The irony of this post is truly found in the fact that months before I was in Iowa, I was doing a show that portrayed the beauty and majesty of the world of this melancholy state. However, let it be known, that the appreciation I have for the family that lived within this musical is far greater after having spent a couple of weeks of my life in the, in my opinion, the other dimension state.
Don’t get me wrong, every state has a certain charisma that is very charming, but Iowa felt different than any other state, and I went to school in Indiana! I also think I might be a little closed minded because I obviously think that Michigan is the superior midwest state. HAHA I promise this isn’t a Michigan love letter blog. I know I talk about Michigan a lot, but I can’t help it! OKAY, I promise we are talking about Iowa.
While we were in Iowa, we spent the majority of our time in Cedar Rapids where we tech-ed the show. Cedar Rapids is known as “City of Five Seasons.” There is a Five Season tree that sits in the middle of the city. Apparently there the fifth season is based on a Biblical principle of the seasons of life and how there is time in Cedar Rapids for all seasons. Here is the direct slogan from the Cedar Rapids website:
Life is the sum of all the seasons with which it is filled. And if we have time to enjoy the things most important to us, life is rich and full indeed.In Cedar Rapids there is time enough… time to enjoy the seasons as they pass. Extra time. Precious time. A fifth season.
The first thing we did when we got to Cedar Rapids was attend the Market After Dark festival. It was so much fun! There was a live band that could be heard throughout the entire city. All of the local vendors had booths! We were exhausted after a long travel day, but it was still such a BLAST!
The most bizarre thing about Cedar Rapids though was that it literally shut down on the weekends. You couldn’t get food. You couldn’t get coffee. AND FORGET about any kind of sight seeing or local activity. However, on the weekdays, there was a lovely market downtown, Newbo City Market, that had a lot of local options. We enjoyed coffee around downtown at the Early Bird, Brewhemia (one of my favorites even though we only went there once), and The Blue Strawberry. One of my favorite lunch spots that we discovered was Café Saint. Pro. We RAN there during a quick lunch break, but the lavender lemonade was some of the best I’ve ever had.
We also had such a fun night at the Rock the Block series at the Newbo Market. We enjoyed live music as well as food from local vendors inside the market. Afterwards, we enjoyed bull riding at the Rocks Bar and American Grill.
Other restaurants we checked out in Cedar Rapids were 30 Hop and Granite City, and Black Sheep. 30 Hop was a cute and honestly very good brewery in the middle of nowhere. They had rooftop seating as well as outdoor seating on the first level. It was the first place we went when we got to Cedar Rapids, and it was such a nice introduction to a quaint city with many little surprises. Granite City was a restaurant right next to our hotel that had a cheap happy hour and incredible dessert but not a lot more. I also took advantage of the Coldstone right next to our hotel for a lot of late night treats. Black Sheep was an upscale restuarant located downtown. All of the food and drinks were SO yummy! It was the location for our opening night party so we had such a fun time!
However, the best activity we did in Cedar Rapids was the Cedar Ridge Winery! It was such a fun afternoon, and the wine was SO GOOD. I had a delicious BBQ chicken pizza which was just as good. We sat out on the patio and they had live acoustic music. Of course we had a mini photo shoot in the vineyards. This outing was definitely the highlight of all of Iowa.
Our next city in Iowa was Sioux City. Sioux City, is right on the boarder of Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska so we technically stayed in South Dakota in Dakota Dunes. This was mostly a week of relaxing for me since it was right after tech in Cedar Rapids. We spent some time walking around a nature reserve, Adam’s Homestead and State Nature Preserve, which was a nice activity to break up the week. We went to a Table32 for a nice dinner one night. The food and drinks were great. It had a sports bar mixed with upscale dining. We had a great time! Other than that, I spent a lot of time at the patio outside our hotel or at the hot tub and pool. The last day, we went to a coffee shop called Stone Bru. It was so cute and aesthetically pleasing. I wish I had gone more, but the lavender lemonade I got was delicious!
All in all, Iowa was very quaint and full of fun surprises, BUT ready for the next post because it was one of my favorite cities on tour!