At the beginning of this year, never did I think that Iowa would end up on my travel radar. Twice. Never did I think I’d make two separate trips to almost the same part of Iowa within four months. Both trips were rather spontaneous and you know what? I enjoyed myself.
The second Iowa trip this year was to Franklin County. A group of bloggers and their families were invited to visit as part of Harvest Tour 2012. We were shown around Franklin County, met a whole bunch of sweet and kind-hearted locals, visited a few farms, stayed in a charming bed and breakfast, and learned a lot about farming and the history of the county.
We arrived at Country Heritage Bed and Breakfast, our home for the weekend, in late afternoon. The first thing I noticed when we pulled into the driveway? The goats. Yes, I squealed like a child when I saw them, for I have a soft spot for the little buggers. We were greeted warmly by Donnis Borcherding, the owner of the B&B, and showed to our room on the second floor. Waiting inside the room for us was an adorably decorated Halloween pumpkin and a gift bag filled with local goodies like bottles of wine and chocolate-covered soybeans (yummy, by the way). We had just a little bit of time to freshen up and meet the other bloggers/guests before our chariot – uh, I mean, van (courtesy of ABCM Corporation) – was to arrive and cart us around for the weekend.
Five o’clock on the dot and the van pulled up, carrying Deb Brown, the organizer of Harvest Tour 2012, and our driver, Larry. We loaded up and our first stop was the REA Power Plant and Museum. There we learned, via guest speakers and exhibits, about the Rural Electrification Act and how electricity was first distributed to farmers and rural areas in the 1930s. It was an eye-opener for me; I’m young enough to just take electricity for granted. And having grown up in a major urban area like Chicago, I never really thought about folks outside of the cities who lived without power.
Our next stop was the Old Stone House. It was built in 1854 and was the first settlement in Franklin County. The home is no longer inhabited but visitors can arrange to go inside and take a step back in time. Period furnishings and everyday items from a bygone era are on display.
From the Old Stone House we went over to the public-use park, Maynes Grove. It’s got miles of multi-use trails (horseback riding, hiking, cross-country skiing), and it’s also open to hunters. In the middle of the expansive nature area is the Maynes Grove Lodge, and that’s where we all gathered for some snacks, wine tasting, and photos. It also gave us – the bloggers, Deb, and others from the community – an opportunity to sit and chat and get to know one another. We relaxed and mingled for a good while but then it was back to the B&B where I retired pretty early. We had a full Saturday ahead of us and I wanted to be sure I was well-rested.
Next up: Lucia and I ride in a combine!
My family’s trip to Harvest Tour 2012 in Franklin County, Iowa – including our stay at Country Heritage B&B – was sponsored by Franklin County Farm Bureau, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, and Franklin County Tourism. All words, thoughts, and opinions, as always, are my own.