Mt Vernon, IA is the 5th mural in my #50in50project ; the mural itself is located on the Cornell College campus. This piece was completed July 2022 & was a chance opportunity that occurred when another mural location ended up rescheduling last minute.
But enough about the project. Let's talk about why you should plan a visit to Mt Vernon .. ....Iowa?
If you love vacations that include downtown shopping, quiet restaurants, outdoor recreation, and historic landmarks. Mt Vernon is for you. Between the walkable downtown shopping and good coffee (check out Fuel - trust me) you are bound to have a peaceful weekend getaway! Not to mention the best antique store I've been in - to date. Polly Ann's featured above. Rest & Relaxation is not hard to find in Small Town America. One drive through Iowa backroads at sunset with the windows down will confirm that for you. Not to mention a change in landscape if you are from the east or west coast!
If you are anything like me and had never actually been to Iowa(before this trip). Here are some fun facts: Iowa is home to the world's largest strawberry, we have Iowa to thank for sliced bread, there are more hogs chilling in Iowa than people, and Iowa is home to the incredible bike festival Ragbrai - where you can bike and drink your way across the entire state with about 8,000 other humans! Mt Vernon, IA is home to the Chalk the Walk festival and if you are looking to have fun - you should plan your stay around it! I will be visiting for 2023 or 2024 myself!
Iowa is a hidden gem, that I am grateful to have discovered, but Mt Vernon is one of the coolest small towns I've ever been to. Between the Cornell College Public Libray - Cole Library , the historic Kings Chapel, and the recognizable American Gothic Barn. The free-to-visit sites are plentiful...you heard me right, FREE. & as a hobby - photographer myself these locations lend themselves to inspirtion!
That leads me into the selling point for you. Affordability. Let's hear some numbers. Iowa ranks 8th in the country for cheapest gas prices (avg/year-round $3/gal), food in Mt Vernon cost us about $10/person at sit-down restaurants, and finding gifts and unique items while shopping downtown was easily done on a budget of $20-$30 for the trip! If you stay for a night at theBlyth Cottage Inn (where I stayed & would recommend) depending on availability and time of year you would be paying around $97 a night. & that's for an unforgettable experience! If you book a few weeks in advance, you can easily find a stay for $90/night or under on sites like Airbnb & Expedia. If you are into the outdoors and enjoy camping Palisades State Park is your best option. You can stay with full hook-ups for under $20/night or at a cabin for $50-$80/night. I am a little partial to mother nature myself...
Mt Vernon comes alive during Cornell's school-year with students from all around the world. Their campus is a short 0.6mi walk from downtown, the local laundromat, bank, coffee shops, and restaurants. From local parades, Farm Events, and hot air balloons.... You a destined to have a memorable trip.
If you a sucker for road trips to new places, surprising adventures, and friendly small towns Mt Vernon, IA is for you! Mark it on your map here: Mt Vernon Iowa