Vacations are for relaxing and having fun. Rod Serling introduced season three and four of The Twilight Zone, a late 1950’s and early 1960’s television series, by stating, “You unlock this door with the key of imagination.” We all agree that the human imagination is a wonderful gift. Northeast Iowa citizens display imagination and creativity in these five fun and zany roadside attractions.
- Klunder's Chicken: Klunder's Chicken is a great place for a photo opportunity and for a good hearty meal. The immense leghorn chicken welcomes visitors at the parking lot entrance of Klunder’s Chicken Café. The restaurant is located on Milwaukee Street in New Hampton in Chickasaw County. The promotional tool draws guests, but the good eats is the reason visitors return!
- Paula the Cow: A 25-foot mural of Paula the Cow, located in Waukon, Iowa in Allamakee County, was painted by artists Valerie and Josh Miller. The Millers have painted two other cow murals named Anna and Tippy, along with one in progress on the Oneonta Co-op named Irene. Valerie has had an obsession with cows since her family took a trip to Switzerland. Memories of watching the cows graze in pastures with the Swiss Alps as a backdrop carried over into her artwork. It was only natural that Josh would join in painting the cows when the two married.
- Saint Anthony of Padua Chapel: The church for eight may be reached by following 123rd Street about two miles outside of Festina, Iowa in Winneshiek County and then turning left on Little Church Road. Festina citizens often refer to the church as the “world’s smallest church,” although officially there are a few smaller churches in the world. Frank Joseph and Mary Ann Huber had the church erected in 1885. Mary Ann’s grandmother promised to build a church if her son returned home safely from war. The church was built to fulfill this promise and named Saint Anthony of Padua Chapel. The chapel contains four stained glass windows, four blue pews, an altar and a statue of Saint Anthony.
- Stone Man: The stone man is located in Fayette, Iowa along Hwy 93. The natural granite boulder resembling a man was originally located along a stage coach route. The stone man served as a marker at the intersection of 152nd Street and M Avenue, during the late 1800’s and into the 1920’s. A local women’s club enlisted the help of their husbands to build a stand for the stone man. In 1994, the stone man was moved once again, this time to the southeast corner of the intersection. Individuals have placed bonnets and other clothing items on the stone man over the years as a way of telling family and friends where they had been.
- World's Largest Strawberry: Strawberry Point, Iowa is home to the world's largest strawberry. The strawberry sculpture is created from fiberglass and weighs 1,430 pounds. The 15-foot tall sculpture is detailed with yellow strawberry seeds. The sculpture was manufactured in California and installed in 1967 after traveling to Iowa. The statue was placed directly in front of the local city hall. The local Jaycees raised $4,300 to purchase the sculpture and the town council funded the remainder of the $6,700 price tag.
(Photo is courtesy of World’s Largest Strawberry as uploaded by Al in Flickr’s Creative Commons.)