In the aboriginal weekend of 2020, seven Democratic presidential candidates blew through Iowa like a snow squall. Elizabeth Warren appeared in Manchester, Maquoketa, Davenport and Dubuque. Bernie Sanders additionally chock-full by Dubuque, in accession to Grundy Center, Mason Burghal and Boone. Joe Biden logged cogent afar about the Hawkeye Accompaniment as well, visiting Waterloo, Davenport, Grinnell, Vinton and Des Moines.
I landed in the accompaniment basic at the aforementioned time as John Delaney’s Sunday accident in Sheldon and arrested into my allowance while Biden was speaking in Davenport. If I had unpacked a little faster, I could accept bent the appendage end of Tom Steyer’s allocution in Newton. But afterwards the flight, I aloof capital a drink, afterwards the politicking.
Over the abutting few weeks, all eyes will bore into Iowa, the aboriginal accompaniment in the country to authority a conclave or primary. The Democratic candidates — 12 at the time of publishing, 14 during my appointment — are blanketing the Midwestern state, jockeying for supporters afore the Feb. 3 caucuses. (A few Republicans arduous Admiral Trump, such as Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, are additionally bustling up in Iowa.) The politically absent will focus on the policies, positions and personalities of the POTUS hopefuls, but I was added absorbed in the datelines — the destinations and attractions that will be actuality connected afterwards the politicians accept confused on to addition state, addition election. While the candidates appear to Iowa for votes, I came to Iowa for Iowa.
For three out of every four years, Iowa is relegated to flyover status. So, you can’t accusation the accompaniment of corn, Hawkeyes and Herbert Hoover for basking in the spotlight while it can.
As a D.C. resident, my aerial accept been rubbed raw by political talk. But in Iowa, the affair seemed auspicious and new. Like the time I spotted my academy assistant on a bank in Rhode Island. I begin her added acute in a altered environment.
With its assorted products, Raygun brings absurdity to the beeline face of politics, amusing causes and Iowa stereotypes. (Daniel Acker/For The Washington Post)
Businesses about the accompaniment are capitalizing on this moment. Sock Spot, a bell-ringer in the NewBo Burghal Market in Cedar Rapids, carries election-themed action socks with candidates’ names (Mayor Pete [Buttigieg], Warren), accessible account announcements (“Do the appropriate affair 2020”) and accumulation slogans (“I vote for snacks”). The store’s owner, who was cutting chihuahua-print socks, said the Bernie and Trump styles with assertive beard (comb included, to acclimatized the locks) were accomplishing well. But if votes were based on sales, Kansas Burghal Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would become the abutting POTUS.
Raygun, a printing, accouterment and change banker with several locations about the state, slaps a agee smile on the beeline face of such austere capacity as politics, amusing causes and Iowa stereotypes. The company, which leans left, has created islands of candidate-related commodity aural its stores. Here, you can aces up books by Warren, Sanders and Biden, amid others; T-shirts (“Give Pete a chance!”); and laser-cut ornaments (Warren blind with Lizzo and a gun-toting cat). If you accept absent clue of which candidates accept alone out of the race, analysis the discounted rack: The “Iowa for Beto” shirts are on sale.
On weekends, diners, including abounding Drake University acceptance nursing hangovers, angle in bandage for breakfast at Waveland Bistro in Des Moines. The abode is packed; the clamoring for assortment browns loud. But on a Monday morning, I had abounding basement choices: adverse or booth, by the photo montage of audience or the bank of signatures by journalists and politicians. Two bites into my rye toast, I noticed a accustomed face with a Ned Flanders mustache and a Hawaiian shirt. I alone my allotment to say accost to Waveland buyer David Stone. I asked him how the bistro had become a attack and columnist stop during the caucuses. He said it acquired civic absorption in 2000, aback Tom Brokaw appear alive from the 54-seat diner. This year, CNN capital to set up operations inside, but Stone declined: agriculture aberration afore media frenzy.
“They can’t booty over the restaurant on a weekend,” he said. “We are acutely busy, and I can’t accept cameras accepting in the way of my customers.”
Not alike Aquaman could move the abundance of eggs and potatoes. Aback Jason Momoa, a built-in Iowan, capital to authority a ancestors alliance at the berth aftermost year, Stone agreed, but alone if his affair accustomed at 7 a.m. and bankrupt their plates afore the official aperture hour of 8. “He complied,” Stone said of the able-bodied actor.
Hamburg Inn No. 2 holds a Coffee Bean Caucus, in which one being gets one vote and anybody participates. (Daniel Acker/For The Washington Post)
Aback 2004, the Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa Burghal has captivated the Coffee Bean Caucus. The action is abundant easier than the absolute Iowa caucuses. At the advanced counter, guests booty a bean from a jar and bead it into a abate alembic (a paper-clip holder?) bizarre with the name of their adopted candidate. At the end of the day, the agents transfers the beans to the beyond Mason jars lined up on a shelf abreast the advanced door. The action is one person/one vote, but anybody can participate, including non-natives (often alleged “captives” in Iowa-speak), accouchement and foreigners.
“This gives us a absolutely acceptable faculty of what the accord in Iowa Burghal is,” said Elise Prendergast, the advanced abode manager, abacus that Bernie Sanders won in 2016.
On the Tuesday morning I chock-full by, Buttigieg and Sanders were bean-to-bean, and Mike Bloomberg’s brazier was empty. However, Elise said the numbers are consistently in flux. Afterwards the December debate, Amy Klobuchar’s bean calculation rose.
The restaurant is lined with columnist clippings, and against the back, you can genuflect afore a altar to accomplished candidates and ex-presidents. In 1992, three years afterwards abrogation office, Ronald Reagan visited the Hamburg Inn and sat at what is now the Presidential Table. According to the card from his visit, he ordered meatloaf, french fries, blooming beans, a cycle with adulate and angel pie a la mode, which he ate first.
Of course, tastes and diets accept afflicted aback the Reagan years, so I asked Elise for her card picks. She recommended the hamburgers and pie shakes, a alloy of boilerplate ice chrism and pie — America in a glass.
At Eatery A in Des Moines, I ordered a Moscow mule and chatted with the mustachioed bartender about the restaurant’s aloft occupants, aboriginal a Blockbuster Video abundance and afterwards Barack Obama’s conclave headquarters. I had apprehend that a few attack offices were adjoining — Delaney’s is a few blocks abroad — and wondered if he had a Spidey faculty about the diners’ identities. With the action of a wildlife enthusiast on safari, I asked him if he could point to any attack workers.
“They abrasion buttons,” he answered, scanning the establishment.
We didn’t see any accessory accessories, but he did apprehension a man and woman of acumen in the berth abaft me.
“Are you guys with the Able-bodied Pennies?” he gushed to the Des Moines-based folk-pop band. “I adulation your song, ‘Ooh La La.’ ”
That night at the hotel, I fell comatose to the duo’s music and not the account headlines.
The Vermeer Windmill in Pella stands about 125 anxiety and is the tallest alive comminute in North America. (Andrea Sachs/The Washington Post)
In Pella, a Dutch-accented boondocks about an hour east of Des Moines, the woman in the white beanie didn’t appetite to allocution politics. She had added acute affairs to discuss: pastries.
Bakeries all over boondocks column signs in their windows for Dutch letter cookies. However, the agent at Jaarsma Bakery explained that the S-shaped sweets are commonly broiled for Sinterklaasavond, or Dutch Santa Claus Day, on Dec. 6. For added seasonally actual snacking, she appropriate an almond banket, which is agnate to a letter cookie but with added almond adhesive and shaped like a flagpole.
Jaarsma Bakery opened in 1898, about 50 years afterwards the Dutch immigrants accustomed in Iowa gluttonous religious freedom. The Old World traditions still run deep. Aback 1935, the boondocks has captivated Tulip Time, a springtime anniversary adulatory the Netherlands’ annual power. The Vermeer Windmill, the tallest alive comminute in North America, soars about 125 anxiety high, its 82-foot-long blades whirring like a apathetic fan. Five times a day, the Klokkenspel stirs to activity with agreeable accretion and active characters. There’s Dominie Hendrik Pieter Scholte, who led the 800 newcomers to the Burghal of Refuge, and his wife, Maria, who is in tears afterwards all but one of her acceptable dishes burst during the crossing. (She is additionally agitated about her new digs, a log cabin.) Wyatt Earp becoming a atom on the agreeable anxiety because the gunslinger grew up here. His adolescence home is allotment the Actual Village, a accumulating of 22 barrio including the Werkplaats, breadth board shoes are made, and the Delft House, which contains best pieces of the acclaimed pottery.
Continuing east, I larboard Pella’s self-described “Touch of Holland,” for the Willkommen mat of the Amana Colonies, a Civic Celebrated Landmark. Starting in 1855, German immigrants beat religious animality (see Pella, with a Deutschland twist) accustomed seven villages on 26,000 acreage of acreage in axial Iowa. They lived communally until the Great Change of 1932, aback they breach the aggregate backup for a added absolute lifestyle. Today, about 1,600 bodies abide in the colonies, including 300 adherents of the Amana church, a breakaway camp of the Lutheran Church.
During the winter months, the actual barrio accumulate bound hours, but Jon M. Childers, controlling administrator of the Amana Ancestry Society, captivated the keys to the colonies. We visited the common kitchen and the abbey in Middle Amana, and toured the exhibits at the ancestry museum, which included the world’s aboriginal bake and (empty) buckets of drip and barrels of pickled German cut beans from the affluence days. Jon collection me by the 163-year-old Amana Woolen Mill, Iowa’s oldest and alone alive woolen mill, the armpit of a new bazaar auberge that is appointed to accessible in the fall. In amid stops, he told me how as a Boy Scout, he provided “security” for Ted Kennedy, who visited during his 1979-80 run for president. (The boys belted the aloft Massachusetts senator.) Added recently, Obama and Hillary Clinton batten at the Festhalle Barn about a ages afar in 2007; a year later, Bill Clinton addled for his wife at the Amana RV Park. He additionally best up a absolute from a bazaar Jon had set up in the allotment office, for those arctic nights in Chappaqua, N.Y. I asked Jon what could politicians apprentice from the Amana colonists.
“Amana is inclusive,” he said. “People sit and listen. It feels like a big family.”
In the fantasy baseball cine “Field of Dreams,” the articulation said, “If you body it, he will come.” Meanwhile, the articulation in my arch said: “If you action a abode bout that doesn’t absorb continuing alfresco in freezing cold, she will come.” Someone acutely heard me.
I accustomed the two-story board farmhouse in Dyersville from a blah acreage away. It sat aloft the baseball field, which looked abate in person. I bashed the doorbell and a adviser ushered me inside. Afterwards putting on careful booties, I followed her through the kitchen, breadth a photo of Ray and Annie Kinsella, the fabulous field-builders, sat on the counter. In the active room, the 1989 blur played on a boxlike TV, the complete off to anticipate the bout guides from activity mad.
I abstruse all sorts of cine trivia, such as the amateur who played the “voice” charcoal a abstruseness (maybe Ray Liotta or Ed Harris, the bedmate of Amy “Annie” Madigan?) and the blah grew so high, acknowledgment to animal intervention, that Kevin “Ray” Costner had to angle on a 12-inch platform. I stared out the bay window, a beforehand affliction of Universal Studios, but didn’t see any apparition players emerge. Maybe they are cat-and-mouse for Aloft League Baseball to accomplishment architecture its adjustment acreage adjoining to the FOD. On Aug. 13, the New York Yankees and White Sox will attempt in Iowa’s aboriginal regular-season bold to a army of 8,000. On this January morning, I had aught admirers to acclamation me. But I did accept the articulation in my arch reminding me that the eventually I angled those bases, the quicker I could acknowledgment to my acrimonious car.
Winter is prime time for examination baldheaded eagles in the Midwest. The birds of prey, which alpha accession in September, coursing for aliment forth Iowa’s aloft rivers. I started my chase for the country’s adumbration in the cafeteria of the Civic Mississippi River Architecture & Aquarium in Dubuque. The restaurant overlooks Ice Harbor, a counterfeit adjunct of the Upper Mississippi. No luck on the birds, but alike better, I begin Jared McGovern, the museum’s babysitter of attention programs, bistro a craven sandwich. Jared told me to attending by the lock-and-dam systems forth the Mississippi River, breadth eagles generally barbecue on the angle uprooted by the hasty water. Plan B: Analysis the fields, in the off adventitious a agriculturalist tossed a asleep pig. Like abounding of us, eagles adopt fast aliment to a added labor-intensive meal fabricated from scratch.
I followed Jared’s instructions, active out to Lock and Dam No. 11 (nothing) and Hawkeye Point Esplanade (maybe something) in Dubuque. Continuing on the lip of the esplanade aloft the Mississippi, I bent a glimpse of two dark-feathered birds (juveniles?) and a third with a white arch (mom or dad?). I approved to breeze a photo to accelerate to Jared for acceptance but couldn’t chargeless my duke from my cuff in time. Aback in the car, I connected south on the Great River Alley Civic Scenic Byway to Bellevue (Lock and Dam No. 12 and Bellevue Accompaniment Park), Blooming Island and Sabula, the state’s alone island city. In Davenport, seagulls circled Lock and Dam No. 13 and Canada geese pecked at the arctic banks.
Winter is the best time to appearance baldheaded eagles in the Midwest, including from this atom overlooking the Mississippi River and Lock and Dam No. 12. (Andrea Sachs/The Washington Post)
The abutting day, I had confused on from the baldheaded eagles; I now alone cared about blankets. I had alternate to Amana and was walking bottomward the artery aback a mother exclaimed to her son, “Bald eagle,” and acicular at the sky. The little boy and I both looked up and watched the bird arise against the ambience sun. Tinted in aureate light, the baldheaded hawkeye looked august and proud, alike if he was aloof activity to batter in a farmer’s field.
I additionally spotted my button. A few hours afore my flight aback to Washington, I was bubbler coffee at the Scenic Route Bakery in Des Moines aback Jackson Boaz absolved in cutting a “Students for Warren” pin on his absolute jacket. The 15-year-old aerial academy apprentice from Northern California started every morning at the bistro with a cup of oatmeal. Iowa in January, he said, was “too algid for parfait.” The adolescent attack beforehand aggregate his impressions of the accompaniment with me.
“I adulation the activity actuality in Des Moines and in Iowa as a whole,” he said. “They accept this angelic role as the aboriginal in the country. It’s like the political Super Bowl.” Anything else? “The aliment has been appealing accursed good.”
Jackson was abrogation in mid-January but hoped to acknowledgment to Iowa for the caucuses — and maybe the oatmeal, too.
Breadth to break
Graduate Iowa Burghal
210 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City319-337-4058graduatehotels.com/iowa-cityThe burghal auberge celebrates Iowa City’s cachet as a arcane assertive — the burghal is a UNESCO Burghal of Literature and home of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Arcane Walk — with endless of books in the antechamber and handwritten writings on the walls by bounded columnist Tim Taranto. The adornment additionally incorporates added Iowa hallmarks, such as “Field of Dreams” and the Hawkeyes. Grab breakfast at Poindexter’s, a coffeehouse covered in added than 180,000 No. 2 pencils, or banquet and drinks at Gene’s, which is called afterwards University of Iowa alum Gene Wilder. Rates from $119 a night accommodate a coffee at Poindexter’s and discounted self-parking.
Auberge Julien Dubuque
200 Main St., Dubuque563-556-4200hoteljuliendubuque.comThe 19th-century auberge abreast the Mississippi River has hosted abounding acclaimed guests, including Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and Joe Biden, aback aback he was carnality president. Al Capone additionally hid out here. The auberge feels like a aeon allotment but with avant-garde amenities, such as an calm pool, spa, fettle centermost and the restaurant Caroline’s, which serves three commons a day additional blessed hour specials. Rates from $94, with chargeless parking.
The Current Iowa, Autograph Accumulating
215 N. Main St., Davenport563-231-9555thecurrentiowa.comThe hotel, allotment of the Marriott family, is the cool, apish sister acreage to the adult Blackhawk Hotel, breadth the Obamas backward during a 2011 appointment to Davenport. A gallery’s-worth of abreast art fills the hotel, including a behemothic cow called Betsy and a carve of a dog in a Batman costume. Break put for commons and drinks: Try Viva Baja Mexican Bar and Restaurant in the antechamber or the rooftop lounge, Up, which overlooks the Mississippi. Rates from $136, with chargeless parking.
Breadth to eat
2932 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines515-282-8085eateryadsm.comThe restaurant, which occupies the aloft amplitude of Obama’s 2008 conclave headquarters, serves Mediterranean-influenced dishes, such as Spanish octopus, cauliflower and chickpea falafel, and pizzas broiled in a wood-burning oven. Sit at the U-shaped bar and allocution backroom with the bartenders or achieve into a berth amidst by reclaimed copse from axial Iowa. Small plates from $5; pizzas amount about $18.
727 Franklin St., Pella641-628-2940jaarsmabakery.comStock up on Dutch pastries, breads, cakes and cookies, including Dutch letters, almond bankets and Dutch angel bread. The family-run bakery, accessible aback the backward 1800s, additionally sells Dutch articles and souvenirs, such as Delftware and mouse-size board clogs. Danish pastries alpha at $1.15 each; Dutch belletrist amount $2.65 each.
4708 University Ave., Des Moines515-279-4341wavelandcafe.comThe breakfast hot atom attracts a array of Des Moines locals, including students, retirees and businessfolk, as able-bodied as politicians and journalists in boondocks for the caucuses. Eat big with one of the skillets: The Waveland’s Best Skillet, for example, comes with ham, mushrooms, blooming peppers and hot peppers topped with broiled cheese and served over assortment browns with toast. Weekends are busy, so don’t columnist catnap on the anxiety clock. Most dishes amount about $10.
What to do
622 46th Ave., Amana319-622-7622amanacolonies.comExplore the seven villages, which action a blink into the aloft common association founded by German immigrants in the mid-1800s. Alpha with the Amana Ancestry Society, which holds exhibits in a leash of 19th-century buildings. Then fan out to the shops (woolen comminute textiles, brooms and baskets, and appliance and clocks), restaurants and alfresco activities, including a golf beforehand and 3.1-mile bike aisle abutting Amana and Middle Amana. There is additionally a brewery (not surprising) and a winery (surprising). Hours alter based on seasons and attraction.
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Architecture
210 Parkside Dr., West Branch319-643-5301hoover.archives.govThe Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, one of 14 presidential libraries run by the Civic Athenaeum and Records Administration, ceremoniousness the activity and achievements of the alone admiral from Iowa. The visitors centermost and celebrated site, which includes his two-room adolescence home, a blacksmith bazaar and the Friends Meetinghouse, are free. The museum, which costs $10, covers his years before, during and afterwards his presidency. Accessible circadian from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Follow the bend alley from the library and architecture to the gravesite of Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover. The area are accessible 24 hours a day.
Acreage of Dreams
28995 Lansing Rd., Dyersville888-875-8404fieldofdreamsmoviesite.comChase your own Apparition Players about the bases on the “Field of Dreams” armpit of the 1989 film. For cine trivia and added behind-the-scenes tidbits, booty the half-hour bout of the 1906 farmhouse that Kevin Costner fabricated famous. From December through February, you charge book the abode bout at atomic 48 hours in advance. Admission: $20. The ballfield is chargeless and accessible during aurora hours.
Andrea Sachs has accounting for Travel aback 2000. She has appear from adjoining places such as Ellicott City, Md., and the Jersey Shore, and from extensive locations, including Burma, Namibia and Russia.
About this story
Story by Andrea Sachs. Photo alteration by Haley Hamblin. Design by Jose Soto. Copy alteration by Mina Haq.
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