Midwest Living Review
Made up of seven villages, the Amana Colonies contain a wealth of interesting shops and restaurants. The colonies have been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1965, and they retain much of the flavor of their communal days. Settled by a German religious sect, the colonies maintained a nearly self-sufficient communal lifestyle dedicated to crafts and farming until mid-1930s. Many of the original buildings remain, making the Amanas a picturesque place to visit. Mostly made of redbrick, the buildings house a variety of shops and attractions (some more interesting than others). In South Amana, the Mini Americana Barn Museum contains a collection of handmade miniatures representing various communities, including the Amanas. West Amana has a broom and basket shop where you can watch the artisans at work, and High Amana showcases an authentic general store from communal days. But most of the shops are located in Amana proper, where you'll find The Christmas Room, a jewel box shop located inside the Amana General Store and filled to overflowing with colorful Christmas decorations. The Ackerman Winery offers samples of traditional fruit wines, and The Chocolate Haus is filled with trays of truffles, fudge and caramel apples. It's also a great place for a pumpkin latte. Down the road, the Amana Woolen Mill houses a huge loom and sells lovely tartan blankets and wool scarves. At the Amana Furniture Store, watch craftsmen through a viewing window as they create furniture from walnut and cherry woods, and don't miss the room filled with stately grandfather clocks. The towns are bustling on the weekend when visitors flow in, but parking is ample. A selection of German restaurants and a local brewery add to the experience.