Heritage towns

  • Truly Amana

    The busiest of Iowa's seven Amana Colonies is both a living historic monument and a shopping destination.

    It's obvious from one look at the shop-lined streets of Amana, the largest of the seven Amana Colonies, that modern commerce is in full flower there. Even so, the first question asked about the villages is: Are the Amana people Amish? And no wonder — the people of the Amanas spoke German, lived simply and adhered faithfully to Scripture. Many still do. But no, they never were Amish.

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  • Kalona, naturally

    In southeast Iowa, the Amish find common ground with those who value a grassroots lifestyle.

    For the Amish, that's a lifestyle, not a movement.

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  • Tulip Time in Pella

    In central Iowa, the Dutch celebrate colorful origins.

    Even in a region rich in ethnicity, the Dutch stand out. In a town square in Iowa, lacy white hats shaped like pyramids, horns and half-moons bob high atop women's heads. Men wear black caps, breeches or baggy trousers and narrow bands cross at their throats. Their wooden shoes click and clack as they dance. "These are the weirdest people I've ever seen!'' shrieked a little boy watching from the sidelines.

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  • West Branch's 'wonder boy'

    An Iowa village tells the story of Herbert Hoover, the international hero who became a scapegoat.

    Poor Herbert Hoover. Orphaned at age 9, he spent his childhood picking potato bugs, weeding onions and cleaning barns. His first job after graduation from Stanford was shoveling ore.

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  • Eating in the Amana Colonies

    In eastern Iowa, a historic village has a long tradition of feeding people well.

    Before 1932, the pious, hard-working people of the Amana Colonies were the only people in Iowa who got to eat out every night. Butchers, brewers and winemakers turned out goods for everyone, and meals were served in 50 communal kitchens.

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  • Perry's palace

    A gorgeous, art-filled boutique hotel sits in the middle of Iowa, complete with spa, bowling alley and restaurant.

    In 1997, a small-town damsel who married a prince — well, an heir waved a silver wand over her hometown of Perry, Iowa, and unusual things began to happen.

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