In October 2022, @chelsderks and her family spent a weekend in Pella, Iowa. “This town is charming,” she said. “The downtown is super cute and filled with local shops, restaurants and bakeries. And with the lake, bike trails and parks there is so much to explore outside.”
Start your Pella adventure by exploring Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake. Walk, bike, snowshoe or cross-country ski the paved trail that winds through the forest around the lake, or hit the water aboard a kayak or canoe before the weather turns cold. Enjoy a birds’-eye view of the entire landscape from the top of the Cordova Park Observation Tower. At 106 feet tall, it’s the tallest observation tower in the Midwest. (Make sure to bring quarters for the turnstile if you’re planning to climb to the top.)Spend the afternoon enjoying a historic tour or live show inside the Pella Opera House. Guided tours are offered daily at 1:30 p.m., or plan ahead to catch a concert or show for an exciting evening out. pellaoperahouse.org
Experience a local favorite with dinner at George’s Pizza. Choose between their famous crispy-crust pizzas, creamy pastas, tender steaks, fresh sandwiches and Greek specialties.
After a day full of adventure, retreat to The Amsterdam to experience an upscale boutique hotel. Located along the Molengracht Canal and adjacent to the tallest working grain windmill in the country, its rooms offer excellent views of the community’s attractions along with complimentary breakfast, a restaurant and free parking.
There’s no better way to start your morning than with a sampling of Dutch pastries. Stop by Vander Ploeg Bakery to enjoy a breakfast filled with freshly baked breads, pastries, cookies, gourmet donuts and Dutch letters.
Set off on a shopping spree throughout Pella’s town square. Find trendy clothes at Adorn Clothing Co., or discover chic home décor and Dutch goods at Pella Paperie and more. If you need a snack along the way, step into Smokey Row Coffee, Van Veen Chocolates or Jaarsma Bakery to refuel.
For a quick but tasty lunch, stop by Opa’s Deli at In’t Veld’s Meat Market and choose a freshly made, Dutch-inspired sandwich, salad, soup or pie. They’re especially known for their bologna Reubens and dried beef sandwiches or the grilled choice of the day.
Get one last stretch in with a stroll through Sunken Gardens Park. Located two blocks north of the town square, it features a windmill and a sunken pond in the shape of a wooden shoe. When the pond freezes over in the winter, visitors can ice skate on its glossy surface. Or, head to Wonder Spelen Park, an inclusive playground, to take advantage of its kid-friendly features.