Many states have communal societies existing over a number of years in different forms. Some of these communities share food, crafts, and other products, history and entertainment with the public, while operating a variety of businesses. So it is with the Amana Colonies in Amana, Iowa. The history of these villages begins in 1714 and continues today. It is one of America’s longest existing communal societies. Here visitors can find good food, lodging, history, theater, golf, arts and crafts and more.
Highlights of a quick visit to one of the several villages this past weekend may well have you thinking about a trip to the Amanas. We drove through the scenic Iowa River valley on a sunny Indian summer day. This is the area where along with various businesses, the Amana Society farms land, and maintains the largest private forest reserve in Iowa.
You will not be surprised to learn that first Jerry and I had lunch, sampling German food at the Ronneburg Restaurant. The Amanas are known for traditional German and American food. At this restaurant cooking is done in an original communal kitchen. Jerry’s piece of rhubarb pie disappeared so fast, I missed the photo op.
The general store is a sandstone and frame building built in 1856 with an addition erected in 1890. It held so many attractive and interesting items, I couldn’t decide what to buy.
I wish I had bought a cookbook.
We also checked out the bakery, jams and jellies and other shops, though we left some for our next visit.
The Amana Colonies are located just north of I80 west of Iowa City. Check out their website at www.amanacolonies.com. Our quick stop only scratched the surface of this amazing place. I missed the woolen mills, the bookstore, browsing antiques, the winery and much more.