GLENWOOD, Iowa, U.S.A. – Surrounded by the rolling Loess Hills and famous for its homecomings is my hometown, Glenwood, Iowa.
Few people are familiar with the state of Iowa itself and even fewer with the small town of Glenwood.
When first entering Glenwood from the highway, the average traveler seeing a few fast-food restaurants and maybe a gas station might not drive much further.
But in order to experience what the 5,000 people who live here can truly offer, a traveler has to drive through the main street and into the square. Here, you can find just about whatever you might be looking for.
We have a yoga studio run by a single woman that embraces beautiful qualities within people and leaves them with long-lasting results and memories of laughter.
The yoga studio is above a chiropractor’s office that is next to a small coffee shop. Next door is a flower business that lures the eyes.
But you’d also find Doodles, a place to chow down and draw on the tables at the same time. And “The Grill,” the place to go for sports and wings. A person continuing on their way around the street will find their regular stops: post offices, banks, town offices.
You would find the go-to designer for jerseys and Glenwood-supporting t-shirts. Glenwood’s square even has several hair salons, a winery with outdoor seating in the summer and a Chinese restaurant.
These are only a few of the businesses in town, and don’t include the ones off the square offering even more interesting services and food.
Many Glenwood natives have left town, for different reasons, only to find it is difficult to call another place home.
While small, my hometown can be found bustling with projects until it gets too cold to spend a lot of time outside. Small musicians and bands play at the amphitheater on warm, humid summer nights.
To encourage kids to be enthused about family activities, there are scavenger hunts for the entire-town and prizes awarded at the end.
Even RAGBRAI, a massive annual bike ride across Iowa that attracts thousands in the middle of July, has begun in my little town.
Alas, while it is a town to be proud of, and – with its schools and fun activities – an ideal place for a family to settle down, it’s not for everyone.
After longing for open roads and cities that offer different opportunities, I can say that anyone with a traveling yen or a desire to experience a variety of people, sights, and foods will only enjoy passing through.
Garret Reich is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.