Charles City, Iowa calls itself America’s hometown and once you visit, you’ll understand why. The North Iowa Bloggers were prepared to enjoy our visit to this delightful town of 7,500 people but I, for one, was unprepared for the warm friendly welcome we received beginning with Ginger Williams, from the Chamber of Commerce. It was the same everywhere we went.
My day normally begins with coffee but on this trip, one of our bloggers, Mary Hopper from Natural Plus Nursery, led us first in a yoga class which was awesome and heightened my anticipation for my morning coffee at Aromas.
Aromas Coffee is a world-class coffee shop. Bryan Elsbury really knows his coffee and the information he shared with us was almost as good as his coffee. Did you know the first coffee came from Ethiopia? Did you know one coffee tree produces just 2 lbs. of coffee in a year? Or that there are only two kinds of beans, arabica, grown above 3000 feet and robusta, grown below 3000 feet? The best tip I learned though is that a medium roast releases and reveals the most flavor from the bean but a dark roast hides it. A dark roast is like eating a well-done steak–which I would never do. Fascinating and educational. If you’re a coffee lover, you must check out Aromas.
Downtown Charles City in October was definitely decorated for autumn and we felt like they were putting on their best for us.
They even had a parade. (Not really for us. It was homecoming, but lots of people turned out to watch.)
And then because it’s Pinktober, we all got pink hair extensions in Central Park as part of a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
We ducked in and out of shops all along Main Street, but one of my faves was definitely Darbe & Co. Boutique. Deb McNeilus provided us with darling gift bags, a wine tasting, and royal treatment. The shop is full of fashionable women’s apparel that was a big hit with all of us bloggers.
Main Street is a treasure trove of old architecture and I just had to capture a bit of it.
Although not on Main Street, we stopped by Otto’s Oasis, with “Florist, Gifts, Home and Garden Decor Greenhouse and Landscape Services,” where they also had a goody bag for us and gave us a tour of their greenhouse and garden decor. It was fun to see hundreds of green poinsettia before they turned their vibrant Christmas hues.
Charles City has a number of beautiful parks and the ones we visited were especially gorgeous with fall foliage nearing its peak. The historic pedestrian suspension bridge was destroyed in the floods of 2008 and has been replaced with a new one which was very impressive.
I can’t visit a place without talking about the food. We had pub grub the first evening at The Pub on the Cedar. Good food, great service and if you’re a sports fanatic, plenty of screens to catch whoever is playing. If only it had been warmer that evening, I’d love to have eaten on the deck with a view of the river.
Or, if you’re more into fine dining, Three C Bistro is my definite recommendation. (Three C stands for Cavanaugh’s Charles City.) The owner and chef, James Cavanaugh, has created an attractive venue with excellent food. I had the special which was a steak with braised cabbage and potatoes. How often do you see braised cabbage on a menu? It was delicious.
There is so much more we didn’t have time to see and do in Charles City including the Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home, the early 1900’s tractors at the Floyd County Historical Museum, and Iowa’s first Whitewater Park, to name just a few. I guess another trip is in order.
Come home to Charles City, Iowa. You’ll be glad you did.
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