A Beautiful Town: Muscatine, Iowa
I know that many "seasoned travelers" do not take local United States travel seriously, especially when you travel in the Mid West such as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, or Iowa. Well, I have news for those people: They just don't know the value of what the real American way of life can be. The history, the architecture, the friendly people, and the natural beauty all abound here in the middle of this big country, and Muscatine, Iowa really represents all the reasons I find it so fascinating.
In this River Town of about 23,000 people, we enjoyed the historic downtown and its beautiful surrounding neighborhoods. There were lovely old homes that were built as early as 1840. These gave us a glimpse into the past. One such home has become the Muscatine Art Center. It's an Edwardian home that is the Musser Mansion. It's been fully restored and, lucky for all of us, it's open to the public. There are architectural styles of nineteenth century America found in Muscatine's historic neighborhoods.
You are able to take an annotated walking tour of such historic homes that overlook the Mississippi River at the Muscatine History and Industry Museum. There are 13 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There's the wonderful Wild Cat Den State Park with the Pine Creek Grist Mill, the Melpine One-Room Schoolhouse, and the spectacular hiking trails.
In addition, Muscatine's County Courthouse with its beautiful mural and stained glass dome can be viewed as well as the Statue of the Civil War Soldier standing guard outside. Truly, an Americana vision. Muscatine's lovely Riverside Park with its interactive water feature, its new "Mississippi Harvest Statue", its aquatic center, boat launch, skateboard park. I also really enjoyed the Historic Downtown area with its historic lighting, revitalized buildings, especially the Pearl Plaza.
Perhaps the most unique of all the sites in Muscatine is the Muscatine History & Industry Center which has preserved the vital part of Muscatine's history that pertains to the Pearl Button Industry that began in 1887.
I almost forgot about Lock and Dam #16 that is located across the Highway 92 Bridge from Muscatine. It's open to the public for watching barges and tows lock through.
If you are in Muscatine during May through October, you can enjoy the Muscatine Island Produce Markets where you are able to purchase homegrown beans, corn, and tomatoes. In late July, you are able to relish their famous watermelons and Cantaloupe.
I could go on and on about this marvelous riverside town in Iowa.