Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Rest Stop That Refreshes Your Brain

Highway rest stops are usually designed to give drivers a short rest, a place to stretch their legs and take care of other biological necessities.

Driving home to Toronto, we stopped at a marvellous rest stop in Iowa that also refreshed the mind.  Somebody had their creative hat on when they designed this lovely place.

Just outside Iowa City, this rest stop celebrated the Iowa Writers' Workshop of the University of Iowa.  Founded in 1936, the Iowa Writers' Workshop was the first such creative writing locus in the US.  This rest stop had a large statue of an old fashioned pen nib, and script over the walls.

The inside was even more interesting.  There was a stock ticker style digital display showing quotes from authors related to the Iowa Writers Workshop, or to Iowa.  The walls were engraved with authors' names, and there was a quote from Kerouac on the floor.  What a pleasure to contemplate some of the quotes during your road break.

Outside, the picnic areas were sheltered by metal sheets, with more quotes cut out.  Topping it all off were wood-carved lettering indicating the washrooms.
Worth a trip to Iowa?  Maybe not.  But definitely worth a stop even if you don't need one.

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