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The very best form of travel in the state of Iowa is certainly an automobile. There are so many small, out-of-the-way towns to discover, and the only way to accomplish that is to drive.
Jill and I realized when we began our 8-day tour that it would be far more expensive than our annual trips have been in the past. We had to pay between $3.29 and $3.59 per gallon. I will say that it was much cheaper in Iowa that week than it was in Illinois!
Another reason to drive [if you shop like we do] is that you need plenty of room for the purchases. Jill is a quilter, and she purchases lots of fabrics. She also purchased clothing, shoes, a hat, several purses, and a hat. Some of the fabric that we purchased was for a new quilt for my bedroom.
Also, being typical American women, we need plenty of room for the clothing and shoes that we take along [between 8-10 outfits each]. And, since we were staying in a time share where we could cook, we also took along supplies.
We found the roads in Iowa to be excellent. At times the signage was a bit difficult, but we managed. One of the best experiences was traveling the scenic and historic Great River Road. It's a 3,000-mile network of highways that parallels the Mississippi River; thus, it goes along Iowas eastern border.
Written Jun 19, 2007
The Amish arrived in 1846, which was more than 30 years before Kalona was a town. They have remained here all these years and, of course are an accepted part of the community.
As Jill and I have learned throughout our travels, "Faith underlies everything that the Amish do. They refuse any form of government aid or benefits and never buy life, health, or property insurance; to do so would show a lack of faith in God. Instead, the community of all Amish is their security, their insurance." [The Kalona News]
Kalona and the surrounding area has the largest Amish-Mennonite settlement WEST of the Mississippi River. They live without electricity, telephones, automobiles or other conveniences of the modern world. Jill and I have found that they are friendly, helpful people.
Both the Amish and the Mennonites are pacifists.
The Mennonites have church buildings, but the Amish use homes on a rotating basis every other Sunday, alternating with German-language Sunday School. You should note that The Beach Amish do have church buildings, use automobiles and have telephones but dress similar to the Old Order Amish; and, they both share a number of theological beliefs.
The men wear broadfall trousers, simple shirts [no neckties], utilitarian jackets & coats, and black hats. Women wear simple dresses [never prints], a white prayer cap covered with familiar black bonnet when in town. The Amish clothing has no buttons, hook and eye [they use pins or hook and eye].
Mennonites [named from Menno Simons, the 16th century Anabaptist leader] are more modern than Amish. They are pacifists and very active in missionary and relief work. It's obvious that the Mennonites, as well as the Amish have influenced Kalona.
NOTE: The Amish do not pose for photographs ["make no graven image"]
Jill and I noticed that the Amish and Mennonite are not as visible in Kalona as the Amish and Mennonite were in Ohio.
Updated Jun 21, 2007
Favorite thing: For 28 consecutives years, the Iowa Mennonite Central Committee has held a relief sale to fund world hunger projects. It's usually held the first weekend in June. Usually about 10,000 people attend raising about $100,00.00. ALL proceeds to to feed the hungry in more than 50 countries around the world.
An important portion of the even is the annual quilt sale They have about 120 handmade quilts and wall hangings; most are auctioned. In addition, large wood items are auctioned as well as antiques, and collectibles. They also have a Children's Auction.
They are feature food stands that sell strawberry pie, apple fritters, donuts, homemade bread, homemade ice cream, and cheese curds from the Kalona Cheese Factory. They present food, plant, and craft booths too.
Barbecued chicken or smoked pork lin dinners will be served one evening, and all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, and sausage breafast is also served.
This wonderful event is organized annually by 38 southeast Iowa Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches. They work year-around to plan this. "We welcome volunteers from any faith" says a spokesperson for the event.
Fondest memory: The best way to find out about the annual MCC Relief Sale is through their webpage: www.iamccreliefsale.org.
Written Jun 21, 2007