Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA

Written by: Margaret A. Barvinek

The “City of Five Seasons”…..a wonderful place to visit.

Every year this town experiences the wonders of the four seasons; winter, summer, spring and fall.  So why do they call this town the “city of five seasons”?  The people who live, work and play here stop every single day to enjoy the wonders that surround them.  The landscape is ever-changing with each season, the generosity of the people who live and work here and taking the time to appreciate the everyday beauty of the things that encircle their lives is the reason for the extra season.  These feelings are expressed in a “fifth season” that is added each year.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa is nestled along the Cedar River in the eastern part of the state.  It boasts of the largest cereal mill in the world, yes the world.  The Quaker Oats company is situated right down town in the heart of the city and the railroad tracks lie alongside the plant and run through the city.  The trains were once the only way to deliver cereal and products to other parts of the country.    Twenty years ago the city made an agreement with the Burlington-Northern railway so they could keep running the trains through the city as long as it did not stop traffic for more than 14 minutes in the downtown area.

Also nestled along the beautiful Cedar River is the Czech & Slovak museum.  The museum has the largest selection of Czech and Slovak artifacts outside the Czech Republic. The museum was damaged in the Flood of 2008, but was moved with money donated by the Czech Republic and private donations and now is bigger and better.  It’s a “must see” when visiting Cedar Rapids.  The museum is located in the part of Cedar Rapids which is appropriately named “Czech town” where you will find many restaurants and pubs with the Czech theme, along with people and homes who have family history dating back to the 1800’s from this area of the world.

Another beautiful structure that was damaged in the 08 floor was
the Paramount Theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of just 300 movie palaces left in the United States.  Built in the architecturally extravagant 1920's, the theatre annually hosts concerts, fundraisers, corporate meetings, dance recitals and a Broadway Series.  After renovation, this beautiful theatre opened back up in November 2012 to the delight of theatre and concert goers from around the state.

If you are looking to visit a place that is quiet, laid back and you need some major R&R, this is the place to be.  Cedar Rapids has many fine restaurants and hotels, bike and walking trails, a Museum of Art which changes exhibits every three months and while you are here be sure and visit Grant Wood’s studio where he did his first original artwork.   The new public library is scheduled to open in July 2013.

The City of Five Seasons motto was based on a bible verse:  “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.

Life is the sum of all seasons with which it is filled. In Cedar Rapids they take the time to enjoy the things that are most important to them in life.  In Cedar Rapids there is time enough….time to enjoy the seasons as they go by.  They take the time to relax and sit on the front porch with a glass of ice tea or hot cocoa and visit with a neighbor.  They help when a neighbor gets stuck in the snow or needs help fixing a lawn mower. They share fresh garden vegetables with co-workers and understand when someone needs that extra shoulder to cry on.

Many people have this odd idea that all Iowa has to offer is farms and farmland that needs to be worked.  That just isn’t the case and as you drive around the state, you will be in awe of the beautiful green rolling hills and the wild flowers that grow in the ditches.  It’s a great place to visit but an even better place to live, raise a family, work and enjoy all the seasons.

Written by: Margaret A. Barvinek

North America

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