Clayton County was formed in 1837 and named after John M. Clayton, a United States Senator and Secretary of State for President Zachary Taylor.
The heavily rural, fifth-largest county in Iowa has about 20,000 residents, with Guttenberg being the largest with around 2,000. Garnavillo hosts the annual county fair, usually in early August.
Elkader, named after Abd el-Kader, was founded in 1846 and incorporated in 1891. Its downtown is designated a Cultural and Entertainment District.
On the far southwestern corner of the county, Strawberry Point boasts an annual Strawberry Days festival in early June. And, Edgewood straddles Clayton County to the north and Delaware County to the south.
Check this out: The Mississippi River. Whether you come upon the awesome aerial view driving north on U.S. 52 or rent a river craft to do some fishing or boating, there are many ways to take advantage of the mighty river in this town. Just a stroll along River Park on a warm summer evening can be relaxing.
Places to stay: The Courthouse Inn, 300 Potter Drive, 618 S. River Park Drive, 888-224-2188; The Landing, a Riverfront Inn, 703 S. River Park Drive, 563-252-1615.
Don’t miss this: River of Music Concert Series, River Park, along the river. The free series of live music events take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays, June-August.
Mississippi River Charters,
- Offers options ranging from a sightseeing cruise or a day of fishing. Their boat can handle six passengers for 2-, 4- or 8-hour trips. For more information, call 319-240-5047.
When you’re hungry: Rausch’s Cafe, 123 U.S. 52, 563-252-2102; Joe’s Pizza, 608 S. River Park Drive, 563-252-2376.
A night on the town? Bootleggers of Millville, U.S. 52, about 5 miles south of Guttenberg, 563-252-7775; The Stadium Bar & Grill, 915 U.S. 52, 563-252-2448.
More on Guttenberg: guttenbergiowa.net
Check this out: The Elkader Opera House, 207 Main St. It was built in 1903 and renovated in 2004. There are two more shows in the six-show 2019 season: “A Year in the Death of Eddie Jester” (June 6, 8-9) and “The Return: A Tribute to the Beatles” (June 21). Seating capacity is 455, and it is available for rental. For more information and ticket prices, go to elkaderoperahouse.com/lab.
Other places to stay: Deer Run Resort, 501 S. High St., 663-245-3337; Elkader Jailhouse Inn,563-580-0041.
Don’t miss this: Elkader Whitewater Park, 211 S Main St., 563-245-2098. Built in 2013 on the Turkey River, it features wide waves, an island and a fish/canoe passage. Check out Turkey River Rentals, 460 High St. SE, 563-245-3802, if you need something to stay above the water.
Osbourne Park & Welcome Center,
- 29862 Osborne Road, 563-245-1516. It offers family friendly, nature-related fun, events and activities.
When you’re hungry: Schera’s Algerian-American Restaurant, 107 S. Main St., 563-245-1992; Fennellys Irish Pub, 105 N. First St., 563-245-3663; Elkader Pizzeria, 127 N. Main St., 563-245-2800.
A night on the town? Drew’s Bar & Grille LLC, 203 S. Main St., 563-245-2541; Gene’s Place, 117 S. Main St., 563-245-1647; Deb’s Brewtopia, 106 Cedar St., 563-880-5666.
More on Elkader: www.elkader-iowa.com