Wanting to escape from work for a few days, I decide to explore another part of the United States and took my yearly get-away road trip to the Heartland of America.
Architectural highlights included Philip Johnson’s Merchants Bank Building in Grinnell, David Chipperfield’s Figge Art Museum in Davenport, and the Des Moines Art Center, designed by not one, not two, but three “starchitects” — Eliel Saarinen, I.M. Pei, and Richard Meier.
Omaha and Des Moines were actually surprisingly great cities! Omaha’s Old Market District is worth a stop for its wealth of beautifully-restored historic brick buildings, now alive with great restaurants, bars and boutiques. Definitely don’t miss one of my favorite sculptural ensembles in the world — The Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness. Starting at the Pioneer Courage Park, follow over 100 bronze sculptures across streets, corners and sidewalks, finally ending inside the First National Tower. An attraction in its own right, this sleek, modern skyscraper makes a point to preserve its own history, with a dedicated wall in the building’s ‘winter garden’ lobby proudly displaying the façade of its historic terra cotta-clad predecessor.
The view from Des Moines’ magnificent capitol building (see below), reveals a skyline of an urban, modern city. Not what I used to think of when I pondered Iowa. Even its other smaller cities like Davenport or Iowa City didn’t seem like Iowa. Shockingly, I don’t even recall seeing one corn field driving the entire length of the state of Iowa! I love shattering stereotypes through travel, even in my own country!
|1||Denver, United States||May 22, 2009||May 22, 2009|
|2||Omaha, United States||May 22, 2009||May 23, 2009|
|3||Lincoln, United States||May 23, 2009||May 23, 2009|
|4||Des Moines, United States||May 23, 2009||May 24, 2009|
|5||Grinnell, United States||May 24, 2009||May 24, 2009|
|6||Iowa City, United States||May 24, 2009||May 24, 2009|
|7||Davenport, United States||May 24, 2009||May 24, 2009|
|8||Chicago, United States||May 24, 2009||May 25, 2009|
|9||Third Lake, United States||May 25, 2009||May 25, 2009|
|10||Gurnee, United States||May 25, 2009||May 25, 2009|
|11||Chicago, United States||May 25, 2009||May 25, 2009|