Eight Stops Within Eight Miles of I-80
The interstate may be the fastest way to get from the Missouri to the Mississippi, but it can also be the most fun! As you cruise across Iowa on I-80 take a few short detours to stretch your legs and enjoy incredible food, culture and history. So don’t just fly by. These eight great attractions within eight miles of the interstate will fix your cramped car blues.
1. HISTORIC SQUIRREL CAGE JAIL
Council Bluffs: One of three remaining examples of a rotary cell jail. The three-story brick structure, built in 1885, includes a rotating jail cage that allowed jailers to view all the cells from one location.
2. DANISH WINDMILL
Elk Horn: An authentic windmill from Denmark built in 1848, transported to Elk Horn in 1975 and rebuilt. The mill grinds wheat and rye by wind power. The largest Danish gift shop in the country is adjacent to the mill and includes a large inventory of Danish collectibles and blue plates.
3. DREW'S CHOCOLATES
Dexter: Helen Drew started her chocolate business in 1927, using recipes from her relatives in New Hampshire. The same recipes are still used today and produced in the same house. Drew’s is the only candy shop in the country that fork dips each piece of chocolate by hand on a daily basis.
4. LIVING HISTORY FARMS
Urbandale: This 500-acre open-air museum tells the story of how Iowans transformed the fertile prairies of the Midwest into the most productive farmland in the world. Three working farm sites and a town bring history to life.
5. MERCHANTS NATIONAL BANK
Grinnell: Completed in 1914, this bank is one of eight “Jewel Box” banks Louis Sullivan created in the final decade of his life. The center of visual interest is the circular stained glass window over the entrance.
6. HOOVER PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM & BIRTHPLACE
West Branch: Displays in the presidential museum tell of the life and career of Herbert Hoover, the only Iowan to become president of the U.S. His birthplace cottage and gravesite are also located on the nearby historic site.
7. FIGGE ART MUSEUM
Davenport: Home to some of the Midwest’s finest art collections. Located in downtown Davenport, the dramatic glass-walled building provides a stunning view of the Mississippi River.
8. MISSISSIPPI RIVER DISTILLING COMPANY
Le Claire: Makers of fine vodka, gin and whiskey handcrafted from local ingredients, harvested just up the hill from the distillery. Tours are available daily.