Historic US Route 20 · Northeast Iowa

Buchanan County, Iowa & Its Beautiful Scenery From the Riverfronts & Beyond

*The Northeast Iowa region has some beautiful areas and the scenery changes with each county you experience during your road trips. Our visit was sponsored by Buchanan County Tourism. Some of the goods, meals and services were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

Fontana Park

Beautiful Buchanan County near Hazleton, Iowa! Let’s get this Gallivant going at Fontana Park! And look who’s ready to get a National Park stamp in his Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Visitor Guide!

Buchanan County, Iowa

There can be some magical moments created in the ample supply of Iowa’s county parks, and this includes the splendor and scenery of Buchanan County. This gateway to the Northeast Iowa region is going to be popping this fall with Fontana Park welcoming travelers and campers all season long and into 2024!

The Fontana Interpretive Nature Center sits proudly on top of this hill giving its visitors a primo education on the natural wonders of the area.
Don’t worry, readers. This display of wildlife won’t bite. But they will remind you of how wild Buchanan County can be!
You’ll be enjoying yourself while roaming around these exhibits, but don’t forget about the gift shop, too! It’s a great way to shop local and support these precious county parks like Fontana.

Cedar Rock State Park

The unbelievable tranquility of the Walter House is hard to express in words. Written and spoken. This is a historical home you’ll need to experience while feeling the relaxing vibe all on your own. Thanks to the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright near the town of Quasqueton.

I always think of the wilderness that Iowa’s state parks provides. And for good reason because they give everyone who visits boundless Midwest landscapes. Then there’s Cedar Rock and it’s incredible uniqueness. You get the rural atmosphere, surrounded by plush timber and hiking trails, along with one of Iowa’s most historic houses.

The interior of the Walter House is kept up just like Agnes and Lowell left it. They were successful and respected farmers in Buchanan County and had a vision for their dream home. They loved Frank Lloyd Wright’s previous works and wrote him a letter to get the conversation started. The rest is amazing Iowa architectural history.
The tea set is ready for an afternoon get together at the Walter House! Feel free to sit where the Walters and their guests sat. I recommend one of the chairs in the living room with a one and only Buchanan County view.
This is a scene I could get used to on a daily basis. Like the entire house, the Walters bedroom still looks like it’s the definition of rural relaxation.
The Walter House wasn’t the last home Frank Lloyd Wright designed, but the Walter’s boathouse was the last of its kind that would be constructed with his vision.
Inside the boathouse was another masterpiece of tranquility. I imagined cigars, poker, music, warm fire, and all of it on the banks of the Wapsipinicon River flowing by.
The Cedar Rock Visitor Center is something you don’t want to miss. This is wear you see and hear the story of how the Walters became associated with Wright and created a home together in Buchanan County.
Everyone who works at Cedar Rock is more than knowledgeable when it comes to the construction of the Walter House and all the surrounding natural wonders.
Is that me or is that Frank Lloyd Wright? It is!
Meet the families that came together in Northeast Iowa. The Walters and the Wrights enjoying the patio under the Iowa sky.
Don’t forget to look for this plaque at the Walter House. Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t put this on every property he designed, but he felt this incredible home needed one. FLW fans love seeing these and it’s an honor have this entire piece of beautiful Iowa history at Cedar Rock State Park in Buchanan County.

Let’s Eat

Do you like golf? Do you like scenic riverfronts? Do you like cheeseburgers? If it’s “yes” for any of those then Denalis on the River is for you! Their bacon cheeseburger with blue cheese is cooked with perfectly smashed all beef patties and can be served at you table on the Wapsipinicon!


Time to take in the Independence, Iowa hospitality at the Comfort Inn & Suites! 2100 Swan Lake Boulevard 319-334-6400
Bring on that modern lobby with all the colorful decor! Near HWY 20 and all of Independence is this perfect HQ for your own Buchanan County adventures!
The crew was smiling and ready to take care of all the guests. From the front desk to the pool to your room, and every square inch of the Comfort Inn & Suites in Independence.
You can tell the housekeeping crew does an amazing job once you step foot into your room. Look at that Buchanan County sunlight pouring in over the comfortable bed and furniture!
You’ll want to take advantage of the pool area while you’re staying at the Comfort Inn & Suites. Poolside after an eventful day of gallivanting is just what you need! The entire stay here was just what I needed.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy a complimentary breakfast at the Comfort Inn & Suites. Making a big breakfast sandwich to start off the morning in Independence! Make your reservations for this Choice Hotel on their website! Friendly staff, hot breakfast, clean and comfy room, several twirls in the pool, and conveniently located. Thank you to every who made me feel welcomed and happy to come back!

Enjoy the Scenic River

Independence, Iowa has one of the state’s best riverfronts with several ways to enjoy the Wapsipinicon. Parks, history, restaurants, museum, and refreshing beer!

Allerton Brewing Company has a great menu of their craft beers and you can enjoy them inside with the bartenders or on the patio with a view!
Just a few steps from the local brewery is this towering landmark in Independence. The Wapsipinicon Mill is the most well known historical icon of this business district and the entire city. And look at the perfect timing in this picture with an antique motorcade cruising on by!
Inside the Wapsipinicon Mill is this historical museum that showcases an amazing amount of local lore and history. It has sites and literal sounds that you would expect from an old historical mill. Get in here and see what the volunteers have ready to show you in Independence!

Take a hike in the parks and get a burger. Enjoy riverfront beauty and get a cold beer. Get educated by some museums and interpretive centers. End the day by taking a nose dive into that comfortable bed at the Comfort Inn & Suites. Wake up and start experiencing so much more in Buchanan County! Meat lockers, Historic US Route 20, small town bars, camping, gourmet pizza……By the way! Something tells me we should all visit Independence sometime between November 24th through December 10th for Holidays at the Depot! I could go for some online auctioning or in-person viewing for some Christmas ideas….And so can you!

Thank you to everyone at Buchanan County Tourism for making this Gallivant happen! Be sure to click on the Buchanan County Tourism website and check out all the great events and info from their wonderful communities.

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