May 11, 2015

An Afternoon of Covered Bridges or How I Found My Castle

I woke up on a fabulously sunny summer Saturday (alliteration – YAY!) and promptly decided we needed a road trip.  Lily is always the easiest one to convince so I set her to the task of looking through our Travel Iowa book to decide on a destination.  By the time the boys knew what hit them, we were on our way to Winterset.

On the simply gorgeous drive there, I was telling Mason about how I remembered Grandma taking us to a tower in the woods where we played castle for hours on end, but that, for the life of me, I could not remember where in Iowa it was. (Ok, shut up.  I either have severe long term memory loss or early onset Alzheimer’s.  It’s TRAGIC!)  Well, sure enough, we stop at the visitor’s center and what is pictured on the wall? THE CASTLE!!!  I may have squealed.

We had a quick lunch at Northside Café which was apparently featured in the movie Bridges of Madison County and it was delish, but kinda lost on us because we are losers and haven’t read the book or seen the movie.  Please don’t kick us out of Iowa.

I was in a hoot-tooting hurry to see MY CASTLE so we headed there first and here is a picture and isn’t it so beautiful and doesn’t it just make you want to throw your hair down the side of it and let someone climb up?!?


Seriously, it was awesome to finally find this tower again and remember all of my childhood visits spent having picnics and fighting with my sisters over who got to be the princess.  I won.  A lot.  Because I’m older.  And prettier.

Next, Mason wanted to see a sundial they had in the middle of a hedge labyrinth in the same park and so we headed there only to find that a local church had set up a miniature golf course through the labyrinth.  FUN!  So Lily completely spanked us all here.  Like she won by a landslide.  We’re certain she somehow cheated.  We were dying of thirst afterwards so we headed to the shelter where there was cold water, cookies, popcorn and hot dogs ALL FOR FREE, PEOPLE!!  Thank you to the Winterset Methodist Church for a charming and unexpected afternoon of mini golf and refreshments.

And what next?  Why BRIDGES of course!  We didn’t make it to all of them, but saw 4 of the 6.  Built between 1870 and 1884, each bridge is unique and has its own story and history. Now what I didn’t realize is that they not only LET you write on the walls inside the bridges, they ENCOURAGE it by selling Sharpies in the gift shops.  Yep.  Sanctioned  graffiti wins my heart every time.

In one bridge, the kids found this:


And so they enthusiastically stomped back and forth over the bridge several times arm in arm.  Because they are dorks.


And in the last bridge we visited we found this little guy with a note saying that there were 12 more hidden around the bridge.  I’m sorry, Waldo.  You got nothing on tiny hidden ninjas on a covered bridge.


We did miss the part of one of the bridges where lovers left little rolled up notes for each other (based again on the movie.  Yeah, we know, we suck) which sorta bummed me out because it reminds me of Juliet’s Wall in Verona and I am a sucker for romantic crap like that.

All in all, a fabulous day trip, with a great nostalgic surprise for me.  Lily, good choice, girl!  Winterset, you were a delightful hostess!  Thanks for having us.


3 Comments on "An Afternoon of Covered Bridges or How I Found My Castle"

  1. Stephanie May 26, 2015 Reply

    I love the bridges. My great-grandparents on my dad’s side carved their names in one of them when they were dating. I believe it is no longer there, but I did get to see it when I was younger.

  2. We had our wedding reception in that park, and most of our photos were taken in and around the castle. Love it there!

    • Author

      Wonderful!! I loved it there growing up and was so happy to find it again as an adult.

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