East Central Iowa · Family Adventures

Where Town & Country Meet-Your Next Independence Day Destination

Its the 4th of July weekend and Team Goodvin stays close to The Iowa Gallivant's company headquarters in southern Johnson County and home of the area's best 4th of July celebration. Hills, Iowa!
It’s the 4th of July weekend and Team Goodvin stays close to The Iowa Gallivant’s company headquarters in southern Johnson County and home of the area’s best 4th of July celebration- Hills, Iowa!

Hills, IA: Johnson County

“You’re going to love what Hills does for the 4th of July.” This was said to us within the first day we started introducing ourselves to our new neighbors when we moved to town in October, 2014. Well, Hills………I think we may have found a great time. Here we go!

The weekend started on Thursday night right on Main Street, Hills and just a few paces from our home. Old 218 Tap!  https://www.facebook.com/Old218Tap?fref=ts
The weekend started on Thursday night right on Main Street in Hills and just a few paces from our home. Old 218 Tap!
https://www.facebook.com/Old218Tap?fref=ts

Just a few miles north of Hills is Iowa City and it’s oodles of restaurants. We love ’em just as much as anyone, but if you’re running around trying to figure out where to watch the game, have some drinks, explore some craft beers, eat some freak’ing great food……And how about just get out of your rut and test some small town cheer. Old 218 Tap is already utilized by a loyal customer-base of bike riders that can be seen coasting in on any nice day. Just follow the trail of tight shorts and it will lead you to one of the best gatherings in JoCo (JoCo=Johnson County. I’m making that a thing now. Enjoy.)

Mary Kate and Carrie. Pouring the suds, mixing the smooth stuff and keep your loudmouth in check with their own brand of humor. They may not know you when you walk in, but you'll be treated like a regular by the time you're whipping the beer foam from your mustache.  Or lipstick, maybe. I'm going to take a break from typing right now.
Mary Kate and Carrie. Pouring the suds, mixing the smooth stuff, and keeping your loudmouth in check with their own brand of humor. They may not know you when you walk in, but you’ll be treated like a regular by the time you’re whipping the beer foam from your mustache. Or lipstick, maybe. I’m going to take a break from typing right now.
....And a Diet Coke, please. Along with daily specials, Old 218 Tap has a classic menu of their take of some honest to goodness tavern favorites. Bottom left is their Cowboy Burger. All beef burger topped with cheese, bacon a breaded patty of country fried steak and a side of spicy mayo. Supporting one of the best burgers in JoCo is Buffalo wings, onion rings and the Iowa staple of breaded chicken gizzards. Successfully washed down with a pint of Millstream Iowa Pale Ale. Because, America that's why! Just get here and give this place shot. Today!
….And a Diet Coke, please. Along with daily specials, Old 218 Tap has a classic menu of their take of some honest to goodness tavern favorites. Bottom left is their Cowboy Burger. All beef burger topped with cheese, bacon, a breaded patty of country fried steak, and a side of spicy mayo. Supporting one of the best burgers in JoCo are Buffalo wings, onion rings, and the Iowa staple of breaded chicken gizzards. Successfully washed down with a pint of Millstream Iowa Pale Ale. Because, America that’s why! Just get here and give this place shot. Today!
It's now July 3rd and Hills is getting warmed up. The forecast is looking absolutely perfect for the planned festivities. The picture below also served as our checklist for the weekend.
It’s now July 3rd and Hills is getting warmed up. The forecast is looking absolutely perfect for the planned festivities. The picture above also served as our checklist for the weekend.

When did you compete in your first tractor pull? Never have! Do you have children? Get them down to Hills, next year, before they start telling the same unfulfilled story that too many of us have in common.

Lining up to pedal the weighted town tractor to dominance. I'm currently lobbying for a combine drag racing. The permits take longer then you think.
Lining up to pedal the weighted town tractor to dominance. I’m currently lobbying for combine drag racing. The permits take longer then you think.
Take down December's picture or Rudolf, rearrange Daddy's post-it note reminders that he never reads and put the birthday card from Grandma in the memory box. The fridge needs the save real estate for Gigi's right of Hills, IA passage.
Take down December’s picture, rearrange Daddy’s post-it note reminders that he never reads, and put the birthday card from Grandma in the memory box. The fridge needs the real estate for Gigi’s rite of passage. First tractor pull ever!

The evening settled in, but the eve of the 4th meant the start of a beautiful thing. My slow-cooked BBQ baked beans began their 14 hour simmer to perfection. Did I take a picture…..Interesting question. I did not. Yea, that’s right. The guy who snaps 47 pictures at 13 different angels of the spread at Old 218 Tap before anyone’s allowed to to touch their plates, failed to take one picture of our potluck contribution. I only had 14 hours to figure it out. Moving on.

The Hills Community was hosting a potluck that would be followed by a Euchre Tournament. Potlucks are some of my favorite meals and Iowa knows how to do it right. Hills showcased the traditional anchors you need. You need selections that are deviled, pickled, jello'ed, casseroled, mayo'ed, freshly baked, freshly picked from the garden and garnished with miniature marshmallows. Mission accomplished!
The Hills Community was hosting a potluck that would be followed by a Euchre Tournament. Potlucks are some of my favorite meals and Iowa knows how to do it right. Hills showcased the traditional anchors you need. You need selections that are deviled, pickled, jello’ed, casseroled, mayo’ed, freshly baked, freshly picked from the garden and something garnished with miniature marshmallows. Mission accomplished!
That, my dear readers, is a big bite of Midwest-Americana. Ham salad on sandwich bread. Former Iowa residents reading this blog can grab your box of Kleenex now.
That, my dear readers, is a big bite of Midwest-Americana. Ham salad on sandwich bread. Former Iowa residents reading this blog can grab your box of Kleenex now. Whether you like this sandwich or not you know someone close to you who does. Homesick much?

The annual Euchre tourney could find a Goodvin pulling up a chair next year because this year the kids were ready to join in with the local fire department for another first for our family. 4th of July waterball fights!

Focused, eager and ready to be drenched. The Hills bravest know how to keep local families safe and entertained.
Focused, eager, and ready to be drenched. The Hills bravest know how to keep local families safe and entertained.
Lineup little ducklings and let the professional handle this heat.
Lineup little ducklings and let the professional handle this heat.
In the nearby park are community volunteers, Stacey and Judy. Serving up free popcorn, juice and bottled water.
In the nearby park are community volunteers, Stacey and Judy. Serving up free popcorn, juice, and bottled water. They pop the corn on the 4th so you don’t have to. Just enjoy!
The inflatable bouncy house showed up and for the record breaking 10,000th time a row I was told I was too big to join in. What-evs...
The inflatable bouncy house showed up and for the record breaking 10,000th time a row I was told I was too big to join in. What-evs…

The afternoon has turned to early evening and there’s still a lot of daylight left. 6pm rolled around and out came floats for the Hills parade. Fleets of classic cars, fire engines, cheerleaders and candy! Candy! Decks of cards from Riverside Casino….and Candy!

Nana-Beth came down from Iowa City to spend the 4th with us. She has helped our blog grow since it was started keeping the kids corralled while Monie and JayJay get Monie and JayJay time. Thank you, Mom!
Nana-Beth came down from Iowa City to spend the 4th with us. She has helped our blog grow since it was started keeping the kids corralled while Monie and JayJay get Monie and JayJay time. Thank you, Mom!
Nothing but the classics here!
Nothing but the classics here!
Herky made an appearance to Hills and shed a few pounds walking the route with the Iowa Cheer Squad. Rough gig I assume.
Herky made an appearance to Hills and shed a few pounds walking the route with the Iowa Spirit Squad. Rough gig I assume.

The main attraction is only a couple hours away and we have time for one more stop before the Hills skyline turns into explosions. We were lucky enough to be invited to a shindig just feet from the field that would be lighting the nights fireworks. We’re off to the city park.

2 potlucks in one day! Our friend, Erika, led us to another delicious Hills meal. Pasta salad, broccoli slaw, twice baked potatoes, dips, beans, desserts and the best damn hog we've had all year! Thank you for having The Iowas Gallivant be apart of your 4th!
2 potlucks in one day! Our friend, Erika, led us to another delicious Hills meal. Pasta salad, broccoli slaw, twice baked potatoes, dips, beans, desserts and the best damn hog we’ve had all year! Thank you for having The Iowa Gallivant be apart of your 4th!

The streets, fields, and park started to fill up more and more in Hills with every passing moment. The majority of the Hills residents flooded the area with the help of people for surrounding communities like Iowa City, Lone Tree, Riverside and more. The local Casey’s was pumping out pizza and a wide array of koozies could be seen all over town. Lawn-chairs fixed, grills smoldering, cans popping open, aluminum bats cracking from the softball field and kids everywhere. Welcome to Hometown, USA. Now we’re ready for some of Iowa’s best fireworks!

We had our friends, The Highly family, over and we enjoyed the view from our fire pit in our front yard. Another perk we have since moving to Hills.
We had our friends, The Highly family, over and we enjoyed the view from our fire pit in our front yard. Another perk we have had since moving to Hills.

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You may have your own tradition when it comes to the 4th of July. And we all know that there’s nothing wrong when it comes to that. However, if you’re searching for a new place to spend the day, Hills can provide everything you need. The citizens are proud of this holiday and it shows from the moment you roll in to town or even move here. We’ve all combed the rows of vendors selling food and souvenirs in larger communities while anticipating the fireworks. Spent the day on the porch grilling all day or camped at the same area year after year. All great ways to spend Independence Day. Have you clutched a hose that’s jetting water at high pressure and aimed it at a keg in competition? Watched a premium fireworks display and NOT find yourself in grinding traffic soon after the show’s over? Picked a free spot where you can set up your grill, tailgate from the truck, participate in a pick up game of softball, observe a parade and watch the night light-up all within just a few yards from each other at no charge at all? Well, Hills has that all covered and much more. But, why wait until the next 4th of July to visit! The kitchen is always pumping out food and beer taps are flowing all year long at Old 218. Hills Access has sites open for camping right on the Iowa River. And this winter produced some of the best Bald Eagle watching in the entire state just as you entered the town limits. Team Goodvin loves our home, here in Hills, and we’re looking forward to more events to come here and we’re proud to have The Iowa Gallivant headquartered where “Town and Country Meet”. Thank you, Hills. Team Goodvin had and is having a blast!

A very wet victory hug from Gigi after her first waterball fight .
A very wet victory hug from Gigi after her first waterball fight .

Read about our last adventure in Hills, Iowa!

https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/05/10/a-showdown-of-iowas-bravest-in-our-own-backyard/

Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin

7 thoughts on “Where Town & Country Meet-Your Next Independence Day Destination

    1. Yes. You’re right. And I think the majority of the readers know that. An attempt at a little humor. Hope we were able to rebound with the rest of the article. Thanks for reading The Iowa Gallivant!

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