Friday, July 24, 2020

Hidden Gem in Eastern Iowa

This post is sponsored by Travel Iowa. All opinions are my own. 

The need to scratch my travel itch is strong. I keep thinking about all the places I would love to hop on a plane and go visit, but then I think of all the places in Iowa I have yet to visit. I admit this a little sheepishly but until last week I had NEVER been to a state park. I know, I know.

After a two-hour Zoom training call on Friday afternoon, I said "today is the day" and I jumped in my car. I drove the 15 minutes to the Cedar Rock State Park and started on my adventure. Cedar Rock is located in Eastern Iowa, south of Hwy 20 between Independence and Quasqueton. I had driven past the park's entrance dozen of times, but had never turned in.

Cedar Rock provides over 300 acres of native grasslands, but is more famously known for being the location of one of the most complete designs of Frank Lloyd Wright's, an American architect and interior designer. The home was built for Llowell and Agnes Walter in 1950 and it is so cool. So, if you are looking for a state park to explore on a rainy day, Cedar Rock is for you!

I was in complete awe walking through the home and listening to the Walters' story. Wright picked out all the furnishings, vases, plates, every detail, and it is all still in the home today. The home is open for tours from May through October. RSVPing for the tour is recommended as limited people can be in the home at once in order to uphold social distancing guidelines. Normally, more than 10,000 people from across the U.S. and world visit the park and home each year. 

Living, entertaining and dining area in the Frank Lloyd Wright House

The park also provides two walking trails. I road on the tractor wagon down to the home and then hiked the 3/4-mile trail back to the visitor center. The trail is perfect for someone like me that isn't a huge hiker. Throughout the park and on the trails, you'll find stops with QR codes that tell you about your surroundings, and you can pick up a BINGO card at the visitor center. 

The park is full of native wildflowers and planted garden.

Before you visit any state parks, I highly encourage signing up for the Iowa State Park Passport. When you sign up, you get access to the Iowa State Park app which will allow you to track the parks you visit this, and enter to win the Grand Prize of a two-night stay at Honey Creek Resort. The app also has a bunch of information on the parks in Iowa, when they are open and COVID precautions they are taking. If you need help planning a day trip, the Travel Iowa plan a trip tool is awesome. You enter you starting city and ending city and it'll give you stopping points all along the way. 

I can't wait to go back to Cedar Rock. They have multiple Monarch butterfly release days, music in the park events and participate in the Iowa State Parks First Day Hike. 

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