Hollywood in the Heartland
Iowa: Legends of the Big Screen
4 Days | Spring | Summer | Fall
Starting At $Flexible Pricing
Come visit Iowa sites significant to silver screen and music recording icons: Buddy Holly, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Miller. It all happened in the Heartland.
U S Tours Flexible Pricing:
- Customizable Comps
- Net Rates
- Luxury or First Class Hotels & Meals
- Motorcoach Transportation & Professional Tour Managers are available
Whatever you want, U S Tours will be happy to structure tour prices to match your needs. Just let us know!
Day 1 – The Field of Dreams – The Music Man – Mason City, IA
Arrive in Dyersville, IA and visit the Field of Dreams Movie Site. Released in 1989, this movie has inspired millions and became an Academy Award nominee for “Best Picture of the Year.” Hear stories about the home from its early days as the Lansing family homestead in the early 20th century to its rebirth as the set for the Kinsella family in the 1989 fantasy classic. Just like playing on the baseball field, touring the farm house will take you back in time and place… like you’re a cast member in the film!
Travel this afternoon to Mason City, IA, home of “The Music Man,” Meredith Willson. Included in your package is a DVD copy of “The Music Man” which you can watch on the way to Mason City. As irresistible as fireworks on the Fourth of July, “The Music Man” is the big-screen version of one of Broadway’s most successful musicals ever. With its incomparable cast and an award-winning score, “The Music Man” tells the story of con artist Harold Hill, who sets out to scam a small Midwest town but ends up learning a lesson in love and morality instead.
On arrival in Mason City, IA visit Music Man Square. It features a 1912 streetscape with an ice cream parlor/soda fountain and gift shop, all in set designs from the Warner Brothers motion picture of “The Music Man.” There’s also an interactive museum highlighting Meredith Willson’s memorabilia and music-related exhibits. You will also visit Meredith Willson’s Boyhood Home. This restored 1895 modified Queen Ann house was the birthplace and boyhood home of songwriter and playwright of “The Music Man,” Meredith Willson.
Then check into your Mason City, IA hotel for the night. Dinner is included this evening at the Decker House Bed & Breakfast, a beautifully restored 1890s home. (D)
Day 2 – “World of Puppets” – The Surf Ballroom & Museum – Des Moines
This morning you stop at the Charlest H MacNider Art Museum to see Bil Baird’s “World of Puppets.” Journey into the imaginary world of master puppeteer Bil Baird, who grew up in Mason City. Many marionettes from famous productions are included, as well as puppets Baird collected from around the world, including his most famous puppets from the moive “The Sound of Music.” Films and videos produced by Baird are available for viewing with this tour.
Next you head to Clear Lake, IA to visit the Surf Ballroom & Museum. To many, the Surf Ballroom is an American cultural icon as well as an important historical landmark. The fully restored Surf Ballroom holds a place in music history as the final concert site of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. ”The Big Bopper’ Richardson.
You also stop at the Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & Big Bopper Crash Site Memorial, located just five miles from the Surf Ballroom.
Then travel to Des Moines, IA. Along the way, watch “The Bridges of Madison County”, dvd included with your tour package. World-traveling National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid and Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson aren’t looking to turn their lives upside down. Each is at a point in life where expectations are behind them. Yet four days after they meet, they don’t want to lose the love they’ve found. Academy Award winners* Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood (earning her 10th Oscar nomination for her work here) and Clint Eastwood (who also produces and directs) bring blazing starpower and powerful conviction to the lovers chronicled in Robert James Waller’s rhapsodic bestseller.
Stop in Urbandale, IA and visit the Living History Farms. It is an interactive, 500-acre outdoor museum that tells the amazing story of how Iowans transformed the fertile prairies of the Midwest over 300 years into the most productive farmland in the world. Touch, play and engage at the working farm sites: 1700 Ioway Indian Farm; 1850 Pioneer Farm; and 1900 Horse-Powered Farm — and in the 1875 Town of Walnut Hill complete with a Blacksmith, General Store, Print Shop and Flynn Mansion and Barn, which are both on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dinner this evening is included at the Machine Shed, honoring the American farmers; the restaurant is located at the entrance of Living History Farms. Enjoy farm to table food at its finest.
Then continue to Des Moines, IA where you will be staying for the next two nights. (B,D)
Day 3 – Bridges of Madison County Tour – John Wayne
The morning features sightseeing with a guided Bridges of Madison County Tour. Madison County is the Covered Bridge Capital of Iowa, with the largest group of covered bridges that exists in one area in the western half of the Mississippi Valley. Your tour will cover the construction and history of the bridges, the movie production of “the Bridges of Madison County” starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep and a variety of local historical information.
The afternoon of Cinema excitement doesn’t end there however, as you also see John Wayne’s Birthplace and Museum. His modest home in Winterset has been restored to its 1907 appearance with authentic furnishings, and features memorabilia such as the eyepatch worn in True Grit.
Returning to Des Moines, dinner is included this evening at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 4 – Depart for Home
After breakfast, depart for home. (B)