our way through Hayward on our trip there last summer. Read more

Askinosie: From Beans to Chocolate

Askinosie: From Beans to Chocolate

I’ve tasted artisan dark chocolate candies from shops throughout the Midwest. I have savored every bit of every chocolate I’ve nibbled: chocolate infused with flavors like rosemary or chili; beautiful chocolates with a colorful coating painted like artwork; and decadent dark chocolate truffles. But until I discovered Askinosie Chocolate, I had never had an artisan chocolate made completely from scratch, starting with the bean. Read more