Beautiful Rest Stop Areas in Iowa ~ Amazing Harvest Theme Sculpture Artwork

Sculptures at the Wilton Rest Area & Welcome Center in Iowa

Sculptures by artist Tom Stancliffe at the Wilton Rest Area & Welcome Center in Iowa
Sculptures by artist Tom Stancliffe at the Wilton Rest Area & Welcome Center in Iowa | Source

Original Art Showcased at Iowa Rest Stops

There are probably some beautiful rest stops in other parts of the United States, but I can truthfully say that those along the Interstate highways in Iowa are some of the prettiest ones that I have ever seen.

They put the ones of which I am familiar in Texas to shame. As the old saying goes..."Everything is bigger and better in Texas."

Well...not so with regard to rest areas from my personal experience.


18 Million Drivers Visit Iowa Rest Areas

Rest Stops


Rest stops are important as people travel across the country for many reasons. In addition to being able to use the toilet facilities, often it is just nice to be able to pull off the road in a safe lighted area and stretch one's legs and get a little exercise.

Most rest stops have designated areas where truck drivers who do long distance hauling of supplies can park for a while and even take necessary sleep breaks.

In larger welcome centers, personnel may be on hand twenty-four hours a day to suggest tourist information for vacationers to their state who may be unfamiliar with what can be seen and enjoyed. Often there are maps and brochures which can be acquired.

Weather and road conditions can be accessed and they are kept updated frequently for traveler's convenience and safety concerns.

Vending machines are available in which travelers can find various forms of food and drinks.

And of course, picnic areas are most often provided...often with covers over them in case of inclement weather conditions.


Close-up photo of the corn topped sculpture

Close-up photo of the corn topped sculpture by Iowa artist Tom Stancliffe.
Close-up photo of the corn topped sculpture by Iowa artist Tom Stancliffe. | Source

Corn Corn Corn and More Corn in Iowa

Iowa Rest Stops


Okay...you might be thinking...our area has all of what was just mentioned. So what makes the Iowa rest stops unique?

It is the artwork!

The photos of the artwork featured in this post were taken at the Wilton Rest Area and Welcome Center between Davenport and Iowa City off of Interstate 80.

I took these photos long before I had ever thought of writing posts or blogs so they are limited to just these three pictures. If I were to ever travel in that part of the country again and stop at this particular rest stop and others, I would be sure to take many more photos!

My mother who was traveling with me was equally impressed with these ten stainless steel columns each topped with a different bronze form representing different aspects found in the State of Iowa.

The artist Tom Stancliffe who hails from that fair state created each of these plus one inside the building as well.

Who doesn't associate corn and Iowa? I think that when most people think of Iowa they also think of that crop and for good reason. Iowa is first in corn and also soybean production compared to all of the other 49 states in the U.S.

Source

Close up photo of the pig topped sculpture

Close up photo of the pig topped sculpture by Iowa artist Tom Stancliffe.
Close up photo of the pig topped sculpture by Iowa artist Tom Stancliffe. | Source

Iowa Pig Video

Pigs


Iowa also has more than its fair share of pigs.

As a matter of fact, more pork is produced in the State of Iowa than any other state in America accounting for about 40,000 jobs annually and billions of dollars to the state's economy.

Around twenty million pigs are raised annually.

Thus it is very appropriate that this pig sculpture was included as an example of things frequently seen in Iowa.


The other stainless steel columns were topped with the following art representations all of which can be found in Iowa:

  • Acorn
  • Prairie Grasses
  • Fish
  • Book
  • Cone Flower
  • Tractor Tire Track
  • Plow Shares
  • Bursting Seed Pod



Includes lyrics..."the corn is as high as an elephant's eye"...

Have you stopped at some of these beautiful Iowa rest stops?

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Another beautiful Iowa Rest Stop somewhere between Bettendorf, Iowa and on our way to Peoria, Illinois.

Another beautiful Iowa Rest Stop somewhere between Bettendorf, Iowa and on our way to Peoria, Illinois.
Another beautiful Iowa Rest Stop somewhere between Bettendorf, Iowa and on our way to Peoria, Illinois. | Source
After crossing the covered bridge one can climb up a tower to get an overview of the area.  Great rest stop in which to get a little exercise!
After crossing the covered bridge one can climb up a tower to get an overview of the area. Great rest stop in which to get a little exercise! | Source

In addition to the Harvest Theme Artwork seen at the Wilton Rest Area, other rest areas in Iowa have some of the following themes:


  • Pioneer Theme
  • Underground Railroad Theme
  • Educational Theme
  • Agriculture - Henry Wallace Theme
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition Theme
  • Mississippi River Theme


These and more rest stops are artistically created with the use of not only sculptures but mosaic tiles and other artwork making them not only utilitarian but also aesthetically pleasing to visitors who stop and use them.


The State of Iowa continues to demolish the older rest stops and as they build new replacements, art and artistic design is pushed to the forefront. What a wonderful image that creates for the state and how very nice for travelers who stop to use the facilities!



So if you find yourself traveling through the State of Iowa, be sure and check out some of these beautiful rest stop areas. I think that you will be amazed at what you find there!

"The Song of Iowa"

Location of the State of Iowa in the USA

A markerIowa -
Iowa, USA
[get directions]

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5 out of 5 stars from 7 ratings of Rest Stops in Iowa

© 2011 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 38 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 12 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

I still have relatives that live in Iowa as well as Illinois and Wisconsin. The Midwest is such a beautiful place to live when those fall leaves start turning. Your sister won't have too long a time to wait to see that annual spectacle! They really do have gorgeous rest stop areas in Iowa! As to the temps...we are enjoying cooler temps down here also. Nice time of year! Thanks for the share.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 12 months ago from North Texas

Leaves should be turning in Iowa soon and that would make a trip through that state pretty spectacular along with the interesting rest-stop art you talk about in this excellent article. My sister in the Wausau WI area says their trees haven't even started to turn yet as of last Saturday. We are getting some cooler temps here in N. Texas at last! Sharing this again.

Hope all is well with you . . .


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

So happy that you liked this hub enough to share. Thanks!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Came back to pin this to my 'Travel' board because I think this explains another benefit to traveling in Iowa. Also sharing again with my followers.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello LKMore01,

Your comment is so true...that " It's not all about the destination but enjoying the journey." Sometimes it is the little things along the way that make for some great impressions. I'll admit that writing about Iowa rest stops is probably a bit out of the norm. Ha! Glad that you liked it. :)


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