Seniors Enjoy a Dutch Touch in Pella

If senior travelers have driven through Iowa on Interstate 80 you have probably noticed such places as the Amana Colonies and the Danish communities of Elkhorn and Kimballton. Pella is a Dutch oriented community. I have Dutch friend who loved to say “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.”

There are interesting things to see and do in the town of 10,350+,  including Central College where yours truly earned his MA degree at the Sorbonne in Paris. Central College was founded by the Baptists in 1853, when a fellow called Scholte gave them 160 acres of land. The name “Pella” is a reference to Pella in Jordan where the Christians of Jerusalem found refuge during the Roman-Jewish war of 70.

Pella was founded in 1847 by 800 Dutch immigrants led by Henry Peter Scholte. Scholte and the other immigrants were fleeing famine and religious persecution at the hands of the state church of the Netherlands. Pella is the childhood home of Wyatt Earp. Today Pella is famous for Tulip Time, the annual spring tulip festival.

Senior visitors can’t miss the dutch windmill called the Vermeer Mill which was imported from Holland and is 100% wind driven. The mill is an eye catcher in the historic village and visitors will not find a larger working windmill in the entire US. It was constructed in parts in the Netherlands and then assembled by two dutch craftsmen on location in Pella. You can tour the mill.

Tulip Time Festival in Pella Attracts Seniors

Tulip Time is one event that seniors will not want to miss.  Thousands and thousands of colorful tulips of every nature and color all over town. Tulip Festival is filled with parades, costumes, flowers, street scrubbing, Dutch dancing, crafts, food, music and good Dutch food. Yes they actually scrub down the streets wearing, what else, wooden shoes. Watch skilled crafters at work quilting, spinning, weaving, knitting, tatting, crocheting, woodworking and making pottery.  Stop and watch the blacksmith doing his craft and the steam engine with the whistle blowing occasionally, as well as a Quilt Show.

In Pella you’ll find many family names here that end with Van something like Van Gorp, Van Hauen, Van Woerkom, Van Wyk and Van Maanen and names like Dykstra, Kuiper and Zylstra and Bokhoven. If you have heard of Pella Windows, this town is home base for this company that is world renown for quality products. The Vermeer Corporation, headquarted in Pella, is a family-owned company that manufactures agricultural, environmental and construction equipment.

One special treat that senior visitors must try is Dutch Letters at Jaarsma Bakery. The family owned-and-operated bakery, located in historic Pella has been baking delicious “Dutch Treats” for over a century. Pella is unique. I think that you will enjoy just walking around the town and enjoying the ambiance and friendly folks who call Pella home.  jeb



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