The List

This is the last summer before my senior year of college. It isn’t my last last summer, but it kind of feels that way. It’s the summer of the kind of summer I’ve ever known: a fleeting 3-month break between school years where life is magically transformed. Time always seems a little more impulsive, rebellious, and romantic despite the constant thin layer of sweat on my skin.

I’ve accepted the uncertainty that is about to befall me … I think. I don’t know when I will get a job after college (fingers crossed that it’s right away), I don’t know what it will be, or where it will be. Some days I want to work for a communications department for a corporation in a big city. Some days I want to be the producer for the 6 o’clock news. Some days I want to be a freelance video editor. I feel like I’m an eight-year-old version of myself wanting to be the president one day and a rockstar the next. Of course, these new dreams are a little more attainable, if I could only pick one. But for now, I take school one day at a time operating under the idea that one day I will figure it out.

But this summer, my “last” summer, I want to live in the present. I will not settle for uncertainty. This summer is symbolic of my last venture of youth. More importantly, it’s the last summer I will definitely be living in Iowa, the place that I have had the audacity to call home for the past 3 years. But Iowa has never really been my home. I haven’t explored it enough to really appreciate it enough to call it home. Home is a place you know intimately, a place you feel comfortable, a place you feel welcomed by familiar faces. It’s a place you miss when you’re gone.

It’s not like I’ve been a hermit these past 3 years. I can call a very small portion of Iowa home. The campus of Drake University, Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing Company where I work, the cafés where I’m often found studying, and my apartment. Calling anything outside that list “home” wouldn’t be fair, unless you count I-35, the interstate that brings me back to my family every few months in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

So this summer I have to do it big. As the current trending acronym says #YOLO. I’m promising myself. I owe it to myself and my so-called home to see what I’ve been missing.  So here’s what I’m proposing: The Iowa Bucket List.

This list is the product of many things: 3 years of letting things fall off my to-do lists while I put school and work as my top priority, suggestions of travel sites, blogs, friends, and community members. It is by no means concrete. But it’s a list I’m proud of, for now. There are 104 days of summer vacation according to Phineas and Ferb as well as the Drake University academic calender. As there are more than 104 items on my list there is no possible way I can get to them all. I’ve set my goal at 20 (hopefully more, but no less). That’s approximately 1 item per week, with a few weeks being especially adventurous.

This blog is to document my adventure, because it would be selfish to keep it to myself. I’ve invited all my friends and family to join me when they can. But for those who can’t participate physically and for those who like reading the amateur’s view of Iowa, this is for you. Videos, pictures, opinions, fun facts – they’ll all be found right here. I’ll even have polls where you can vote on what I should do next.

Check back every week and by the end of the summer we’ll have a picture of Iowa, piece by piece. If you aren’t a believer in this beautiful state, follow this blog. You will be converted.

  1. Visit Estherville (of course)
  2. Read and see the actual Bridges Of Madison County
  3. Brunch on the river on the Jon Anderson White Riverboat
  4. Visit Blue Moon Dueling Pianos and drink the Blue Moon Fish Bowl
  5. Visit Amana
  6. Wine tasting at Jasper Winery
  7. Watch Field Of Dreams and visit Dyersville to see the field
  8. Iowa State Fair
  9. Des Moines Art Center
  10. Des Moines Historical Museum
  11. Salisbury House
  12. Tour the Capitol
  13. Botanical Garden
  14. Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden
  15. Saylorville Trail
  16. 80/35
  17. Des Moines River Trail
  18. Des Moines Farmers Market
  19. Eat a taco from a taco truck
  20. Snooki’s Malts
  21. Dirt trails at Ashworth and Greenwood Parks
  22. Friday night ICubs game
  23. Barnstormers game
  24. Living History Farms
  25. Nightfall On The River Concert Series at the Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater
  26. Brunch at Americana
  27. Gateway sushi picnic at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park
  28. Woody’s Smoke Shack
  29. Try the Adam Emmenecker sandwich challenge at Jethros
  30. National Balloon Classic
  31. Guided horseback trail ride at Jester Park
  32. Sky Zone
  33. Bowling at Bass Pro Shops
  34. Take the downtown shuttle
  35. Visit the Iowa Speedway
  36. Visit the rose garden at Greenwood Park
  37. Go Karts at Americas Incredible Pizza Company
  38. Horse Racing/Ostrich racing at the Prairie Meadows Racetrack
  39. Yoga at Gray’s Lake park
  40. Des Moines Art Festival
  41. Walk the entire downtown skywalk
  42. Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad
  43. Iowa Hall Of Pride
  44. See a show at the Des Moines Playhouse
  45. Visit Fort Dodge
  46. Adventureland
  47. Tour the Villisca Axe Murder house in Villisca, Iowa
  48. Centro
  49. Flying Mango
  50. Fong’s Pizza
  51. Waterfront Seafood Market
  52. Django
  53. Lucca
  54. La Mie
  55. Zombie Burger
  56. Mars Café
  57. Smokey Row
  58. Raccoon River Brewing company
  59. Peace Tree Brewing Company
  60. Rock Bottom Brewery
  61. Uncle Wendell’s BBQ
  62. Goldie’s
  63. Splash
  64. Dos Rios
  65. Spend a day in the East Village
  66. High Trestle Trail
  67. Clive Greenbelt Trail
  68. 48 Hour Film Festival
  69. Iowa Senior Olympics
  70. Des Moines Menace Game
  71. Great Western Trail
  72. Bill Riley Bike Trail
  73. Neal Smith Trail
  74. John Pat Dorrian Trail
  75. Visit the Des Moines Science Center
  76. 711 Theatre Project
  77. Tour Terrace Hill
  78. Tour Historic Valley Junction
  79. Visit & tour Maytag Dairy Farms
  80. Go camping
  81. Visit Backbone State Bark
  82. Visit Ledges State Park
  83. Visit Waubonsie State Park
  84. See a movie  at Valle Drive-Inn Theatre
  85. Visit Maquoketa Caves State Park
  86. Visit the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA where Buddy Holly performed final concert
  87. Raccoon River Valley Trail
  88. Tour the Mississippi Distilling Company in Le Claire, IA
  89. Tour Templeton Rye Distillery in Templeton, IA and try Templeton Rye Whiskey
  90. Visit Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University
  91. See the Dutch Windmill in Pella, IA the tallest working Dutch windmill in America
  92. See the Iowa Crush Women’s Professional Football
  93. Ride for a day of RAGBRAI
  94. Arnold’s Park in Okoboji
  95. Mason City to see where they filmed Music Man
  96. Ride in a Combine
  97. Detassle corn
  98. Eat cupcakes at Creme
  99. Pella Tulip Time Festival
  100. Sweet Corn Festival in Adel
  101. Loess Hills
  102. Visit John Wayne’s birthplace
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One thought on “The List

  1. Thanks for the like/follow on the Indie Moines blog . . . let me know when you’re coming to Salisbury House and I’ll get you a behind-the-scenes bucket tour!

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