Although at times serene, and almost always verdant, nothing about
IOWA truly stands out: this 55,000-square-mile chunk of the Great
Plains doesn't even manage to be completely flat, it just wobbles
up and down a little. The state is the very essence of smalltown
America, close to the geographical center of the mainland US, and
ranking decidedly average in size, population and level of personal
income. Even the cities seem at times to be merely villages grown
Iowa's history, too, has been relatively uneventful. It was
opened for settlement after the Black Hawk Treaty of 1832, a
one-sided exercise in negotiations with the Sauk Indians, conducted
after many of them had been chased down and slaughtered in neighboring
Wisconsin and Illinois. The Northern European immigrants who
replaced them made agricultural development their prime concern,
turning Iowa into the " Foodbasket of America " - a
role it generally achieves with scrupulous efficiency.
Tourist attractions in Iowa are few and far between; its most
visited destination is the throwback Germanic enclave of the
Amana Colonies . However, the state does also hold a few oddball
sites, such as the original locations for the movies The Bridges
of Madison County (in south central Winterset , birthplace of
John Wayne) and Field of Dreams (near Dubuque in the northeast).
You can also see, but not enter, the original house that featured
in Grant Wood's much-parodied American Gothic painting (at Eldon
in the southeast, and now owned by the state).