Now that our time in Iowa has come to an end, I’d like to review our Iowa Bucket List that I made a few months before we moved to Iowa in July 2017. I’m actually incredibly impressed with how much we were able to see! Plus, we had a few big trips (namely, the Dominican Republic and Hawaii) that weren’t on the list! Unfortunately, an unexpected pregnancy and the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in our plans to visit the remaining locations on our Iowa Bucket List, but we weren’t too disappointed as we welcomed the opportunity to stay home and save our money for our European adventures with our little man 😉
My Original Iowa Bucket List:
1. Badlands/Black Hills/Mount Rushmore/Wounded Knee, South Dakota We missed Wounded Knee but hit the other locations. I LOVED our time in South Dakota and would love to go back. (Obviously only in the summertime. I hate winter.)
2. Yellowstone National Park (Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho) Nope. Yellowstone is so big that we decided that we would want to spend a few weeks in the area. So we’ll put this on our list for a future trip! (We would like to spend a year RVing in our post-Army life.)
3. North Dakota Nope, we want to visit ND on our someday RV trip.
4. Laura Ingalls Wilder Museums in Walnut Grove, Minnesota; Pepin, Wisconsin; and De Smet, South Dakota. YES! We also visited her little-known house in Burr Oak, Iowa. I never blogged/Instagrammed about the Burr Oak or Walnut Grove trips, but they happened 😉
5. Chicago, Illinois We didn’t get to visit everything on our list due to weather, which was a bit of a bummer.
6. Omaha, Nebraska. I also never blogged about this because our dog, Ellie, ate my camera SD card before I could upload pictures to my computer. (Same reason why I never shared about the Walnut Grove, Minnesota trip… it was on the same SD card!) Omaha was a hidden gem and we really enjoyed it– also because it was during my second trimester of pregnancy and I was finally feeling back to my normal self.
7. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Nope. We never made it down to Kansas before my friend PCSed,
8. Mackinac Island, Michigan Nope. Someday!
9. Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Prairie School” architecture houses, Park Inn Hotel, and the Music Man Square. I visited Music Man Square when my sister came to visit! We walked past the Park Inn Hotel and the Stockman House (Frank Lloyd Wright house.)
After we moved to Iowa, we naturally learned about other places that we wanted to visit during our 3-year stint in the Midwest.
-Herbert Hoover National Historic Site/Presidential Library and Museum. I took Drew there when we had a medical appointment in Iowa City. Sadly, the library and museums were still closed due to coronavirus, but we were still able to walk around the grounds.
-Decorah, Iowa Yup! We visited Decorah when we visited Burr Oak. I don’t think I took any photos on that trip, though. We had also planned to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary in Decorah, but little man ended up having surgery down in Iowa City that day instead.
-Saint Anthony Falls (part of Mississippi National River and Recreation Area) We visited in July 2017 when we first moved to the Midwest.
-Visiting an Iowa Dairy Farm. This adventure was towards the beginning of our time in Iowa and still one of my favorites! I think it’s so important for “city slickers” like myself to actually see where and how our food is made!
-Color the Wind kite festival in Clear Lake We went to Color the Wind during our first winter in Iowa and while it was fun, later that day Andy broke his finger while taking our dog on a walk. We decided after that to maybe avoid walking around on a frozen pond for fear of breaking another finger.
-Saw the Canadian-Pacific Holiday Train in December 2017 This was really fun. The Holiday Train came back to Mason City in 2019 and we wanted to take Drew to see it, but ended up visiting my family in Kentucky instead.
Even though our 39-month stint in Iowa was our least-favorite place to live thus far in Andy’s Army career, we still made lemonade out of lemons. Onto the next adventure!