101 Trip Ideas: In America's Dutch Village

In the mid-1800s, a group of Dutch immigrants settled in Pella. More than a century-and-a-half later, Dutch culture permeates the largest community in the Red Rock Area.  Why go to Europe when you can experience European culture right here in Iowa?  Don’t forget to take home some of those great Dutch treats.

Walk through Wyatt Earp's Boyhood Home

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On your visit to the Pella Historical Village and Vermeer Mill in downtown Pella, make sure to take the time to walk through the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp which is included in the village.  This legendary lawman of the west spent his formative years farming near Pella.  You can almost hear the spurs clicking along the wooden floors of the home.

Bucket List Must Do: Dutch Style

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You can't come and not experience the tallest working windmill in the US.  It is just one of those bucket list things to see.  The upper part of the windmill was built in the Netherlands and features amazing workings in one of the earliest wind applications.  Talk to the millers to learn about what it takes to operate the mill and why these windmills were so important in the Netherlands.  The windmill tour is part of your admission to the entire Pella Historical Village.

Our Letters Taste Amazing

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In downtown Pella on Franklin Street, you will find two bakeries famous for their Dutch letters.  You won't find these type of letters in an envelop, no these flaky pasteries come filled with almond paste.  At Tulip Time, over 60,000 of these Dutch treats are sold at the local bakeries.  But, you can stop by anytime to enjoy them.  HINT:  You may find a couple other goodies that are amazing also!

The Making of a Tulip Queen

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Late each fall, the town of Pella is busy identifying the upcoming year's Tulip Queen through nominations and voting.  Once the final candidates are selected, there is a great evening event where young girls via for the crown present, interview and perform.  It makes a great evening out for a girlfriend group or for a mother/daughter time.  

Love Our Tulips?

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Plant them in your backyard also!  Bulbs may be ordered through the Pella Garden Club or purchased at the flower show during Tulip Time in May.  A bulb order form can be downloaded at www.pellatuliptime.com or by calling 641.628.4311.  All orders are due in early June and will be shipped to you in October.

To ensure the longest blooming season possible, Pella plants several tulip varieties that are early, mid and late blooming.  The average blooming season for our tulips is April 15 to May 15. (This will vary with weather conditions such as temperatures and amount of rain.)

Ring Those Bells

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The Klokkenspel, located on Franklin Street in Pella, was dedicated in 1985 for the 50th anniversary of Tulip Time.  On the street side the figures tell of Pella's early history while on the mall side viewers see a series of popular Tulip Time figures.  Music comes from the 147-bell carillon.  The five bronze bells at the top of the Klokkenspel were cast in the Netherlands.  You can enjoy the performance of the Klokkenspel at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. daily.

What's in a Name?

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In the late 1840's a group of Hollanders settled in what is today Pella.  Today, many of the streets, businesses and family names can be traced back to those early settlers.  Not all Dutch surnames begin with "Van" but you will find several hundred of those in a Pella phone book.  Locals are happy to help you with pronuciations, so it is a great way to start a conversation.

Grand Home on the Prairie

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The Scholte House is just a few blocks from the Vermeer Mill & Historical Village on the north side of the downtown square.  This is a grand 28-room house of Pella’s founder, Dominie Scholte.  Scholte was a great visionary of his day, while his elegant wife, Mareah, found life on the prairie to be challenging.  Their stories put very interesting light on the events of their days.  

Dutch Architecture Stroll

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Food isn’t the only experience in downtown Pella, the true Dutch feel is created by the entire town’s Dutch architectural influences.  The details on downtown storefronts are applied to roof lines and several buildings are adorn with Hindeloopen style embellishments.  So, as you are strolling through downtown be sure to look up and enjoy the great architecture. 

Find Your Way

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To find out what is going on in town while you are visiting, stop at the information windmill located at the intersection of Main Street and Franklin Street in downtown Pella or visit the Pella Welcome Center which is located at 818 Washington Street.  While at the information windmill downtown, make sure to snap a shot with your friends or family with the “big” yellow wooden shoes which can be found just outside the information windmill.  This makes a great photo for your Christmas card and is especially cute when kids put their tiny feet inside the big shoes.

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