In March 2016 my boys, Mason (13) and Caleb (8) and I moved from the Denver metro area to Iowa. We initially landed in Boone, but thanks to a wonderful man and an exceptionally friendly community, we found our forever home here in Manning, IA.
By Sarah McPherson
First off…WOW!! As a newcomer to town all I can say is Manning is definitely an amazing little town. So full of life! I love driving in to town whether it be to work, running errands or just out and about and being greeted by countless waves by the cars passing or even by people walking on the sidewalks. Coming from a larger town on the outskirts of Des Moines that certainly doesn’t happen, unless you pass someone you know. It certainly makes for a welcoming feeling. It didn’t take much time for me to feel at home after I moved here.
I was blessed to be joined on a Manning outing with Nancy Trapolino, the Native of course, her daughter Logan, and my mom Sherry McPherson, the out of towner. The newbie being me of course. First stop was lunch at Cliffs where my mom just ooed and awed at the beautiful old-fashioned tin ceilings and the unique brick walls. She was impressed with the friendly staff, which I told her is very common in Manning, and the great food!
Next was a stop at the IOWA sign at Trestle Park. We had so much fun posing for photo ops! When I told my mom that we had to stop and get our picture at the Iowa sign she gave me a very puzzled look. I knew what she was thinking, why on earth do we need to get our picture taken at an Iowa sign. She was thinking it was just going to be a wooden sign of the state of Iowa. Needless to say, she was taken by surprise when we turned the corner and it came in to view. There isn’t anything like that back around Indianola, that’s for sure. In my personal opinion, it is better than anything in the Papajohn Sculpture Park downtown Des Moines.
A trip to Manning Hausbarn and Heritage Park was a must, so we made our way there after taking our photo at the IOWA sign. When we first stepped in to the Hausbarn I pointed out the bedroom off to the right after entering. My mom asked me why there was a bedroom in a barn. She didn’t realize that Hausbarn actually meant a “house barn”. We do not come from German heritage so this was all very new to her and I. Nancy was very good about explaining the technicalities of the rebuilding of the barn that I did not know, the brick floor for example. I had no idea that the bricks were from the old Main Street, so I learned new things on this adventure as well! Unfortunately, my mom and I both we so romanticized by the Hausbarn that we totally forgot to take any pictures. Makes for a great excuse for her to come back and visit again in the Spring.
As we made our way to the Leet/Hassler Farmstead I explained to my mom that it was at one time a functioning farmstead built in the mid to late 1910’s. Having a strong appreciation for all things vintage and historical my mom was sucked in to the beauty that is the farm house. As we walked through the house I could see that my mom was imagining herself living there and what life was like in the early 1900’s. The impeccable shape that the house is in just shows the appreciation Manning has for its history. Of course, we had to have a little fun on our adventures walking around the farmstead so we stopped for a photo op next to a cool old car pretending we were movie stars showing off our hotrod. We couldn’t leave out the barn or the chickens so we stopped for pictures there as well.
To end our trip to the Hausbarn and Heritage Park we made our way to Trinity Church. This was my first trip to the church as well so I knew very little about it. Thankfully we brought our native with us. Nancy told us the story of the 11-mile transport to its new home. Once back home I had to look up more information of this amazing re-location. The you-tube video alone gave me goosebumps!
Last but certainly not least…SHOPPING! We stopped in to Kristina’s Flowers first. We had to check out all the new and fresh ideas she is bringing to the flower shop. With my brother being in the Air National Guard it is so nice seeing the beautifully crafted wooden American flags in her shop. Seeing a small-town store owner honoring our military and civil service members is refreshing. The same can be said about The Market Place. The first time my mom was up to visit was before Memorial Day and Jaime had a wonderful display including toy army men that you could take home to remember those in service and say a prayer for them. This time however, she was busy getting her store ready for Christmas. Want a cup of coffee while shopping? Or maybe something sweet to munch on while pondering what gift to buy? No problem! With the coffee bar located in the store you won’t go thirsty or be distracted by a growling tummy. I do love my coffee and shopping, so I get the best of both worlds in this versatile little store. It makes it very easy to spend hours looking around. Last was the Pharmacy. When I first moved here a friend of mine told me I had to go shopping at the Pharmacy. I must admit I was beyond confused. Why on earth would someone go shopping at a pharmacy? Finally, one day I decided to venture in. WOW was I shocked! Who knew a pharmacy had home décor? Naturally I had to drag my mom there as well while out on our adventures. She was just as shocked as I was when I first went in there. We giggled like school girls over the silly tea towels, and smell tested the numerous candles.
To say we had a good day would be an understatement. I had so much fun showing my mom around Manning. It was nice having Nancy along with us as well because her being the native, she had way more knowledge then me. I learned a lot about the town just by pretending to be a tourist, which I suppose I kind of was. I can’t wait for my mom to come back for another visit. Next time she is bringing a group of her friends with her so it will be fun showing more “out of towners” around. Manning has so much to offer and I am proud to be a part of it. I never imagined myself living in a small town like this growing up, but now that I have been here almost a year, I can’t imagine life anywhere else.