Connecting to Iowa’s People and Places

By Brianne Sanchez, Contributing Editor 

This year marks my 15th anniversary as an “Iowan by choice.” I transplanted here fresh out of college, arriving for an internship that turned into a job that introduced me to my husband—a fellow journalism nerd who was working the night desk at the paper. At the same time, I was also falling in love with a community. My Iowa is as much about the people as it is the rolling hills and cornfields and spectacular sunsets.

What I love about reporting stories is that it gives me a reason to reach out to interesting, creative folks like the team behind Public Space One, which you’ll read about here. (Traveling to Iowa City for that story also gave me an opportunity to treat myself to dinner at the Trumpet Blossom Cafe, a cozy vegan restaurant.)

In the decade and a half that I’ve lived in Des Moines, I’ve prioritized experiencing the state and county parks that preserve critical ecosystems and provide respite from city life. Backpacking within state boundaries has always been on my bucket list, and I share my Wander Women experience in the Loess Hills near Council Bluffs here.

As an editor, I was able to vicariously enjoy the sites in northwest Iowa without ever visiting that part of the state. Megan Bannister’s 36-hour trip (here) there stuck with me so much that I was able to make recommendations to a group stopping through on their way to RAGBRAI—and it made me jealous I couldn’t tag along.

I also love stories that teach me something. Our piece about local roasters (here) will introduce you to several business owners who’ve opened cafes across the state, including in some small towns. It also explains what sets a mug of craft coffee apart from your average cup of joe.

The best compliment to our editorial team would be hearing from those of you who were inspired by a story to try something new or support the work of neighbors you discovered through these pages. By connecting with one another, we keep Iowa interesting for us all.

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