Iowa raised

This week I went home to Iowa to hang out and visit family. I didn’t have much planned, so it was a nice, relaxing time hanging out with friends and family in great weather. I came back refreshed; it was a really great trip.

While I was home some last-minute exciting things happened:

  • One night, the Northern Lights were supposed to be visible. So my mom and I jumped in the car and drove around away from city lights for a while looking for them. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot them. Viewing the Northern Lights has been on my bucket list since learning about them, probably in middle school, so I was bummed I didn’t see them. If they were visible, I think we went to bed too early, as the best show was after midnight until 4 a.m.
  • I was leaving Iowa to come back to Florida the same time as President Obama. He made a quick trip to the University of Iowa during his two-day university tour to talk about student-loan rates, and flew out of the Eastern Iowa Airport the same time as me. Because of the timing, I saw the motorcade as I was on the road waiting to enter the airport and saw Air Force One take off once inside the terminal. It was a pretty cool site.

The motorcade entering the Eastern Iowa Airport

Air Force One takes off. I saw it a lot closer but due to excitement and poor window placement, I couldn't get a better picture.

Other than that, I hung out with my family and friends, enjoying the weather and activities of my hometown. And, if you know me or this blog, you know some of my favorite things to do when traveling is sample local food and beer.

I read in my hometown newspaper (and my first job) about a cute cheese shop, The Cheesehead Cheese Haus in Vinton, so I stopped by. It has more than 100 different cheeses, most from Wisconsin. Kris owns it with her husband, and she was very knowledgeable and helpful while we were shopping. She said she has tried all the cheeses (lucky lady!).

My mom, brother and I each picked a cheese: Buffalo wing cheddar (my brother), Farmers horseradish and chive (my mom) and cranberry white cheddar (me). They were a great variety, and all were really good, especially when sampled with our Midwest beers variety 6-pack I picked up.

Not a great picture, but great Midwest beer, cheese and crackers.

If you haven’t heard me say it before, I make a point when I travel somewhere to try to eat and drink as local as possible. And when I go home, it means sampling Midwest beers that are not available in Florida. Why travel to get something from the same chain restaurant you can find on every corner of the U.S. and wash it down with a basic anybeer? To me, a huge joy of travel is to experience new things and try something local not widely available.

This trip, my favorite beers sampled were Boulevard Single-Wide I.P.A., Potosi Steamboat Shandy and Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale.

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