Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cedar River Valley, Iowa

There are three cities along the middle reach of the Cedar River in eastern Iowa including Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Cedar Falls.  We visited these cities in July of 2011 and again in June of 2012.  We'll have to consider these first trips as reconnaissance since more research is needed on the settlement and history for these older towns along a major river of the Midwest.  There must be a lot of river prehistory and history here given the older buildings and Native American information in the museums.  This looks like a great place to do some day trips with our kayaks to see the cities from the river side.  Cedar Rapids  Cedar Falls Tourism and Water Trail  Waterloo  Iowa's Early Transportation Routes  Cedar River

Our day trips circled around good places for walk abouts and for food.  There appears to be many great places to have lunch or supper and lots of parks or trails.  Here are few places that we found during our two day trips.  We're going back to the Cedar Valley Region. 

In Cedar Rapids, we had lunch at the Flying Wienie.  You can't miss it, because there is a large yellow airplane on the roof.  Mike always likes a great gyro.  There is also a street in Cedar Rapids known as the Czech Village that has some shops including a bakery that is worth the stop.  We always load up on our way through this town.  Sykora Bakery has lots of ethnic pasteries.  Its been around since 1903!  Mike found a authentic civil war bullet apparently from Gettysburg for only $7.00 from the collectible store, Czech Village Antiques, across the street from the bakery.  Lots of stuff to see and buy here.  Czech Village 

Waterloo and Cedar Falls are sister cities.  Waterloo has a very interesting looking dinner, Newton's Cafe, in the downtown area on the north side of the river.  It looks like something from the 1950's.  We haven't eaten here yet, but hope to soon. 

The downtown area of Cedar Falls has been restored with the home town feeling.  There are lots of shops and restraunts including a cup cake factory.  We had a fantastic pizza (yea - thin crust) and salad from Tony's LaPizzeria for a lunch.  The Bourbon Street and Vodoo Lounge gave us a taste of New Orleans, we always like a great etoufee.  There was this little barbecue joint that has since closed last time we were there much to our dismay.  Please come back. about Zippys  Oh yea, don't forget to add to your stash of bakery items some cupcakes from Scratch Cupcakery in downtown Cedar Falls.  Lastly, make a pit stop at the Roots Market for your cold or hot drinks for on the road. 

No trip would not be complete according to Melody without checking out the local bontanical gardens.  On the south side of town is the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens.  This parkland is a sprawling landscape full of flowers, shrubs, and trees.  We like water gardens.   
The Natural History Museum at the University of Northern Iowa is a compact place with lots to see and learn.  We liked the Native American prehistory exhibits.  There is also a full size exhibit of an algific slope.  Algific slopes are cold air producing hillsides sometimes with ice caves in northeastern Iowa. 
Low water in 2012 afforded the opportunity to go beach combing along the Cedar River at some of the riverside parks and pull overs near riffle structures.  Riffles are shallow rocky areas along rivers.  Look for aquatic life and all kinds of interesting discarded items.

Happy trails and good eats on your own day trip to Cedar Valley Region in Iowa,  ...Mike & Melody

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