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Introducing Iowa

Instead of two girls for every guy, 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 in 2008 Barrack Obama stunned many pundits with a win here. In 2009 the state shirked its staid image by allowing same-sex marriages.