Experience Greene County from all heights and sights. Home to award-winning destinations like the Mahanay Bell Tower as well as hidden gems that offer just as much excitement, this road trip will introduce you to all sides of Iowa. With indoor and outdoor fun as well as beautiful scenery, this is the perfect road trip for a warm summer weekend.
Where to Go
1. Mahanay Bell Tower
Earning the award for Iowa's 2021 Outstanding Attraction, this bell tower in Jefferson greets visitors with a four octave carillon of 47 bells at the top of each hour. If you want to experience more than its beautiful bells, visitors can take an elevator up to the glass enclosed observation deck, which stands at 120 feet of the tower's 168-foot height. The best part? The scenic view only costs $3 and is free for kids.
2. Thomas Jefferson Gardens of Greene County
Known as the "front door" to Greene County, these beautiful gardens grow everything from native prairie grasses and crops to portray the land during the time of Lewis & Clark, as well as a children's garden and outdoor musical instruments. You won't want to miss a visit to this serene space in the heart of downtown Jefferson.
3. RVP ~ 1875 Historical Furniture Shop and Museum
In Jefferson's century-old Milligan Lumber Grain & Coal building, master furniture maker Robby Peterson uses his 25+ years of experience to build historically accurate furniture using only the tools, techniques and finishes used in 1875. Guests can step inside his workshop and museum for an up-close look at his historic tools and furniture, each with its own story of historical significance relayed by Robby himself.
Where to Eat
1. Peony Chinese Restaurant
This full-service, family-owned Chinese restaurant serves up mean Mandarin and Cantonese style dishes, earning them excellent reviews from locals and visitors alike. Grab a table inside or take it to go for a picnic in the community of Jefferson.
2. Junkyard Cafe
This traditional cafe sits just a block away from the bell tower in Jefferson and offers a cool and relaxing vibe. From its car theme and related decor to its tasty specialties like homemade noodles, biscuits, pies and cakes along with all- day breakfast, soups and sandwiches, this spot is sure to satisfy your cravings.
Where to Stay
JV Vineyard & Retreat
Experience a unique lodging stay unlike anywhere else. This working farm and event center in Scranton also offers guest accommodations in their restored barn, which features two private bedrooms and full baths. For outdoor enthusiasts, the rustic treehouse camping experience invites guests to stay in a roomy eight-person tent on a deck built among the trees. There is additional space on the ground for pitching more tents, which are not provided. Guests in either lodging option can also enjoy fishing or kayaking in the farm's pond and visits with the animals.