Iowa Heritage Tour & the Iowa State Fair

Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Iowa and experience all the state has to offer from the 1800s through today with this three-day vacation.

This getaway is sponsored by the Iowa State Fair, held annually in August.

Iowa State Fair, Des Moines

Head to the Heritage Village, an example of the customs of early Iowa life around the time of the Fair's establishment in 1854. The First Church hosts daily hymn sings at 11:30 a.m. and if you're lucky, you'll catch a wedding. Try an ice-cold pickle at the General Store and visit the Barber Shop, Telephone Company, Depot and Country School.

Make your way up to Pioneer Hall, built for the first State Fair held in Des Moines in 1886. Now, it showcases Iowa agricultural history. Take a break from the heat and visit the Ralph H. Deets Historical Museum. The air-conditioned building showcases an extensive collection of antique furniture, historic records and memorabilia. Located next door in the Richard O. Jacobson Hall and Kenyon Gallery are interactive exhibits of the Fair's 158 year history.

Grab lunch-on-a-stick and rest your feet at one of the Fair's five free stages of music and entertainment.

In the afternoon, visit other Fair favorites: the World Famous Butter Cow, State Fair Talent Show, livestock shows, the Varied Industries Building and more. Grab one last bite of Fair food before departing for your hotel.

Stay overnight at The Hotel at Prairie Meadows in Altoona. The hotel features a grand entryway and casino access. Enjoy live thoroughbred and quarter horse racing on select days in the summer.

Living History Farms, Urbandale
Tour 300 years of agricultural history as you walk through three working farms - each with authentic crops and livestock. Next, stop in the 1875 town of Walnut Hill, with 14 shops and businesses. Historical interpreters are at each stop and ready to show you everything about everyday life of the past.

Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant, Urbandale
Break for lunch at this farm-themed Iowa favorite. From chicken pot pie to meatloaf, the recipes are all made from scratch using fresh ingredients.

Salisbury House and Gardens, Des Moines
Discover the enduring charm of a 16th century English estate. Modeled after the King's House in Salisbury, England, view all of the majestic rooms from the expansive Great Hall, the art-filled Common Room, the elegant dining room and book-lined library.

Pella Historical Village & Museum, Pella
Tour the Scholte House and Gardens. The home of Pella's founder features an impressive collection of valuable European antiques. The 23-building museum complex also includes Wyatt Earp's boyhood home, wooden shoe shop, log cabin, miniature Dutch village and an authentic 1850s windmill, 135 feet tall.

Head to Iowa City after your tour to rest up for another exciting day.

Kalona Historical Village, Kalona
Begin your tour with fresh doughnut holes from Kalona Bakery as you learn about the fascinating Amish Mennonite. Travel the scenic back-roads with tour guides and see homes, schools, farms and beautifully manicured gardens. View magnificent hand-stitched Amish quilts at the Kalona Quilt & Textile Museum and watch a noodle-making demonstration at Kalona Bakery.

Villages of Van Buren, Van Buren County
Begin your Van Buren tour at Bonaparte Pottery, which produced stoneware until 1896. Archeological digging continues and several original pieces and molds have been unearthed.  Browse through the specialty shops at the National Historic Riverfront District of Bonaparte and don't forget the fudge at Addie Mae's Fudge Shop.

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