Friends from California ask “Why did you decide to move to Iowa?”
Why would long-time Los Angeles County, California residents strike out for a new home in Winterset, Iowa?
We chose to move to Winterset because we searched for Mayberry, and this is as close as it gets.
With a population of 5,190, Winterset is the seat of Madison County, Iowa. That’s Madison County of Covered Bridges of Madison County fame, in the rolling hills of southern central Iowa. The total population of the entire county is 15,000; a long-shot from L.A. county with over 9,900,000. Rush hour here is when there are more than 8 cars on the street at the same time!
Here, we wake to birdsong instead of circling helicopters.
Here, strangers make eye contact and wave or nod; a stranger no more.
We rented a vintage 1870 house, two blocks from the town square, to serve as home base until we are sure we’ve made the right decision to come here. At nine months, we’ve now been through 3 seasons, and love the town more with the passing of each. If we can survive the hot, steamy Midwest summer it should be a done deal.
Here’s a little video showing the town at the annual Covered Bridge festival. This was recorded a couple of years ago, but is exactly the scene we saw at the 2012 festival shortly after we arrived.