A day in Des Moines!

Yesterday morning, in Des Moines, Becky and I decided a visit to the State Capitol building was in order; it proved to be a wonderful idea. We spent a couple of hours enjoying the sights of this grand old building, belatedly joining a guided tour, which was great.Iowa - State Capitol building

Completed in 1886, the outside of the Capitol building is spectacular – with wonderful Renaissance style architecture. The most striking feature being the golden dome crowning the building. And, yes, it is real gold. The 23-carat gold leaf covering the dome is the thickness of a human hair and costs more than $400,000 every 20 or so years to replace (predominately labour costs).

Decorative door hinge

A decorative door hinge

Inside the building is just as spectacular, if not more so. There is a lot to see in this building – great art works – paintings, mosaics, sculptures and other points of interest. Even the floor tiles, marble wall trims, brass door hinges and air vents are works of art.

Some of the lovely floor tiles at the Capitol building

Some of the lovely floor tiles at the Capitol building

It is marvellous to stand underneath the rotunda and look straight up at the inside of the dome!

I took this photo actually lying on the floor underneath the dome!

I took this photo actually lying on the floor underneath the dome!

You are also able to access the upper level of the dome with a tour guide – it’s a great view from up there!

The marble and granite grand staircase leads visitors to the second floor where you can view the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate (exhibiting original paintwork and the original chandeliers).

The Senate

The Senate

However my favourite feature was the library (all law books) – I could have spent hours there just absorbing the atmosphere!

Oh, The Library!

Oh, The Library!

After our tour we had a lovely lunch at the Scenic Route Bakery located in the very pretty (and fashionable) historic area of the East Village.

Becky then had to go and work – so I went for a look at the Des Moines Botanical Gardens.

Des Moines Botanical Gardens

Des Moines Botanical Gardens

Now these gardens are not huge (about 1 to 1.5hrs will see you cover it), but the water gardens were very nice. It was also a great place to practice some photography!

Pretty Gardens!

Pretty Gardens!

Water Lilies at the Gardnes

Water Lilies at the Gardens

Pretty Flowers!

Pretty Flowers!

Water Gardens

Water Gardens

Des Moines was a great place to visit (even if only for a couple of days) and if you get a chance to go to the Iowa State Fair – don’t miss it! 🙂

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Des Moines and Iowa

So, I just got back from some time spent in Des Moines – capital of Iowa and thought I might share some of my experiences and tell you all about Des Moines! It’s a nice city, by the way and what I immediately noticed about Iowa was – there are lots of corn fields Corn field– and it is much greener than Texas.

My friend Becky Goldsmith (quilter extraordinaire) had a working gig in Des Moines doing some teaching, a book signing and attending a quilters guild meeting for a few days and she let me tag along with her. When she wasn’t working we shared some sightseeing, and when she was – I did some exploring on my own.

Together we went to the Iowa State Fair on Saturday afternoon – and had a great time.

Crowds at the State Fair

Crowds at the State Fair

On Sunday afternoon, whilst Becky was teaching, I explored Des Moines city. I looked around the Capitol building (being a Sunday it wasn’t opened – so just looked from the outside), looked at a few of the other monuments

Shattering Silence Sculpture

Shattering Silence Sculpture

and drove around exploring downtown and the river area. I was grateful to see and experience another American city.

One of the main streets in downtown Des Moines

One of the main streets in downtown Des Moines

One of the many bridges crossing the river

One of the many bridges crossing the river

Some great art work on the side of a building

Some great art work on the side of a building

A delightful garden in the middle of the city

A delightful garden in the middle of the city

Monday saw us both touring the Capitol building and then later in the afternoon, I explored the Des Moines Botanical Gardens on my own. See my next post for more on this!

About Des Moines

  • Des Moines is the capital city of the state of Iowa in the US.
  • It is the county seat of Polk County
  • Named after the Des Moines River (which is probably an adaption of the French Riviere des Moines, meaning “River of the Monks”
  • The metro area of Des Moines has a population of around 271,000.

and Iowa:

  • It is known as “the Hawkeye State”
  • It became the 29th state of the Union in December 1846.
  • Motto: “Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain”
  • Bird: the Eastern Goldfinch
  • Tree: Oak
  • Flower: Wild Rose
  • Rock: Geodes
  • Some noteworthy products of Iowa: Actors John Wayne, Elijah Wood and Ashton Kutcher, TV host Johnny Carson, musician Glenn Miller, singer Andy Williams, president Herbert Hoover and the American Pickers (Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz).

Anyway – Go and see Iowa and Des Moines if ever you get the chance! 🙂