When Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, was ominously told ‘If you build it they will come’, I’m not sure he expected the Briggs to fly a thousand miles to pay pilgrimage to the site, but we did. After the film’s acclaim the Field of Dreams movie site has evolved into a tourist attraction and even hosts a yearly Team of Dreams celebrity baseball game, which happened to coincide with both Labour Day and dad’s birthday. Taking advantage of the three day weekend, we headed to the airport and set out to visit the Field of Dreams. We were up ridiculously early for a Saturday and grabbed a flight to Chicago and then a connection to Cedar Rapids.
Upon arrival in Cedar Rapids we headed to pick our rental car. With a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time, after loading our luggage we headed straight to Riverside, Iowa. This sleepy town with a population of just under a thousand, is home to the birthplace, or should I say future birthplace, of Captain Kirk and houses a small Star Trek museum.
Next up on our whistle-stop tour was the Grant Wood studio, somewhere I was particularly excited to visit. His work is known for exploring the lives of rural Midwestern residents and his most famous painting, American Gothic, is one of the most recognisable works to come out of the country. My favourite saying about Iowa is “We don’t always create American paintings, but when we do, we create the most iconic American paintings of all time”. And it couldn’t be truer! American Gothic is not only one of the period’s most famous works, but is also known as one of the US’s most significant works. His studio is quite small but, combining your visit with a trip to the Cedar Rapids Art Museum gives the full Midwestern art experience.
As we were already in the city we decided to check out the Czech Village, a Czechoslovakian inspired district with independent shops, eateries, and a museum. We walked along the main street and found ourselves in the Lion Bridge Brewing Company. I had a massive soft pretzel, when in the Czech Village right?! Meanwhile both mum and dad sampled the expansive beer selection.
One of the most random things we saw on our trip was Iowa’s largest frying pan. Long story short, dad met a guy a work called Brandon who happened to be from Brandon and said that we should visit the frying pan. While he pegged it as the world’s largest, it was in fact only the state’s largest, however it is functional and is said to be able to hold 88 pounds of bacon. Which is pretty impressive! At this point it was almost evening and we headed to our friends’ house where we were staying. A relaxing evening of take out and a trip to their wine bar, Della Viti, was just what the doctor ordered after a busy day of exploring.
Following a leisurely start to the day, we all headed to Gumption for brunch. The food was fantastic and I had one of the best brunches I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, lavender lemonade and Captain Crunch pancakes made a surprisingly perfect combination. The interior was rustic, homely, inviting, and serves as the perfect place to start your day. A short drive away back in the city the the farmer’s market was going on, and we spent a while looking around, blanketed in the sweet smell of Captain Crunch rolling across the sky from the mill. Once we had finished at the market we made a trip to check out the Ray Gun store. The shop is one of my Cedar Rapids must-dos, with all sorts of fun slogan tees and other Midwestern inspired merch on sale.
Around midday we began the hour long drive to Dyersville. The Field of Dreams set is open year round for tours, as well as being used for the Team of Dreams event, the reason for our trip. After the obligatory walking out of corn photos, we watched the celebrity baseball game, featuring a slightly hungover Charlie Sheen, and then the evening finished with a screening of the film itself. We then headed back to Cedar Rapids and the next morning had an early morning flight back to Savannah.
And that was our weekend in Cedar Rapids! There is so much to do, see, and eat and it makes the perfect weekend destination. As always if you have any specific questions or comments you can get in touch via the site or send me a DM or tweet.