National German-American Day :: Explore German Heritage in the Amana Colonies

sign of amanaOn October 6, millions of Americans celebrate their German roots for German-American Heritage Day. This holiday remembers German heritage in North America and the founding of Germantown, PA in 1683.

Here in Iowa, the Amana Colonies, just off of I-80 about twenty minutes from Cedar Rapids, invite you to explore their German roots and learn about their history. Roughly 80% of Iowans claim German-American heritage, so if you are looking for an excuse to get out your Dirndl and wash down some pretzels and brats with a beer, you probably can find some German ancestry in your family to legitimize this desire!

Head on down to the Amanas and explore!

Start your day off with German pancakes the size of your face at the Ronneburg Restaurant. After this hearty meal, it is time for a solid historical foundation at the Amana Heritage Museum. For readers of CR Moms, the museum will offer a special “Buy One Get One Free” admission in the week of October 3 through October 9, 2022. To receive this promotion, mention this blog post!

The Amana Heritage Museum is located at 705 44th Ave, Amana IA 52203, and is open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 10am-5pm and Sun 11am-3pm.

The tour of the museum starts with its award-winning movie, which gives you a great overview of the community’s journey to America and teaches about the old Amana days of communal living. This can’t-miss-experience boasts exhibits spanning the colony’s year history with a current special exhibit titled “1920: A Centennial Celebration of Women in Amana.

German-American Heritage Day

There is so much more to do….

After you get your history fix, stroll down main street and stop at one of the many wineries to pick up a souvenir for home. If antiquing is your thing, there is no shortage of opportunities in Amana either. Our favorite is Amazing Grace Antiques where you will be sure to find a piece of the Old World for your collection. Inside the store, you should also check out the amazing-smelling soaps and lotions from Hannnah Bee’s Co.!

Next, the Amana General Store and the Little Red Wagon are a must-stop and the kids will be happy to find a toy or two here as well. Pick up your German Christmas pickle ornament at the International Christmas market located inside the General Store.

If all this shopping got you hungry be sure to stop at the Ox Yoke Inn for lunch or grab a homemade tea at The Rusty Tractor for some quick refuel.

The Amana Woolen Mill – Warped & Woven Mill Mercantile is an attraction to see as well. The tradition of weaving was taken from the settlements in Germany and has been an Amana tradition for centuries.

Settle down for a nice dinner at the Indigo Room and reminisce about your German-American Day! Make it a weekend getaway by checking in for the night at the historical Hotel Millwright.

What German traditions do you celebrate in your family? Tag us with #CRMomsGermanAmericanDay on your social media posts and spread the fun!

No traditions yet? Here are some ideas to start:

  • Have a pretzel rolling contest! Defrost some dinner roll dough, roll into a log and see if you can get the twist just right! Be sure to have a camera ready – it’s a lot harder to figure out than you think!
  • Start planning an advent calendar for the family! In Germany, children (and adults!) enjoy unwrapping one little gift a day from Dec 1 to Dec 24 in anticipation of Christmas!
  • Find out about your German heritage! Have a German last name? Try and involve the kids in finding out what it means!

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