Amana ColoniesAmana Colonies are a collection of seven villages in Eastern Iowa, founded by German settlers in 1855. The people in these villages actively maintain many of the cultural traditions of their ancestors. The Colonies are located just west of Iowa City along I-80. They are: Amana (also called Main Amana), East Amana, Homestead, Middle Amana, High Amana, West Amana, South Amana.
The Amana Colonies are about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Iowa City, 20 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids, 100 miles (160 km) east of Des Moines and 250 miles west of Chicago.
The entire set of colonies was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and there are hundreds of historic buildings still in use across the seven villages, mostly as homes for the approximately 1,200 permanent residents or as small businesses that cater to tourists.
There is no public mass transit service, no bike rental, and no car rental service within the colonies. Transportation is by car, by joining a bus tour, by biking, or by walking.
Each of the small villages is a couple of miles away from the next, which means it is about an hour's walk from one to the next. However, few people routinely walk or bike between villages now, except to follow the bike trail between Middle Amana and Main Amana. Within each small village, however, walking from one shop to the next is often the best choice. The colonies were modeled after German farming villages, so they generally have a single main street with smaller residential streets branching off from the main street, and most shops are on the main street or very close to it.
phone: +1 319 622-3315address: 618 8th Avenue, West AmanaAn 11-feet tall, 670-pound handmade attraction at the Broom and Basket Shop.
Amana Colonies Recreational TrailTrail for bicycling and walking, mostly paved, with some gravel. Bike or walk 3.1 miles (5 km) between the old Amana Depot in Main Amana and the trail's official end in Middle Amana. Stop for a picnic at Lily Lake on your way. The flowers at the lake bloom in late July and early August.
Various festivalsSeasonal festivals are held several times a year, including a Maifest in early May, an Oktoberfest in early October, and a Tannenbaum Forest from Thanksgiving through mid-December.
address: 800 48th AvenueFounded in 1857, it is the only woolen mill still operating in Iowa. Free self-guided tours of the small mill allow you to see the looms in action.
address: 4513 F StreetHam, bacon, pork chops, other meats and cheeses. Good source of food for a picnic.
phone: +1 319 622-3315address: 618 8th AvenueHandmade brooms and woven baskets. You might get to see a broom-making demonstration, and there is a frequently changing exhibition of baskets on display.
phone: +1 319 622-3441address: 4420 220th Trail, Amana, Iowa 52203Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A large restaurant that serves mostly German-style food with old-fashioned decor. Don't forget to save room for a slice of pie.
phone: +1 319 622-3641address: 4408 220th Trail, Amana, Iowa 52203Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Similar to the Ox Yoke Inn, which is next door.
phone: +1 319 622-3672address: 835 48th Avenue in Main AmanaIowa's oldest microbrewery. Kitchen open for lunch and supper daily.
phone: +1 319 622-3564address: 4402 220th TrailMostly known for their fruit wines. Compare their popular, sweet Crimson Cranberry to the others, or pick up some wine, cheese, and crackers to make a picnic.
address: 752 48th AvenueFree thimble-sized samples of 15 different fruit or berry wines. Also a gift shop.
phone: +1 319 622-3911address: 2206 44th Avenue, Homestead, IA 52236A total of 15 rooms. Hot buffet breakfast. Not wheelchair accessible.
phone: +1 319 622-7630address: 3890 C Street, Amana, IA 52203Open mid-April through the end of October. Full-service RV park plus tent campgrounds with 450 sites and on-site event facilities that can accommodate up to 1,200 people. Amenities include coin-operated laundromat, free wi-fi internet access, liquid propane, wheelchair-accessible restrooms and showers.
phone: +1 319 622-3599address: 4712 220th Trail, Amana, IA 52203The sandstone building was built in 1854 as a communal kitchen. It has been remodeled to create five guest rooms and two suites. Next door is a large modern motel building with 26 fairly boring rooms. A solid choice in an excellent location for people who don't plan to spend much time in the hotel.
phone: +1 319-622-3937address: 4434 V Street, Homestead, IA 52236This was built in 1856 as a stagecoach stop and railroad inn. 16 rooms. Hot breakfast provided. Ground floor is wheelchair-accessible via the lift at the back door. The Die Heimat Event Center is next door in the historic former Homestead General Store building.