Des Moines, Iowa & Chicago, Illinois- May 2016 Outbound

May 13-May 23

WHY IOWA?  That’s what a group of us were saying on May 13 as we started our domestic exchange to the state of Iowa.  We found out quickly that Des Moines and Iowa have a lot to offer.  First and foremost, the people are wonderful.  We  met a number of them when our club hosted them in March of 2015.  It is always great to reacquaint ourselves and, of course, meet new folks.

We toured the capital, a stunning building.  We also had an excellent tour of Terrace Hall, the Governor’s residence.  We had a tour of the Sticks factory.  If you’re not familiar with the products, please check them out on  We also toured the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates (the Nobel Prize of food). “Meals from the Heartland” is a phenomenal non-profit operation providing meals for starving people in Iowa and around the world.  They donated something like 17 million meals last year.  A tour of the Jordan house was interesting as it was an Underground Railroad network location during the Civil War.  While the Farmer’s Market was VERY cold it was HUGE even though not much was in season.

CHICAGO- May 18-   We concentrated on Frank Lloyd Wright. Oak Park was where his work began and the location  of his first studio. There are many examples of his work throughout the city. We spent a day touring Johnson Wax in Racine, Wisconsin, as this complex was also designed by FLW. We also experienced a 3-legged chair which later was changed to a 4-legged chair.  Millennium Park was spectacular as we got a “behind the scenes” tour and found out many interesting tidbits about the park and construction.   A brief overview of the Chicago Art Institute was only a tease. You could spend months there. We met some fantastic people and you can expect that the Northern Illinois Club will visit us here in Western North Carolina in the future.

-Becky Elston, Journey Coordinator