The spinning wheel was a key tool in many homes throughout American history. And the spinning wheel on display at the Carnegie Museum in Fairfield is no exception. This wheel, also known as a flax wheel came from a home in Birmingham, Iowa, just a few short miles outside of Fairfield.
But what makes it different is that the owner of this wheel was Mary Ann Rutledge who moved to the area in 1837. Mrs. Rutledge moved to the area from New Salem, Illinois where she and her husband operated a tavern. It was this very tavern that Abraham Lincoln frequented and eventually fell in love with Rutledge’s daughter, Ann. He courted her and the couple planned to marry. It is even said that Lincoln referred to Mrs. Rutledge as “mom”.
Unfortunately, Ann and her father fell ill with typhoid and they both passed away in 1835, thus breaking the couple’s engagement and Lincoln’s heart. Mary Ann Rutledge shared Lincoln’s grief upon the death of Ann, and in his company would spend long hours at Ann’s graveside. Letters of her kin tell of Mary Ann’s recollections of “the terribly sad look on Lincoln’s face when he came out of the room when Ann was dying.”
Mary Ann was a woman who could have had a fascinating story to tell, had only someone searched it out. She lived to see the suiter of her daughter Ann rise step by step through his amazing career, and she, perhaps better than anyone else, understood the soul of Lincoln when during his Presidency he said, “I have served in the depths… I have been severely schooled.”
Mre. Rutledge’s spinning wheel, the one that was an important part of her tavern and home life in New Salem, made the trek west and eventually landed in the museum, where the local curators can keep this story of Lincoln alive.
Even though they might be the love of your life, we know that being cooped up together can create some challenges for relationships. So we put together some date night ideas that also help support local businesses.
At this time, due to growing health concerns, all local restaurants have been ordered to close their dining facilities. many have chosen the option to continue delivery and curbside pickup services. For a listing of those restaurants, go here.
Set the Mood
Set the mood for a relaxing evening with some aromatherapy from Thymely Solutions. Or perhaps you will want to pick up some of their Himalayan Bath salts and unwind a bit from a day of working remotely. Thymely Solutions offers curbside pick up and delivery. We suggest also grabbing some amazing chocolate while you’re at it.
Dinner for Two
You might not be able to take your sweetie out but you can still have a romantic dinner for two with the help of local restaurants’ takeout and delivery services.
But it wouldn’t be a romantic dinner without some candlelight! Kara from Adela’s can set you up with some beautiful candles and other goodies for your table. She’s offering online shopping as well as personal shopping and pickup. Just give her a call.
Add a little Vino
Need a special wine for the occasion? Check out Somm Wines recommendation for romantic libation. The Los Dos Garnacha, which means “The Two,” is a great date wine and available for curbside pickup. Krista might also be able to whip up a yummy cheese plate for two! Call in your order; 702-528-8101
Need a little background music?
Check out Fairfield talent Nicholas Naioti on spotify.
Whip it up (in the kitchen)
Cooking together can be one of the best bonding activities. If you are stumped about what to make, we recommend that you purchase the McElhinny House cookbook. These time tested recipes will create a new adventure in taste and spark some fun in the kitchen. Check out their lasagne recipe or maybe stir up some lemon bars for dessert. Contact Julie Johnston (319-695-3037) to get your hands on their cookbook.
Popcorn and a movie
Nothing finishes up a romantic date night like popcorn and a movie. While you’re cuddled up on the sofa, check out some movies that were made right here in Iowa, such as The Bridges of Madison County, starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep or Country With Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard.
Taking the whole family on vacation can be expensive. But there’s no need to leave everyone at home… there are affordable options that don’t compromise on the fun and memories.
We think a visit to Fairfield is going to surprise you with its picturesque parks, internationally inspired restaurants, and artistic flair. If you’re here on a Saturday, you can head to the Farmers Market in Howard Park. You can pick up some goodies to eat on the spot and let the kids stretch their legs in the playground.
Then head into the downtown and check out Stuff a Bear and More. This unique Fairfield shop is PACKED with stuffed animals that you and your kids can make together. While you’re downtown, check out the Carnegie Museum. It’s one of Iowa’s oldest museums and is known for its large collection of Native American pottery and civil war memorabilia. The kids will also get a kick out of the taxidermy collection, gifted to the museum by the Smithsonian. You can visit the museum for free and is always open for the Fairfield First Fridays events.
Speaking of the First Fridays, this is a popular event held on the first Friday of every month. The evening is devoted to a community gathering centered around free live music and family-friendly activities. You”ll discover art galleries, shops, food trucks, and restaurants, all centered around the downtown square.
We believe that the great outdoors is one of the best bonding experiences a family can have… and mother nature doesn’t demand a high price tag. There’s no better place to hang out with the family than on our Loop Trail. The trails take you through a variety of landscapes including woodlands, meadows and reestablished prairie. And, because the trail connects all of the parks, you’ll want to jump off the trail at Jefferson County Park and go across the swinging bridge!
If you need a bit of cooling off during your visit, “slide” on into Fairfield’s outdoor pool.
Don’t let those family memories pass you by! Take a trip… come visit us! Want more information to help you plan your visit? Get your visitor’s Guide here.
Experiencing live music is a MUST in Fairfield. Local and regional musicians bring their best to the stage on a weekly basis.
From Blues to jazz, rock to indie, and folk to rock, audiences will find a variety of artists and venues devoted to the musical arts. Join in for some toe-tapping, danceable fun! Events are changing all the time so check the links below for scheduled shows. (And of course, there are also girls in the band!)
Fairfield is home to some powerful musicians, including Society of Broken Souls, who create music deeply rooted in the time-honored tradition of storytelling, Steve & Michaela McLain who combine acoustic guitar and harmonica with country-tinged Americana, and a variety of serious blues and rock performers.
Venues devoted to musical entertainment:
The Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts
The Lab-HFI Creativity Lab
Shopping small is BIG in Fairfield! And the local shops are packed with gifts and goodies to please everyone on your list.
As usual, there will be lots of specials and giveaways to help make your holiday shopping more fun. Bring the family along to enjoy the Festival of Trees and be sure to carve out some time for the kids to visit Santa in his house on the Square!
Shop small businesses this season. Visit these fun and festive shops and get a leg up on your holiday shopping during Small Business Saturday, Nov 30!
Vogue on Court
Flirt Clothing Boutique
At Home Store
Cindy’s Art Beat
Health & Wholeness
Stuff a Bear & more
Green Building Supply
Time to grab your favorite beverage. Winter seems to be upon us even though the calendar says we still are in full-blown Autumn. But if you find yourself needing a place to thaw out, stop by one of these local establishments and chill out with a warm beverage! What’s your go-to beverage? Coffee? Tea? Cocoa? Or maybe something fancy like a pumpkin spice latte or green tea matcha latte with coconut milk? Whatever your favorite is, there’s a place in Fairfield that serves it!
Hazel Moon Cafe;
What would the holidays be like without a visit from Santa?! And this year, Santa is getting a NEW house in Fairfield and his old one is being turned into his workshop!! His new house will be slightly bigger and will include an area where hot cocoa will be served. The cocoa station will be open every night that Santa is in his house.
On Friday evenings there will be a photographer with Santa who will take pictures of the kids with Santa (if they choose). Those pictures will then be sent over to the workshop. At the workshop Santa will have some helpers available to assist the kids with putting their picture into and decorating a holiday ornament to take home with them.
Friday, November 29 (opening night) 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 30
Friday, December 6 (First Friday Art walk)6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, December 7
Thursday, December 12 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Friday, December 13 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, December 14
Thursday, December 19 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Friday, December 20 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, December 21
‘Tis the season for gift-giving, family traditions, warm fires, and hot cocoa! It’s also the season when Fairfield becomes “The Christmas City” with hundreds of holiday lights and a TON of activities to get you in the Holiday spirit.
This is one of the best times to gather your loved ones and visit Fairfield. Enjoy these holiday events and add some sparkle to your Southeast Iowa getaway.
Nov 29-30; Festival of Trees
Nov 29: Holiday Lighting Ceremony
Dec 05; Wreaths & Wine Make and Take
Dec 06-07; Shop & Be Merry
Dec 06; Christmas with the Celts
Dec 07; Touch of Christmas Craft & Vendor Show
Dec 07; Cedar Valley Winery’s ANNUAL OPEN HOUSE
Dec 07-08; This Shining Night Concert
Dec 08; Chocolate Sunday
Dec 13; 24th Annual Children’s Holiday Benefit Concert
Dec 14; Hazel Moon Cafe’s 2nd Annual Holiday Pop-Up!
Dec 14-15; 2019 Holiday Trade Fair
Dec 14; Holiday Party & Paint
Dec 14; Singing Cedars Winter Faire
Dec 14; 24th Annual Children’s Holiday Benefit Concert
Dec 15; Holiday Party & Paint
Dec 17; Community Christmas Sing-along
Dec 24; Santa’s Arrival in Central Park
Shopping for Foodies in Fairfield, Iowa
Is there someone special in your life who is a foodie? Shopping for holiday gifts for foodies is so much FUN in Fairfield. Whether you want to tantalize someone with a yummy treat or inspire them to get in the kitchen, check out our suggestions below.
Everybody’s Whole Foods;
Looking for Fairfield made goodies? Check out Everybody’s Whole Foods. They stock a wide variety of Fairfield produced foods like cheese and panir from the Jersey Cows at Radiance Dairy. Check out Fairfield’s own Brine Brothers sauerkrauts (perfect for the sandwich lover in on your list). And for that special sweet treat, you can’t pass up the display of cookies and cakes from Cookies from the Heart.
At Home Store;
If you are looking for the motherlode of kitchen inspired foods and equipment, look no further than the At Home Store. Choose from imported food items and a wide range of creative bake and cookware.
All kinds of kitchen gadgets are found here… even cute little gadgets for the kids!
Sommelier and owner Krista Matthes will take you on a trip around the world of wines and help you make the best selections for your next party or gifts. After all, what’s a gift basket without a great bottle of wine??
Pickle Creek Herbs;
What happens when you combine a passionate farmer with a love of cooking? You get Greek Basil & Garlic olive oil and Strawberry Basil Balsamic infused vinegar! Stop by their tasting room to try them out!
Café Paradiso coffee;
Café P’s special blend is available as whole beans or ground. Stop by and pick some up for Christmas morning!
Need a “little wake me up” in the morning? Try a flaky ham and cheese-filled croissant or a blueberry Danish. Or get both as we usually do! Maybe a box of goodies should find its way to your brunch table or gift basket. Many gluten-free options are available.
Or perhaps you’d like to gift your foodie with a delicious meal from one of Fairfield’s many restaurants.
Check out our event page for the many holiday sights and sounds that will put you and your family in a festive mood. And while you’re at it, spend the night and book your room here.