There’s nothing like a good road trip with a girlfriend. In August I hopped in the car with my bestie and we headed to the east side of the state–Davenport bound. With cameras in tow, we hopped on the interstate and attempted to escape the rain hovering over the central part of the state.
Since I’ve never been east of Iowa City, this was all new for me. We had picked out a few places to visit ahead of time: the Vander Veer Botanical Center, Credit Island Park, Nahant Marsh, Centennial Park, and lunch at Me & Billy Kitchen and Bar.
The marsh was our first stop. After walking around on trails surrounded by wildflowers and prairie grasses for a while we came across another photographer who stopped to share his photos with us and point out a few spots where he was having some luck shooting butterflies. So, with that information at hand, we headed toward the area he pointed out and did a little butterfly chasing of our own.
Our next stop was Credit Island Park to check out the Sunday in the Park sculptures, depicting the figures of the George Seurat painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”
We took a long lunch at Me & Billy Kitchen and Bar while another storm rolled through the area. This spot was well worth the drive to Davenport–the food was delicious and the services was wonderful. We started the meal with their Summer Goon’s–crispy fried wantons filled with cream cheese, pineapple, and jalapeno with a Sriracha honey sauce (so good we considered ordering more and have since contemplated how to recreate them at home). Then we devoured crab salad sandwiches and their homemade fries. I rounded out my meal with their Sticky Chocolate Cake (which, to any chocolate lover, basically translates to heaven on a plate covered in caramel sauce).
Once the rain had nearly stopped we headed back out to explore some more. Our next stop was the Vander Veer Botanical Center. The Center had a large pond with a couple of fountains and a flock of ducks scattered about; an indoor area filled with numerous plant varieties; one of the most beautiful rose gardens I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing; several unique statutes scattered about; and a tree-lined walkway that cut through the center of the grounds, leading to a large fountain.
We ended the trip with a walk along the river to capture some shots of Centennial Bridge. While I wasn’t over thrilled with the shots I got, it was still a pretty awesome view. I couldn’t decide if I liked it better in color or black and white, so I’m giving you both–you decide which edit is most appealing. And, since I’ve never been to Illinois before, we trekked across it on our way back from Rock Island, so I can now officially check another state of my “traveled to” list.