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ROAD TRIPPIN': Downtown Kalona

Downtown Kalona

Just a short drive from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Kalona can be easy to miss. However, if you take the time to slow down and explore the shops that line their downtown streets, Kalona could be called a collector’s paradise where you’ll need some dedication to see it all. “You'd have to have at least a day a couple days, a nice weekend a trip here or overnight trip is great,” says Brenda Herington, Owner of the Kalona Antique Company. She knows everyone that walks through her shop is looking for something a little different. “We like to find the unusual and bring them in, so we have a lot of people find treasures,” she says. From memorabilia to that perfect piece of furniture, you never know what you can uncover until you take a look. “Those of us that are older collectors, we like the history, the information the family things,” says Herington. “The younger people, they're looking for that fun unique piece to stand out in their house,” she adds.

Once you peruse the shops to your hearts content, you can stroll over to the sweetest corner in town. Kalona Chocolates is a family shop with all the classic candies from truffles to salted chocolate caramels; all made by hand. “I'm a little old-fashioned,” says Lyndon Hershberger, who owns the store with his wife Mattie. “I still like our almond clusters and our peanut clusters.” On the weekends guests can enjoy the shops latest addition, the Chocolate Café, serving up specialties from chocolate fondue, to a homemade hot chocolate float. “It's really just about creating that sort of immersive experience for chocolate lovers,” says Krista Hershberger, who manages the store.

Once you satisfy your sweet tooth you can find fabulous food on the mixed menu of local eateries. One popular stop is the Kalona Brewing Company. “We have a wonderful restaurant with Chef Ben and what he's done with the menus, rotating, circulating menus he'll change it up quarterly,” says Warren Yoder, Head Brewer. There are more than a dozen beers made on site and Yoder is confident they've got a brew for you or they will keep working to create one. “We try to make beers that are drinkable to every person you know? If there’s a person that can't find a beer they enjoy here, well, we will try,” he says. Many people have already found a beer they love here and they are willing to travel to taste it at the source. “I love it on the weekends where I will meet people from the Quad Cities, Des Moines, Texas! Exclaims Yoder. “During the State Fair we had a couple come down from Montana,” he continues. The couple tried their beer at the fair’s craft beer tent had to drive out of their way to hit the brewery before returning to Montana. If you are traveling and want to make Kalona Brewing a part of you weekend plans don't hesitate to let them know. “Call ahead for a reservation because once the mid-afternoon hits there's a wait normally,” says Yoder. Whether you’re looking for a drink, a dessert or antique treasure, Downtown Kalona is likely has something for you.

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