Judy Miller

Kalona–a little beyond Amana

When I travel to the Amana Colonies, I seldom have time to visit elsewhere, but on one of my trips, I made a visit to Kalona, a community settled by the Amish and located about thirty-five miles south of the Amana Colonies.
With an Amish settlement so close to the Amana Colonies, it’s little wonder there’s so much confusion about the settlers of Kalona and those of the Amana Colonies. In other blogs, I’ve mentioned some of the many differences between the two religious groups, but today I thought I’d tell you a little about some of the sightseeing opportunities in Kalona.

If you go to Amana and can take a little extra time, drive south to Kalona and visit the Quilt and Textile Museum where they feature both Amish and English quilts. I snapped pictures of ones I thought quite unique, but I couldn’t get a good angle on those that were on the beds.

And don’t miss the authentic 1800’s Kalona Historic Village where you can visit and explore pioneer life in thirteen authentic buildings. Each structure is painstakingly restored and filled with interesting and informative displays depicting the rugged years when immigrant settlers tamed the prairie.You can visit the Rock Island Railroad station, just as it appeared back in the 1800′s. That’s it below.


Or you can visit an authentic log cabin–that’s my sister standing outside the log cabin–talkl about cramped quarters!You’ll find more spacious living in the Wahl Victoria home that’s furnished with gorgeous furniture and antiques.


I also stopped to visit the “spinners’ shop,” where I snapped a picture of this spinner’s weasel, also known as a clock reel. It’s a mechanical yarn measuring device consisting of a spoked wheel with gears attached to a pointer on a marked face (which looks like a clock) and an internal mechanism which makes a “pop” sound after the desired length of yarn is measured (usually a skein). So just in case you ever wondered how that little ditty “Pop Goes the Weasel” came about, now you know.
And don’t leave without a visit to the Kalona Cheese Factory where you can watch cheese being made, try a few samples and purchase some to take home!
May you find joy as you discover something new each day. ~Judy


  • Lane Hill House says:

    “Pop Goes the Weasel”

    How interesting! Thank you, Judy, for that little tidbit.

    A penny for a spool of thread,
    A penny for a needle—
    That’s the way the money goes,
    Pop! goes the weasel.

    Makes sense now. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  • Elaine Jordan says:

    A few years after moving to Cedar Rapids, a friend introduced me to Kalona (about 50 miles South). We now try to go as often as possible – there’s many antique shops, a few wonderful quilt shops, an Amish bakery downtown & our 2 regular stops – Stringtown Grocery & the Maple Ave. Greenhouse – both Amish owned. There are also several barn quilts in Washington County (the County that Kalona is located in).

    • jamauthor says:

      Hi Elaine,
      Kalona really is a neat community. If I have time when I’m in Amana for Maifest on May 3 and 4th, I hope to make a stop in Kalona–it’s been a while since I’ve made it down there!

Leave a Reply to Elaine Jordan Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *