Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.
Eastern and Central Iowa — 3 Days
Dyersville, Mason City, Clear Lake, Madison County
Day 1: Dyersville: Field of Dreams / Mason City: The Music Man
In Dyersville, your guests can tour the baseball field and home used in The Field of Dreams. During the thirty-minute guided tour, you will hear stories about the home from its early days as the Lansing family homestead in the early 20th century, to its rebirth as the set for the Kinsella family in the 1989 movie. Guided tours for groups of 20 or more are $4 per person or $100 minimum. Ghost Sunday shows are a 90-minute, family-friendly comedy routine at the movie site which take place at 1:00 pm every other Sunday from Independence Day weekend through August. Contact the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce for more information.
Watch The Music Man on the motorcoach compliments of Visit Mason City.
The Music Man Square features an indoor 1912 streetscape with an ice cream parlor and gift shop, all in set designs recreated from the Warner Bros. motion picture The Music Man. There’s also an interactive museum highlighting Meredith Willson memorabilia and music-related exhibits and exploratorium. Plus, visit the restored 1895 modified Queen Anne house that was Meredith Willson’s birthplace and boyhood home.
Group Admission Rate: (Cost includes both The Music Man Square and Meredith Willson’s Boyhood Home) $10 adults, $5 students; complimentary admission for driver & escort for groups of 25 or more. Motorcoach groups can enjoy an ice cream treat at the ice cream parlor located in the facility.
Add-On Option: If your schedule allows, add in a stop at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum where you can view the puppet collection of renowned puppeteer and Mason City native, Bil Baird, including his most famous puppets from the movie The Sound of Music.
The Decker House Bed & Breakfast in Mason City offers private group lunches and dinners in their beautifully restored 1890s home. Or splurge on a meal at the 1910 Grille’ located within the Historic Park Inn, the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built hotel in the world.
Day 2: Clear Lake: The Buddy Holly Story, La Bamba / Winterset: John Wayne
To many, the Surf Ballroom & Museum is an American cultural icon as well as an important historical landmark. There are few buildings in existence today that represent a complete shift in our musical history. As the last concert venue for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, the Surf is the bedrock of where the sound and attitude of rock and roll changed forever. Tour planners should plan on an approximate 90-minute stop when visiting the Surf Ballroom. The standard group tour consists of a video presentation, guided tour, designated volunteer/staff person to assist group and free time to peruse gift shop and other areas of the ballroom. Guided tours are available for $8.00/person. (All bus drivers and tour directors receive complimentary admission.) The memorial site is less than five miles from the Surf Ballroom and directions are available at the museum or online. To learn more about what Clear Lake has to offer, visit the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB.
Drive 2 & ½ hours to Madison County. Watch The Bridges of Madison County on the motorcoach, compliments of The Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
Arrive in the afternoon in Winterset, Iowa, the birthplace home of John Wayne. The John Wayne Birthplace & Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the Hollywood legend, and recently won the Iowa Tourism Award for Outstanding Attraction. Be sure to pose with the full-size John Wayne bronze statue out front. Groups of 20 or more pay just $10.00 per person.
Enjoy dinner at the Northside Café. Recently named one of “99 Restaurants to Try”, and voted 2nd Best Tenderloin in the state, the Northside Cafe has become a bit of an institution in Winterset. A scene was even filmed here in the movie The Bridges of Madison County.
After dinner, take in a movie at the Iowa Theater or schedule a special behind-the-scenes tour offered just for groups. Your guests can learn about the theater’s history, extensive renovations and watch an exclusive sizzle reel of movies made in and about Iowa, while enjoying a small popcorn and soda.
Day 3: Madison County: The Bridges of Madison County
Begin the day at Madison County Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center, located at 73 Jefferson Street in Winterset’s town square, where you will meet your step-on tour guide. Your guests are welcome to use the restrooms, shop for souvenirs and locally-made products, and help themselves to complimentary hot coffee and bottled water. Enjoy a two-hour guided covered bridge tour, including the Roseman Covered Bridge and other movie sites from The Bridges of Madison County. The tour is $10.00/per person (up to 29 passengers) or $8.00 per person (30-50 passengers).