For you geography nerds, the Mississippi river is not even three hours west of Chicago by I80, beset by four small towns – Moline and Rock Island on the Illinois side of the river and Bettendorf and Davenport on the Iowa side. The Quad Cities are easily intertraversable, creating for an easy weekend gettaway to a growing mid-western region, rich with American history. Should your adventurous bone lead you west, here are a few suggestions.
Beer Awareness Program
Founded in 1997, Bent River Brewing produces handcrafted beers that capture the spirit of traditional brewing and the heart of the Midwest. The Uncommon Stout is considered the most popular of the Bent line-up, and is widely distributed throughout the Quad Cities. My personal favorite was the spicy Jalapeno Pepper Ale, which would easily improve any bloody marry you’ve ever had.
Elk Shank for Dinner
Originally known for “Buffalo Bill” and lately for the American Pickers show on the History Channel, Le Clair, Iowa is one of the fastest growing communities in the QC Metropolitan area, offering a contemporary dining and shopping scene. Go to the Faithful Pilot Cafe on North Cody for an outstanding meal. Try the Elk, try the scallops, and be amazed at how good the food can be when there is more emphasis on the kitchen and less on the decor.
Stay at The Hotel Blackhawk
With its Italian Renaissance and modern Art Deco interiors, this recently renovated historic landmark in the center of Davenport would be considered a top-notch accommodation even if it had stood in Chicago. Never mind that Chief Black Hawk led an unsuccessful resistance against European settlers from the east – once his tribe was pushed out north, everything but the gas station was named after him.
Nothing says caffeine like dead poets. Located in downtown Moline, right near the John Deere Commons, Dead Poet’s Espresso is a cozy shop dedicated to your favorite immortal bards.