LeClaire, Iowa

On a recent media visit to the Quad Cities, we did a day trip to LeClaire, Iowa. It's a river town just north of the Davenport that was about a 20 minute drive for our hotel. The main street through town runs adjacent to the river, divided by a railroad with several blocks of eateries, shopping and other attractions.

Dotted with specialty shops, you'll find clothing boutiques, salvage/antique stores and gourmet shops galore, most notably Antique Archeology, which is the store that spurred the "American Pickers" show on the History Channel. You'll find a canning company, olive oil company, popcorn shop and chocolate store.

If you like wine, beer and spirits, you can try all three within a three block area. The Mississippi River Distilling Co. has been in business for 7 years and you can find their products in more than 20 states. As the Iowa liquor laws will change starting July 1, they'll finally be able to offer more than just tastings and products sales and will be adding a cocktail menu and you'll be able to enjoy your drink on a patio overlooking the river. Next door is the Green Tree Brewing, where you'll find more than a dozen beer varieties on tap and can watch the game on the big screen or take your drink outside for more nice river views. The Wide River Winery Tasting Room is just a couple blocks south in an 1840s building with a patio and live music on Friday nights. Above the tasting room is a guest house that can be rented by the night or by the week. They also have tasting rooms in Clinton and East Davenport. You can also sample wine at the Captain's Spirit Cellar in Grasshopper's.


The Buffalo Bill Museum covers the life of LeClaire native William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and the only surviving example of a wooden-hulled boat in the US built in the traditional Western Rivers fashion.

LeClaire is also the departing location for the Riverboat Twiglight, which does overnight trips to Dubuque and also 1 1/2 hour sightseeing excursions on some weekends.

For lodging, there are three chain hotels, a bed and breakfast and eight guest houses, including some larger homes that sleep up to 8 and some smaller spaces atop the businesses. The small town is bursting with charm and so appealing to history geeks like me. Keep an eye on the blog for more posts on the attractions in LeClaire and also follow the food blog, chicagofoodiesisters.com for posts on what we ate and drank while we were there. For more information, go to visitleclaire.com.

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