Pella Iowa offers a slice of Holland in the heart of the Midwest. The city, which is today home to Central College, was founded by Dutch immigrants in 1847, and among the main landmarks is a working Dutch Mill that comes complete with a large windmill. Parts of this interpretive center, which is known as the Vermeer Mill, were actually built in Holand, and the overall complex certainly has a Dutch design. Some of the buildings on the Central College also exhibit Dutch Colonial appeal, making a campus tour worth considering for architectural enthusiasts.
The Vermeer Mill in Pella IA is just one of many attractions that help to comprise the city's Historical Village. Found within this village are more than twenty different buildings, and some have stood on the same site for more than a century. Others were relocated and restored to help make the village more complete. Among the highlights of the Pella Historical Village is the boyhood home of legendary lawman, Wyatt Earp. This famous former resident was born in Illinois and moved to Iowa when his father decided to settle on a farm in the Pella area.
Another home that is not to be missed while touring the Historical Village in Pella Iowa is the Scholte House. This home was built for Dominie Hendrik Piefer Scholte in order to satisfy a promise made to his wife. Scholte was the leader of the Dutch group that founded Pella. His promise to his wife was that he would present her with a beautiful home like the one that she left behind if she was willing to come to the New World with him. A large home, the Scholte House was completed in 1848 and sits proudly on the north side of the historic district's main square. Lovely gardens, the likes of which feature tulips, surround the home, and visitors are welcome to step inside the home itself for a look around.
Scholte House tours can be guided or self-guided, and combination tickets that also include a tour of the Vermeer Mill are available. General walking tours of the Historical Village are self-guided and don't cost anything. The Windmill and the Village are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the last tour for the Windmill starts at 4 p.m. The Scholte House, on the other hand, is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the last tour beginning at 3:30 p.m. It should be noted that from January 1 to March 15, the Scholte House is closed, though it can be opened for large groups who wish to use it for some kind of special affair. The main address for the Pella Historical Village is 507 Franklin Street.
Pella Iowa is situated about 35 miles east of Des Moines, so visitors can always entertain the idea of taking a side trip to the state capital when a break from the local attractions is in order. Closer to town, Lake Red Rock beckons with its recreational opportunities, especially during the summer months. This is the largest lake in all of Iowa, and is a great spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. Visitors can also go hiking or biking on the trails that surround it. These trails, and the lake area in general, are part of Elk Rock State Park. Campsites are available at the park for those who are interested in passing on the local hotels.
For those travelers who prefer the Pella Iowa hotels to the area campsites, there are some good options to choose from. Among the bunch are chain brand hotels that are budget-friendly and chain motels that are even cheaper. For those who are interested in Iowa hotels that are of the bed and breakfast variety, the Pella area boasts several.
Image: Pella Convention & Visitors Bureau