Iowa weekend: the oldest ice cream parlor/soda fountain in the world

Over Labor Day weekend The Rapid Traveler and Mrs. visited his brother in Iowa City, Iowa, Hawkeye country. Not the jet-setting destination that gets press, but a great joy of US travel is seeking out traditional gems among the strip mall, chain store monotony. Before any US trip The Rapid Traveler checks Road Food for authentic culinary pleasures, often mom and pop, never expensive. Just a quick stop off I-80 between Quad City Airport (MLI) and Iowa City is the Wilton Candy Kitchen (Road Food entry), founded in 1860 and run since 1910 by the Nopoulos family. George and Thelma have been working the parlor since their teens and still wise-cracking in their 90s and 80s, respectively.

Iowa 010Anyone wanting their children or grandchildren to taste a real cherry coke will find nostalgic delight. The Rapid Traveler tried a hadacol, root beer and vanilla soda. Mrs. went for the cream de mint sundae with George’s homemade ice cream.

For history buffs, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is a little farther along I-80. The museum is engaging, the preserved buildings including his birth house interesting, and the tranquil park has picnic facilities.

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