Book a tour of the famous covered bridges of Madison County (or explore them on your own by car, by bike, or by canoe/kayak). Call (515) 462-1185 to set up a personal guided tour, or stop in the Madison County Chamber of Commerce at 72 Jefferson Street in Winterset to pick up maps to the bridges.
Visit the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, and see what it’s like to stand next to an American icon. www.johnwaynebirthplace.museum
Savor some of Madison County’s own wine, beer or hard apple cider. Come on a Saturday evening and stay for an outdoor concert. Covered Bridges Winery (www.coveredbridgeswinery.com), Madison County Winery (www.madisoncountywinery.com), Two Saints Winery (www.twosaintswinery.com), Winterset Cidery (www.wintersetcidery.com).
Dine and shop on Winterset’s historic town square.
Get inspired at the brand new Iowa Quilt Museum (www.iowaquiltmuseum.org).
Attend Hinterland Music Festival in St. Charles, with headliners Willie Nelson and Ray LaMontagne, on August 5th and 6th, and prove to your kids (or parents) that you are indeed cool. (http://hinterlandiowa.com/)
Go a bit rugged at Pammel State Park. Some of the area’s nicest campgrounds (book early and reserve one of their two yurts) and fishing (Channel, Blue and Flathead catfish) are at this county park. http://www.madisoncountyconservation.org/pammel-park/
Climb Clark Tower at City Park, and take in the view of the Middle River Valley.
Indulge in a soft-serve ice cream cone or Cyclone at Frostee’s.
Make your own masterpiece at Madhaus Gallery (www.madhausgallery.com).
Play pioneer at the 18-acre Madison County Historical Complex (www.historyonthehill.org).
Load up on supplies and gourmet food at the Winterset Hy-Vee, then enjoy a picnic at Winterset’s City Park in one of the park’s shelters or on the grass (just like Robert and Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County).