If you find yourself with a whole day to spend in the Amana Colonies, also known as the “Handcrafted Escape” nestled in the heart of Iowa, you might find yourself overwhelmed with endless options for great food, tasty beverages and tons of fun!
To help simplify your adventure, we’ve compiled a guide to explore the best of what the Colonies’ 7 Villages have to offer (which trust us, is a lot). Lace up your shoes, grab your camera, brush up on your German and get ready for a day like no other!
Enjoy breakfast at The Ox Yoke Inn
With a big day ahead, you’re going to want an even bigger breakfast in your belly! Look no further than the Ox Yoke Inn, a restaurant that prides itself on quality cooking and “family style” service. Speaking of, may we suggest the Family Style Breakfast off their delicious menu, which features refillable servings of fresh fruit, hickory smoked ham, buttermilk pancakes, homemade jam, scrambled eggs, sausage patties and toast?
Get Your Caffeine Fix
No breakfast is complete with a cup of coffee or a sip of tea! Stop by Amana Coffee and Tea to satisfy your caffeine cravings. Sip samples of their gourmet and seasonal flavors like blueberry cinnamon crumble coffee or ginger peach tea. Pick your favorite and take home a bag of whole bean joe or loose leaf tea!
Walk it off
Now that you’re full from breakfast and taste testing, its the perfect time to take a nice leisurely walk along the Kolonieweg (or Colony Way), a 3.1 mile trail that connects the village of Amana to nearby West Amana. The trail offers beautiful views of the scenic countryside and if you’re feeling especially active, bikes are available to rent through the Visitor’s Bureau!
Get schooled in the history of the Amanas
In order to truly understand the colonies and the way they work, take a step inside the Amana Heritage Museum. Here, you’ll learn about the German heritage of the villages as well as what makes them so unique. Think the Amana Colonies are an Amish community? Think again! Clear up these misconceptions and learn fascinating facts about this incredible area.
Shop til you Drop!
Keep those legs moving a take a stroll down F Street in West Amana, where you’ll find treasure troves like Grapevine Antiques, the Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse, Renate’s Antique Gallery, Smokehouse Square Antiques and more! Or, head to 220th Trail in Amana where you can paruse through Amana Colonies Antiques, the Amana General Store, Catiri’s Are Oasis, Custom Cutlery and Ironworks and so much more!
Find a Fest!
The Amana colonies are known for their unique and vibrant festival scene. From the Winterfest’s Beard Contest to the summer Garden Tours or their authentic Oktoberfest, there are events happening almost weekly that you just can’t miss! Check their calendar for events going on while you’re there.
Catch a Show at the Old Creamery
The Old Creamery Theatre is a professional live theater that hosts performances Wednesday-Sunday. Their 2018 shows include Camelot, the Addams Family, Charlotte’s Web, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and more!
Dinner is Served!
Grab dinner at the Millstream Brau Haus! Enjoy traditional German food, music and best of all beers, brewed fresh in the Millstream Brewery! Popular menu items include a wide variety of bratwurste flavors, schnitzle, soups, salads and pretzels.
Wash it down with glass of wine
The Amanas feature a variety of wineries, including some of the oldest in Iowa. Sip rhubarb and dandelion wines at Ackerman Winery, sip homemade wine next to a 150-year-old sandstone home at Sandstone Winery, shop items made by local crafters in the Village Winery’s gift shop or participate in a daily wine tasting at White Cross Cellars.
Embrace Your Artistic Side
Visit the Creative Colony to shop “Made In Iowa” products from local artisans. With a constantly changing inventory, you never know what you might find!
Take a Rest
After such a long and exciting day, you’ll be ready to take a break. Enjoy your nights stay at a cozy bed and breakfast like Rawson’s B&B, where breakfast is served on authentic china or Zuber’s Homestead Hotel, a renovated 1860 hotel that features 15 themed rooms.
No matter where your Adventure in the Amana Colonies takes you, you’re sure to find authentic culture, genuine smiles, hearty foods and skillful artistry. Plan your trip today! (And while you’re at it, follow @ShopAmana on Instagram to keep up with the beauty and culture of the Amana Colonies!)