#Bookstrong: Eight Hours in Des Moines

Another Midwest Indie Bookstore from the Roadmap!

If you add up all the hours I spent in West Des Moines and Des Moines it totaled about eight hours (minus sleeping). Of that time, half was spent eating well. My son Tevis and I dined at Barn Town Brewing for dinner one evening. We enjoyed our food and smiled at the popcorn brought out to every table instead of bread (see below). With our cousins David and Diana (and friends) we also enjoyed an Italian meal at Billy Vee’s.

On my last day in Iowa, I had a later flight so I met up with my cousin John at a local coffee place (while a chain, still very much an Iowa place). The Smokey Row is a great place for coffee, ice cream and breakfast and lunch items.

I made a quick trip to Beaverdale Books to check out my last Midwest Indie Bookstore from the Roadmap. Then I went to the Des Moines Art Center. Admission is free, so it easy to spend as little or as much time as you like. I lingered over a special exhibit, “Lea Grundig’s Anti-Fascist Art.” Then it was time to head to the airport and return my rental car. I was worn out from driving but happy with the amount of time I had with friends and family.

#Pieperfest14: Bridges of Madison County

The Roseman Bridge starred in the movie Bridges of Madison County.
The Roseman Bridge starred in the movie Bridges of Madison County.

Truth be told, I never read the book or saw the movie, Bridges of Madison County. Auntie J saw the movie and she was keen to see the covered bridge featured in the film. The Roseman bridge outside Winterset was only about 30 minutes from Stuart.

Photo not by Robert.
One of three bridges we visited in Madison County.

After breakfast we drove over to Winterset and with some difficulty, we found the Roseman covered bridge. It looks like a covered bridge. The gift shop opened while we were there and we had another lovely, warm conversation with the Iowa man running the shop.

He told us we could find an authentic Mexican place in town on the square, and Northside Café (featured in the film). He also gave us good advice on getting to Waukee and getting around the washed out part of the Highway 169.

This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime. –Robert (Clint Eastwood)
This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime. –Robert (Clint Eastwood)

We finished our walk around the square. There was an intriguing textile store that sold yarn but everything was closed up tight on Sunday.

We drove into Winterset and parked on the square to walk around. We decided since we were going to eat a big dinner and we ate a late breakfast we would just try a piece of pie at the Northside Café. The town boasts a pie festival so we thought the café might offer pie. We both tried the peach pie and it was the worst pie we have eaten, ever. Mushy crust and canned peaches. It did not have any flavor. Not sure if the peanut butter or cherry pie might have been better. My bad for ordering peach pie when the leaves are turning on the trees.

Cafe featured in Bridges of Madison County
Don’t order the pie at Northside Cafe.

On the way out of town we drove across the Cedar bridge and looked at the Hogback bridge. I am glad they have kept them in good repair, although they are more the focal point for local parks than for transportation.

We drove on to Waukee for our last big feast with the cousins. Cousin Annette’s house is a very cool old Victorian style house in “town”. The men watched football, the women fixed food and visited, and the children tried to catch wild kittens.

Cousin Annette's home
Cousin Annette’s home

At the end of the evening we all gathered around the dining room table telling stories and the din of multiple stories and laughter was quite intense. Jeanette and I laughed when we compared it to our quiet gatherings in Petaluma, California. We loved it.

Cousin David graciously drove us back to our Hampton Inn in West Des Moines as our adventure was drawing to a close.

Oldest to youngest Pieper Cousins
Oldest to youngest Pieper Cousins (of those present)