Iowa Great Places: Madison County

I learned from this week’s Madison County Chamber of Commerce newsletter that Madison County was named one of Iowa’s Great Places by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs:

Madison County’s proposal included projects to improve quality of life and attract thousands to the county. The projects will be long-term assets that improve quality of life for existing residents and provide ongoing education, historic preservation, and entertainment value to central and south central Iowa. Specifically, the projects will enhance a strong base of cultural attractions that make Madison County a Great Place.

Iowa Great Places awarded $97,500 this year for two projects in Madison County:
John Wayne Birthplace Museum Exhibits
John Wayne Birthplace Trail

“The Iowa Great Places designation is an exciting step in our community’s vision to establish Madison County as a destination. The Great Places funding for the John Wayne Birthplace Museum and John Wayne Birthplace Trail will help to realize a decades-long dream of many community leaders to construct a memorial and lasting tribute worthy of one of the world’s most famous actors whose roots began right here in Madison County. Funding for this project and designation as an Iowa Great Place will certainly help Madison County to promote our heritage and our cultural significance, while drawing additional visitors to Madison County to explore our roots and unique place in film history. Madison County is absolutely an Iowa great place, and the stamp of approval from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is icing on the cake.” – Heather Riley, Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, 515-462-1185

Read more at IowaGreatPlaces.gov

Pammel Park Backbone Trail, Madison County, IA

Pammel Park is roughly five miles SW of Winterset in Madison County, Iowa. I’ve been intending to walk some of the county’s trails (learn more about what the county has to offer at http://www.madisoncountyparks.org) for a few years now and, with a few days away from the office decided to give it a start. A map of the trail is available at http://www.madisoncountyparks.org/images/stories/TrailMaps/PPark.jpg.

Arguably there’s not a lot of action here, but that’s kind of the point—the trail was quiet save a few birds, squirrels, and deer I happened upon. It was great to get out from behind the desk and out in to the natural world.

The path isn’t very kid-friendly (part of my park/trail exploration is to find fun places around the county to take my three boys) with a few steep ascents and drop offs. Not a problem for an aware adult, but I don’t know that I’d trust my toddlers to safely traverse!

Money, Happiness and the New Science of Smarter Spending | New Republic

Experiences can have a much bigger impact on people’s happiness than things, and a big part of that happiness lies in looking forward to the experience that you are going to have.

via Money, Happiness and the New Science of Smarter Spending | New Republic.

A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR

While dad was in the Air Force we spent a year in Minot; I can’t imagine how much change had to occur for this comment about the fracking to be true:

I lived in western North Dakota for the second half of 2012 for work. The light pollution is so bad that people get confused and think they are driving towards the sunrise in the early hours of the day.

I think of how peaceful the landscape seemed and of grandpa’s old Army buddy who lived north of base (and his stories of blowing up the outhouse and burning his eyebrows off).  North Dakota, in my memory, is a refuge.  Now it’s on fire.

A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR

There’s a patch that looks like a big city — but there is no big city in that part of North Dakota. There’s mostly grass. So what are those lights doing there? What is that?… It turns out, yes, that’s not a city. And those lights weren’t there six years ago.

A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR.

Explore – The best advice I can come up with is this: Keep…

The best advice I can come up with is this: Keep your living expenses LOW. The smaller you live (materially-speaking), the bigger you can live (creatively-speaking). This way the stakes aren’t so high…you aren’t demanding of your passion that it keeps you living a rich life. Then you can stretch and grow with the most possible freedom. This was my strategy in my 20’s, and it’s the reason I worked really hard to avoid all debts, and to keep my lifestyle really manageable. If I’d been saddled with a big life, I don’t think I ever could have found my way forward to the freedom I have now.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice for people who want to turn their passion into a career, a fine addition to our ongoing archive of sage advice.

via Explore – The best advice I can come up with is this: Keep….

Four Seasons Garden – Probably the World’s Most Beautiful Suburban Garden | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities

Four Seasons Garden – Probably the World’s Most Beautiful Suburban Garden | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities.

Located in the small backyard of a family-owned property in Wallsall, England, is one of the most incredible-looking gardens in the world. The Four Seasons Garden may not be as large as other famous English gardens you may have visited, but it certainly makes up in beauty and charm.

Tony and Marie Newton's Suburban Garden

I’ll be completely honest—I feel lucky if I can keep a (singular) potted plant alive.  Tony and Marie Newton’s “hobby garden” is beautiful.