While visiting Josh’s family in Iowa earlier this year, we made a quick stop to the Amana Colonies. The Amana Colonies are a group of vibrant communities settled by German immigrants and preserved by their descendants today through the Colonies’ residents and their unique shops, restaurants, and events and festivals.
There are multiple towns that make up the Amana Colonies and really a lot to see and do, especially if you visit during one of their annual festivals or events. We only had a couple of hours to spend during this trip, so we just checked out some of the shops in Amana, but if you are in the area for a longer trip, I definitely recommend spending more than one day here.
We started our visit with a stop at the Amana General Store. If I didn’t think I’d need to get everything on a plane to get home, I would have done some serious damage here (as a random aside, our flight home was cancelled and we ended up driving the rental back. My shopping would have gone much differently if I were able to plan on putting purchases in a car!)
This store had so many different items to choose from, and if you’re short on time like we were I think this is a good place to stop because they really had a little bit of everything. We picked up some tea, beautifully embroidered dish towels, and candy here, but they had everything from locally sourced meats and cheeses, to Christmas ornaments, coffee, home decor, and so much more all made in Amana or Iowa.
After we got home from our Iowa trip, I randomly came across a Cat’s Meow Village piece of the Amana General Store and I just had to have it to have a little something special to remember our visit, so that’s on display with the rest of those addicting little house replicas in my kitchen now!
Our next stop was the Chocolate Haus. Oh. My. God. This will be first stop when we go back…We picked up a couple of pieces of fudge and had some kind of mocha lattes that I can’t recall the name of but they were easily up there for the best coffee drink I’ve ever had. The store is so quaint but stocked with all kinds of chocolate products including fudge, lots of chocolate covered treats, and delicious coffee, plus you can see how chocolate is made from behind the counter using century old methods.
As we continued walking through Amana, we checked out some of the antique shops and stopped at the Village Winery for a quick wine tasting (and I picked up some of the raspberry wine to take home- It was delicious!) I could have spent the entire day browsing all of the antique shops here, and will definitely plan to spend more time in Amana next time we’re in Iowa.
While we were walking around, Josh pointed out places he’d been to in the past with his family including some of the family style restaurants and breweries, so this combined with all of the events planned throughout the year in Amana I know we’ll need to come back!
Getting to Amana from our hotel in Cedar Rapids was an easy drive, and once there it was not difficult to find parking (though I’m not sure if this would be different during a festival, we definitely went on a quieter day). Like everywhere right now, I would recommend checking hours online before you make the trip, but otherwise visiting Amana seems like very light planning.
If you are interested in visiting the Amana Colonies, you can find everything to plan your visit + see which stores have online shops at amanacolonies.com.