Mount Vernon, Iowa - America's Coolest Small Town

A midwestern oasis

Upon arriving at Mount Vernon, Iowa, numerous banners proclaim it as being America’s Coolest Small Town and after spending a few days there, I’m inclined to believe it. Artist Grant Wood immortalized the region through his landscape paintings and American Gothic, his most famous work, has been reproduced on a barn just outside of town.

One of my favorite places is a small nature park that is just bursting with wildflowers and outstretched trees that are a shady refuge from the sweltering heat. The most striking element is the profusion of sunlit tiger lillies that contrast so sharply with the dark-green forest.

Along the edge of Mount Vernon, the Cedar River sloughs patiently through ripe cornfields and the billowy, green hills. Despite its peaceful personality, the Cedar has a swift current so beware as it could definitely sweep an unsuspecting swimmer a long ways downstream.

The centerpiece of this midwestern oasis is a small pond where the reflections are so sharp that the placid pool seems like a mirror. As the day comes to an end, a window of lime green leaves is struck by late light while framing a simple composition of blue water and black trees.

America's Coolest Small Town

American Gothic Barn

Bursting with wildflowers

Sunlit tiger lillies

The Cedar River

Lime green leaves


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