Fairfield is a small but potent force in Iowa. It has a population of less than 10,000 amongst its humble patches of gorgeous early Victorian buildings and houses. However, they don’t call it Silicorn Valley for nothing, as it’s surprisingly abundant with start-up companies and a veritable factory of artisanal craft goods. Fairfield’s commerce reflects the colorful charisma of its residents. This small but never sleepy town in southeast Iowa is home to the Maharishi University of Management, the largest training center for practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation Technique – celebrities and soul-seekers alike flood the Raj Ayurvedic Health Spa, the only one of its kind outside of India. Located less than a two-hour drive from Des Moines and four from Chicago, Kansas City, and Saint Louis, Fairfield is an interesting stop on any road trip.
Photo via their official FB page.
Something that one might be surprised to find in rural Iowa: America’s premier Maharishi Ayurveda health spa, the only one of its kind outside of India. This French country-style facility sits on 100 acres of serene meadows and woodlands, and offers yoga lessons, meals designed around a personally-customized Ayurvedic diet and purifying Ayurvedic spa treatments. For more information on how to rebalance and purify the body in a calming and organic way, check out The Raj.
Photo by Will Merydith via Flickr.
Where can you get a side of good reads with a slice of brick oven, fire-roasted pizza? The walls of the cozy-eclectic Revelations Café and Book Store are packed with books both new and used. In their dining area, some of the best espresso to be found this side of Iowa and gourmet salads, sandwiches, pizza and baked goods, all suited to fit any dietary need. Ovo-lacto and gluten-free diners have found a safe space in this totally organic, locally-sourced and inviting Fairfield bistro-bookstore.
Photo by courthouselover via Flickr.
The little white house at the corner of Burton and American Gothic in Eldon, Iowa, is home to Beth Howard, author and pie baker who sells pies from her Pitchfork Pie Stand in the summer. It’s on a large patch of landscaped grass and pavement next to an unassuming museum. This little white house, built in 1881, by Catherine and Charles Dibble, happens to be the setting for the second-most recognizable painting in the world (following the Mona Lisa). American Gothic, painted in 1930 by native Iowan Grant Wood, featuring an austere man and woman in early-American farmer garb, patriarch with pitchfork in the foreground in front of a long, arched window. This is the painting that elevated this sleepy rural Iowa town into an unlikely must-visit for serious art aficionados. Visitors can pose in front of the house themselves and learn more about the history of the famous painting at the nearby museum.
Photo via their official FB page.
Located on top of the Red Rock Tavern (hence: "Top of the Rock") is widely hailed one of the best restaurants in Iowa. The atmosphere is warm, the cocktails are expertly executed and imaginative for every palate, and the food – casual fine dining, is that a culinary genre? Whatever it is, upscale-comfort, rustic decadence, it’s definitely a hit in rural Iowa. Their steak is a popular seller, as is their New Orleans shrimp linguine.
Photo via their official site.
Seven Roses Inn is an idyllic bed and breakfast in a Victorian brick home built in 1858, delicately preserved with its original interior woodwork, located on three acres of lawns and gardens across the street from historic Chautauqua Park. Their breakfasts are home made and perfected over years of practice, created with produce cultivated from their own gardens. There’s a TV, but it’s in a common area, in case one might be wondering what kind of escape this inn is primed for. For a relaxing weekend away, filled with hiking and nature wandering and stops and cute boutiques and cafes, check out the Seven Roses Inn.