There seems to be a popular new buzzword getting a lot of use these days–a “stay-cation”–where you vacation close to home. The concept isn’t really new, I’ve always enjoyed exploring my own town, county, state, etc. As a former Museum Curator and later director, it was part of my job to advocate “looking in your own backyard” for fun things to do, meaning visiting your own local tourist destinations; museums, zoos, parks, etc… But as a museum employee, I also knew MANY people, if not MOST people do not visit the attractions that are close by.
Two weeks ago, I was looking into a place I’d heard about (while in Minnesota in May) called the Wallace Centers of Iowa. It’s named for Henry A. Wallace, a native son that served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the 1930s, U.S. Vice President (during WWII) and Secretary of Commerce following the war. He also is the founder of Pioneer Hi-Bred, now an international agri-business giant. The Country Life Center of the Wallace Centers of Iowa is located on the birthplace of Henry Wallace, near Orient, IA. It’s is approximately 50 miles from where I live, but I’d never even heard of it before May 2011. When I looked into the website two weeks ago, I saw that they were having a Garden of Quilts show the following Tuesday. I said “Sweetie, we’re taking a road trip after work on Tuesday–keep your calendar clear!”
Also inside the barn is a mural painted by Iowa artist Ray Sorensen, commemorating Henry Wallace and his contributions to American Agriculture. The pansies and strawberries, though much larger than life, looked good enough to pluck off the wall!
The mural also includes a portrait of Henry A. Wallace, and this quotation “If I were to draw conclusions from my life so far, I would say that the purpose of existence here on earth is to improve the quality and abundance of joyous living.”
There were art quilts, this is Piqued Peacocks by Cinda Long…
A small modern quilt by Cinda…
This one was titled Bora Bora:
But my favroite of all was this bright beauty hanging over the railing outside the entrance to the barn cafe:
This is a Lakota Star quilt pattern, made entrirely of bright solids. Stunning. Naturally I had to get closer…
And as I did, I noticed someone else admiring the quilt “closer up”!
So, do yourself a favor, look around and see what’s in your backyard, or just down yonder, that you might be misisng out on. Because, as Henry A Wallace said, “the purpose of [our] existence here on earth is to improve the quality and abundance of joyous living.”