You have probably seen Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting on a jigsaw puzzle or a mug. Or one of the many riffs on it by other artists. If you are fortunate you were able to view it in person at the Art Institute of Chicago. I knew that Grant Wood found his inspiration in Iowa but I couldn’t say for certain where. I’d also read Beth M. Howard’s memoir, Making Piece, that she wrote while she lived in the American Gothic house. (She has since moved on and you can read what she is up now in her blog.)
I was zipping along the highway, pushing my rental car to the speed limit on the Iowa state highway to get to my cousin’s in time for dinner. Then I saw the sign to American Gothic House. It was honest–it is a 6 mile detour (one way) off the highway. Plus whatever time it takes to view the house. So far on this road trip I had underestimated that amount of time I’d want to spend seeing an attraction.
What the heck! When would I be in this part of Iowa again?!
Google maps seemed to have a hard time selecting a route once I got into the town of Eldon, Iowa. I don’t think the phone service was consistent. I did find it though. There is a good size parking lot and a new visitor center. Then a lovely wildflower lined walkway to a viewing area. It was past 5 p.m. and the visitor center was closed. There was one other person who had the same impulse as me. He was heading north to Minneapolis eventually. We both absorbed the information and enjoyed a respite from driving.
Was it worth it? Heck yeah!