Muscatine, Iowa, is a river city. It has the distinctive nickname “The Pearl of the Mississippi” due to its pearl button historical past. The mussels and clams within the river have been farmed to create the attractive, iridescent buttons, and for years, Muscatine was the Pearl Button Capital of the World. Whereas that’s one historic side of this stunning metropolis situated southwest of the Quad Cities space, throughout a hosted go to, I discovered that Muscatine is stuffed with many enjoyable outside actions. That is true partially as a result of downtown Muscatine is walkable, and there are lots of different outside choices as effectively. (Whereas I used to be hosted, all opinions on this article are mine, and mine alone.)
The e-book A Stroll Via Muscatine presents a little bit of the historical past of the realm. I discovered that Muscatine was first occupied by Native People. It was explored by Pierre Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673. In 1836, Colonel John Van Atta and Captain Benjamin Clark established a buying and selling put up, which is now marked as a diamond on Mississippi Drive. The primary settler within the space was James Casey, and the city was first referred to as Casey’s Touchdown, then later Bloomington. It wasn’t till 1849 that the title was modified to Muscatine, or “Musquitine” to honor the Muscoutin Indians that had lived right here.
1. A Stroll Via Previous Muscatine
Whereas the e-book A Stroll Via Muscatine first presents a little bit of historical past within the introduction, it does greater than that. This informational booklet supplies an inventory of 45 stops in Muscatine. The tour is basically eight blocks masking houses that have been constructed between the years 1850 and 1890. Whereas they’re personal houses, the information presents a drive or stroll and an opportunity to see native historical past. The e-book tells in lots of instances the historical past of the residents and the constructing. For instance, the primary cease is a house with a tower on one aspect in a house initially constructed, “for Simon Gerberich Stein, who had come to Muscatine by raft with a provide of lumber for commerce.”
The e-book may be bought for round $3.00 on the Go to Muscatine workplace.
Professional Tip: A cease at Go to Muscatine can arm you with an inventory of locations to dine and different enjoyable information in your go to.
2. The Mississippi Harvest Statue
To herald the Pearl Button historical past of Muscatine, you’ll wish to go to probably the most iconic outside stops in Muscatine, the Mississippi Harvest statue. Positioned on the waterfront, the statue is 23 toes tall and depicts a clam fisherman standing in a clam-filled boat utilizing a pair of clamming forks over his head. The statue was created by artist Erik Blome. The placement is alongside Mississippi’s Riverside Park. This can be a nice space to see water exercise and watch boats and river life!
You probably have the children alongside, it is a nice cease. Moreover the statue, this space additionally presents an opportunity to play within the Mississippi Mist Fountain splash pad. Energetic guests may additionally wish to shoot some hoops. This space additionally has a ship launch and presents entry to the Operating River Bike & Pedestrian Path System as effectively.
Professional Tip: If within the pearl button historical past, you could wish to cease on the Nationwide Pearl Button Museum. Positioned within the Historical past and Trade Heart, this museum tells Muscatine’s story of changing into the Pearl Button Capital of the World. Upstairs you may study in regards to the trade that settled in Muscatine.
3. Operating River Path System
Take a stroll alongside the river stroll. The realm is gorgeous and is accessible from Mississippi Drive. Jodi Hansen of Go to Muscatine stated they’ve made it straightforward to get to from downtown. The web site shares: “This path system will take you previous the lagoon at historic Weed Park, previous Norbert F. Beckey Bridge, and alongside the banks of the Mississippi River. Many of the path alongside the riverfront is lighted, and there are further sections of the path system elsewhere within the metropolis. Altogether, there are 10 miles of paved and unpaved trails and walkways.”
At evening, the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge is lit up and is kind of beautiful.
Professional Tip: Lodging at The Resort Merrill is correct throughout from the Operating River Path and the Mississippi. The Resort Merrill is the quantity two resort within the state of Iowa. It’s a AAA 4-Diamond property. Downtown is walkable from this location as effectively.
4. Strolling Round Downtown Muscatine
Downtown Muscatine is charming. On 2nd Avenue, there’s the Pearl Button Museum and a number of other outlets to peruse. It’s enjoyable to window store and resolve the place you wish to cease for lunch or dinner later within the day. There are just a few colourful murals downtown as you cruise the two- to three-block space. We additionally seen poetry on the sidewalk and discovered that the attractive phrases embedded within the concrete are winners of the Wandering Phrases competitions.
Professional Tip: Downtown eating choices that we loved have been Boonies on the Avenue and Waffle and Pancake Home.
5. Patio Resort Merrill
Walkers can take pleasure in a beautiful statue outdoors the Resort Merrill and their great eating possibility, Maxwells Restaurant, which has a water function, fireplace bowls, and views of the Mississippi River. The statue is of two males watching a metropolis from a window, and beneath is a poem referred to as, “We Are The Younger.” The primary line goes, “The world is broad, and the seas are large. We’re the younger, the starry-eyed.” I like the actual fact in addition to artwork throughout our go to to Muscatine, we additionally bought a little bit of literature!
6. The Muscatine Artwork Heart
The beautiful Musser mansion homes a stupendous artwork assortment. The house is majestic, plus there’s additionally a sculpture backyard and a Japanese backyard that’s present process renovation.
Professional Tip: The Muscatine Artwork Heart is each a home tour and an artwork museum go to. Should you take pleasure in stunning houses and artwork, take the time to tour!
7. Muscatine Arboretum
If wanting an opportunity to see nature and stroll or bike, head out to the Muscatine Arboretum, which is situated in Discovery Park. The web site shares, “This may be described as a ‘dwelling tree museum.’ This 13-acre function in Discovery Park showcases a wide range of native and decorative timber and shrubs. The arboretum additionally presents demonstration gardens with hostas and decorative grasses. As well as, it surrounds a reconstructed prairie wetland.”
Professional Tip: There may be additionally an Environmental Heart in Discovery Park that has enjoyable displays as effectively.
8. Pine Creek Grist Mill
Pine Creek Grist Mill is within the Wildcat Den State Park close to Muscatine, Iowa. Heather Soppa, vp of interpretation for Buddies of the Pine Creek Grist Mill shared that the mill, “Is the oldest working grist mill between the Mississippi and the Rockies. The mill is 174 years outdated this yr. It was inbuilt 1848. That is the threerd mill on the creek.”
The mill is gorgeous from the surface, and there are trails in Wildcat Den Park that may be loved as effectively. Should you get the possibility although, take the tour of this historic mill that operated till the early Nineteen Twenties.
9. Pine Creek Grist Mill Bridge
A fantastic place to take footage of the mill, and the water is the Pine Creek Grist Mill Bridge. It’s a stunning iron pinned Pratt truss bridge. In response to the Bridgehunter web site, “The Pine Creek Grist Mill Bridge is distinguished amongst these for its comparatively early building date and excessive diploma of structural integrity. Positioned in a pristine setting subsequent to the restored Pine Creek Grist Mill, it is without doubt one of the state’s most picturesque wagon bridges.”
10. Mark Twain Overlook
Not removed from the bridge that crossed from Illinois into Iowa is the Mark Twain Overlook. This can be a website the place you may see the whole city of Muscatine; whenever you flip within the different path, you could have a wide ranging view of the Mississippi River!
Mark Twain has a historical past in Muscatine. Go to Muscatine states, “Samuel Clemens returned in 1853-1854 from his first main travels as a younger man to Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C and different east coast locations to Hannibal, Missouri. He discovered that his household, headed by his brother Orion Clemens, had moved upriver from Hannibal to Muscatine, the place his brother was now part-owner of the Muscatine Journal, the native newspaper, nonetheless in existence right now.”
What’s exceptional about Twain and this overlook is that with all his travels, he stated in regards to the sunsets in Muscatine, “And I keep in mind Muscatine — nonetheless extra pleasantly — for its summer time sunsets. I’ve by no means seen any, on both aspect of the ocean, that equaled them.”
Muscatine is a city stuffed with historical past, artwork, purchasing and eating choices, and some ways to take pleasure in outside magnificence and actions. You possibly can fish, hike, bike, stroll, boat, or simply sit and take all of it in when visiting the Pearl of the Mississippi!
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