Tour West Central Iowa


Tour Iowa

A monthly travel itinerary that highlights new, classic and just plain different Iowa destinations

When we saw this group tour itinerary from the Manning Hausbarn-Heritage Park, we knew we had to share it with you.  West central Iowa has been the home to unique sites revolving around politics, Prohibition, preservation and, well, poop.  For the politics, you can learn about the 1959 visit from a Soviet leader.  For Prohibition, visit a distillery that uses a recipe that was used to make illegal rye whiskey during the 1920s..  Learn about the preservation of the past at the German Hausbarn in Manning. And tour a state-of-the-art manure manufacturing site located in the heart of Western Iowa.  Each location has an unusual story to tell, making a memorable Iowa tour.     &nbs p;

For assistance in booking this itinerary, contact Freda Dammann from the Manning Hausbarn – Heritage Park at 712.655.3131 or

This itinerary features:

• Whiterock Conservancy
• Templeton Rye Distillery
• Santa Maria Winery and Vineyard
• German Hausbarn
• Puck Custom Enterprises

This is just a sampling of activities in Iowa.   To learn more about Iowa’s opportunities, contact Colleen Murphy at 515.725.3089 or

Spend your morning at Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids.  The Whiterock Conservancy was once known as the Garst Farm, which hosted a 1959 visit from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and your group can listen to a talk about the Khrushchev v isit and the relationship between an Iowa farm family and the Soviet l eader.  Now the beautiful land surrounding the farm is preserved and open for visitors to enjoy.  They offer many activities like nature tours, environmental programs, farm/seed/plant tours, hayrack rides, bird watching, fishing and more.

Lunch Suggestion:  Following your tour, enjoy a delicious lunch at the Whiterock Conservancy with side dishes that have been on the Des Moines Register’s list of “100 Iowa Foods to Eat Before you Die”.

Whiterock Conservancy
1390 Highway 141, Coon Rapids

After lunch, a short trip to Templeton will take you back in time to the 1920s, when Prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.  Many enterprising residents of this small town chose to become outlaws by producing the much sought-after whiskey known as Templeton Rye.  The infa mous whiskey is even said to have been Al Capone’s whiskey of choice and was distributed to speakeasies in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

Today visitors can learn more about “the good stuff” at the Templeton Rye Distillery.  The famous whiskey is produced from the original Prohibition-era recipe and aged in charred new oak barrels.  Guests can see the fermentation, distillation and bottling process.  Tours also include a walk through the production area, barrel warehouse, bottling line and tasting room.  Guests may have the opportunity to sit with the Templeton Rye team and help label a few bottles.

Templeton Rye Distillery
209 E. 3rd Street, Templeton

Travel to Carroll and enjoy a little time shopping before checking in at an area hotel.  Explore gift sho ps and greenhouses like Enchanted Gardens, home décor shops lik e Room Service or vintage shops like Little Brown Store.

Carroll Chamber of Commerce
407 West 5th St., Carroll

Enjoy dinner at Santa Maria Vineyard and Winery.  The winery is located on the historic Lincoln Highway in a vintage building that once housed a car dealership and has been transformed into a winery and restaurant.  This eatery was ranked as one of the top 10 places to eat in the Midwest by Midwest Living Magazine.  Guests can pair a wood-fired pizza or delectable pastas with one of more than 10 award-winning wines.

Santa Maria Vineyard and Winery
218 West 6th Street, Carroll

Overnight in Carroll.

Travel to nearby Manning to see the preserved German Hausbarn.  Bui lt in 1660 in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and reconstructed in Manning in 1999, the museum-quality architecture of the thatched-roof barn intrigues visitors with its depiction of an era when farm animals and families shared living quarters.  Visitors will also enjoy a 1917 farmstead on the National Register of Historic Places, and a century-old church.  Before taking time to tour the community’s Bavarian-themed storefronts and brick Main Street, groups can enjoy a special German themed lunch.

Manning Hausbarn – Heritage Park
12196 311th Street, Manning

Next travel south to Puck Custom Enterprises, a master manure haulers’ operation.  From its start as a small company servicing hog operations, it has grown into an innovative, creative, and successful business known nationally and internationally. Have no fear!  There is no smell at this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and tours are available for prearranged groups.

Tour arrangements must be made through Manning Hausbarn-Heritage Park.

Depart for home.