Instead of two girls for every boy, Iowa has eight pigs for every person. But there's a lot more to do here than roll in the mud. The towering bluffs on the Mississippi River and the soaring Loess Hills lining the Missouri River bookend the state; in between you'll find the writers' town of Iowa City, the commune-dwellers of the Amana Colonies and lots of little towns full of highlights.
In fact, Iowa surprises in many ways. It makes or breaks presidential-hopefuls: the Iowa Caucus opens the national election battle and wins by George W Bush in 2000 and Barrack Obama in 2008 stunned many pundits and launched their victorious campaigns. In 2009 the state shirked its staid image by allowing same-sex marriages.
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Iowa destination guides
Favorite US & UK fairs
Right up there with parades as one of the great simple timeless joys are fairs, state and county, little and big -- fairs where pigs are judged by girth, freaks given stages, paint-peeling rides sway in the summer breeze, dignitaries face-slapped with wet sponges, balloons get popped to win Iron Maiden mirrors, and everyone eat.
Five great German towns in the USA
Germany! Oh Germany! If you can't make it to Europe this year, but desperately need a lederhosen fix (sorry; it's an obligatory lederhosen reference), you can find delightful German-American towns scattered across the US that offer an irresistible look into Old World customs, plus some great beers, sweet wines and all sorts of .