Holiday shopping in downtown Indianola
Shopping in small, local stores in Iowa can be tremendously satisfying. Especially at the holidays, with madding crowds at the malls and big-box stores, strolling down Main Street or around a small-town square is a welcome break.
I’ve devoted a considerable amount of blog space to this concept. I’ve shopped in local environments from Des Moines’ East Village to downtown Pella, from Ames to Winterset. I’ve found shops I love in Woodward, Decorah, and Kalona. I’d love to spend more time shopping in Harlan, Spencer, and Albia – and probably in many other towns I haven’t visited yet.
This weekend I shopped downtown Indianola. At first glance, the pickings seemed a bit sparse, and the courthouse on the square is one of the least impressive in Iowa.
But then I took a closer look.
I found Burlap & Roses (top), one of the most charming shops I’ve discovered in a very long time. Shopkeeper Beth Cort-Voltmer offers wares ranging from antiques to repurposed vintage to I-can’t-believe-it’s-new. Right now, the shop is filled with the most wonderful holiday things: Tin trees, ornaments, signs, pillows, and all sorts of other home décor, creatively arranged in a relatively small store on the southeast corner of the square. This is a shop I’d recommend to anyone who loves the cottage or vintage look. I can’t wait to go back.
Just a few steps away on the east side of the square is Welcome Home (above), another wonderful shop with primitive furniture and home décor, repurposed vintage items, and some new things. The shop is large, with plenty of space to view the items in home-like settings: a bedroom, living room, etc. It’s a super warm, cozy shop with some really great home decorating ideas.
I also visited Taylor Floral & Gifts Boutique (above), with plenty of holiday items, gifts, and cute baby things, including books and puzzles; JRené, a women’s clothing store; and the Painted Pony Gallery, an art and gift store. Other shops include Kerry’s Flowers, Adorn, and a few more I didn’t get to.
If you go to Indianola, there’s plenty more to do and see. Depending on the time of year, you could visit Simpson College, with its Des Moines Metro Opera, Farnham Galleries, and Kent Center galleries. Right now you can view the American Gothic-inspired “God Bless America” sculpture by Seward Johnson – I’ve seen it in Chicago and Dubuque, and it’s just a fantastic piece of Americana.
If you’re looking for recreation, Indianola has several city parks, including Buxton Park, plus Summerset State Park and Lake Ahquabi State Park are both nearby. The Indianola area has two wineries: La Vida Loca and Summerset. And, perhaps Indianola’s claim to fame, the National Balloon Classic is held there each summer (this year it’s July 25 – Aug. 2, 2014). The town is also home to the National Balloon Musuem.