Founded in 1855, the Amana Colonies stand within each reach of Iowa City. The colonies include seven original villages (with names like South Amana and High Amana), but the place to start is Amana proper. Stroll down the sidewalks and stop at Ackerman Winery (to sample black raspberry and rhubarb wines); Amana Furniture and Clock Shop (for handmade tables, chairs and grandfather clocks); and the Amana General Store (for the year-round Christmas room).
The High Amana General Store sports the original tin ceiling and sells old-fashioned toys and soaps (amanaheritage.org).
Tasty brews draw patrons to popular Millstream Brewing Company, and at The Ronneburg, the sauerbraten and Wiener schnitzel come family-style. Snuggle in at cozy Zuber’s Homestead Hotel.
The lovely Iowa Valley Scenic Byway awaits your leisurely drive. Pastoral scenes of cornfields, charming farms and grazing sheep fill this backroads trip, which is especially nice in fall. End with a celebratory sip of Cordovan and some warm Brie dip at Fireside Winery in Marengo.
For information: Amana Colonies, (800) 579-2294; amanacolonies.com