While Iowa holds a stratospheric position on the list of America’s breadbasket states, it also maintains a similar spot on a list of “birdbasket” states. Pheasants and bobwhite quail are Iowa’s headlining species, and Heritage 1865 has earned a reputation as one of the top upland lodges for connecting visiting wingshooters with not only copious bags of birds, but also the Heartland way of life. It’s a life full of history and tradition that places a heavy focus on friends and family. Here are a few of the ways Heritage guests get to enjoy this.
Join the Family
Traveling hunters who have the opportunity to lodge with local families on their Midwestern hunts often consider the relationships formed with their hosts to be highlights of the trip. The experience not only results in new friendships, but also a special chance to immerse themselves in the regional culture. Meeting and falling in with the Ewing family and their local staff enables Heritage 1865 guests to add this wonderful dimension to their stay. In the course of a day, guests might have one Ewing serving them breakfast, a different one guiding their hunt and yet another sipping a nightcap with them. No hunting lodge lives up to the “you’ll feel like part of the family” promise more than this one.
Marvel at the Family History
The Ewings settled on their farm more than 150 years ago and are a treasure trove of family and local history. Lodge manager Travis, for example, is happy to share interesting facts and stories that have been passed down four generations, beginning with the $19-an-acre purchase of the farm by Samuel Ewing in 1865. What was hunting like back then? How did the family escape the ravages of the Great Depression? And it’s not just the old stories that are interesting. The farm’s new method of raising grass-fed beef (to which guests are treated at mealtime) is as much a worthwhile “listen” as stories from the days of yore.
Enjoy the Company of Others
Sometimes “warm and quaint” trumps “big and flashy.” Heritage steers its operation toward the former. The lodge’s communal area is a great example. It is certainly spacious, but its open floor plan produces an intimate ambiance in which guests can more thoroughly enjoy the folks around them. The Ewings realize that a party of six might be coming from various parts of the country for a once-a-year reunion and have arranged their lodge to ensure that such groups get the most out of their time together.
Savor Grandma Judy’s Cooking
OK, so most of Heritage’s cooking these days is done by uber-capable Chef Tim Holmes, but he uses plenty of recipes from Grandma Judy’s cookbook. And some of those recipes have been passed down from the days when people made their own butter. If a peach cobbler or pot roast has been made a specific way for more than 100 years, there’s a darn good reason for it!
Sink One in the Corner Pocket
Is there a better way to have fun and come together than a friendly game of pool? Whether you’re a shark or just looking to enjoy a little lighthearted competition during cocktail hour, taking to the pool table never disappoints. The problem in most lodges is that the pool table is in the basement or somewhere apart from where non-players are hanging out. At Heritage the table sits within that aforementioned open floor plan, so participants can enjoy the fireplace, views of the property and, most important, the company of everyone else in the lodge. It’s right in keeping with the Ewings’ focus on providing the perfect family atmosphere.
Heritage 1865 is a full-service Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge. To learn more or to make a reservation, call 641-780-2290 or email [email protected].
Photographs courtesy of Heritage 1865.