Previous Image
Next Image

There is an almost hidden gem tucked away in South Central Iowa. Most travelers cruise right by it on the freeways, unaware of what it has to offer. Snuggled just south of I-80 and west of I-35, Madison County is a classical slice of Americana right here in our own neighborhood. Mostly unnoticed until Robert James Waller’s novel “The Bridges of Madison County” hit the book stores in 1992, it really came to the forefront with the release of the movie in 1995, starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, and subsequently the Broadway Musical in 2014. 

Now we are going to take some time and visit this historic and iconic place and discover what is so special about it. You’ll be drawn by the unhurried pace and the peaceful rural beauty that inspired this now famous story in the first place. The village of Winterset rests comfortably around Courthouse Square, representative of so many town squares Iowa is so famous for. Take a stroll around the square still complete with a Ben Franklin, Rexall Drug and Northside Café! Experience all of this, plus five beautiful, historic covered bridges all constructed between 1870 and 1884! And after we’ve really been there and seen it for ourselves, we get to see the musical and realize, Wow, I’ve been there!” 


Day 1 – Home to West Des Moines, IA

Only about an hour down the road we make our first meaningful stop. A guided tour of the Faribault Woolen Mills. A real live “Made in the USA” success story, this family owned business was recently invited to the White House to present their products and business to the President himself. We will get to experience first hand why Minnesota quality received so much attention. Continuing on our journey, lunch will be on your own before we visit Van Meter, Iowa. Why there you ask?! This little hamlet of about 1,000 souls is very proud to be the hometown of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller! Some of you will remember “Rapid Robert” as one of the most famous and prolific pitchers in Major League Baseball history. There is a first class museum honoring Feller’s feats and life that we have the privilege of visiting. He never pitched in the minor leagues, starting his career with the Cleveland Indians at the age of 17 and is believed by many as the fastest pitcher to ever play the game. We’ll enjoy our welcome dinner this evening at one of our favorite places, The Machine Shed.

Included Meals: Dinner 

Hotel: Drury Inn (2 Nights) 


Day 2 – Madison County

After a great Drury Inn hot breakfast, we are off to Madison County. We are privileged today to have our own local expert guide to tell us the history and story of this colorful place. We will visit the picturesque covered bridges, the most well known being the Roseman Bridge featured in the book and movie, “The Bridges of Madison County.” The Holliwell Bridge is the longest bridge at 122 feet and is featured in the movie. Three other bridges, the Cutler-Donahoe, Hogback and Imes are famous in their own right and are featured as well. Maybe even more popular than the bridges though is the birthplace of John Wayne. John began his life in Winterset in 1907 and we will visit the 4 room house now replete with Wayne memorabilia. Next what fun it will be to have lunch at Northside Café where Robert stops for coffee, and then see the Pheasant Run Tavern, the stone Bridge in Winterset’s City Park, and the Middle River Ford. The Winterset Cidery and the Iowa Quilt Museum, featuring the amazing work of Victoria Findlay Wolfe, are also on our agenda. You’ll have time to also enjoy strolling the sidewalks of Winterset town square, the home of the beautiful Madison County courthouse! This is a memorable day we will long remember! Dinner is on your own this evening with a number of restaurants surrounding the hotel or just stay at the Drury and enjoy their great “kickback” offerings, usually enough to satisfy your palette!

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Manager’s Reception 


Day 3 – West Des Moines to Moline, IL

You’ll have time to savor the morning and another Drury breakfast before we pull up stakes and head east. We’ll spend a little time in the Amana colonies, with an included lunch at the Ox Yoke Inn! Our evening’s destination isn’t too far away so we’ll make a special stop in West Branch at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. It’s another one of those “hidden gems” we usually hurry by on our way to some faraway place! After spending a full day in Madison County yesterday, we now get to witness the whole story of “The Bridges of Madison County” coming to life in the superb Broadway musical version of this famous novel! Watching Circa 21 Dinner Theatre’s marvelous production, we relate to each scene and song saying to ourselves, “Wow! I’ve been there!”

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Hotel: Stoney Creek Inn


Day 4 – Moline to Home

We motor home today, and with the journey not being too demanding, we have time for a pleasant stop at The Little Brown Church in the Vale. This picturesque and historic church in Nashua, Iowa, was built in 1864 and was made famous by the song, “The Church in the Wildwood.” The church attracts thousands of visitors each year, and barring any unforeseen interruptions, we’ve arranged for a church representative to give us a tour and share the history and uniqueness of this still functioning place of worship.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Motorcoach Per Person Pricing Information

Double: $899
Single: $1,099
Triple: $849
Quad: $819

Motorcoach Travel Protection Per Person

Double: $53
Single: $67

Travel Bucks

$20 Travel Bucks per person earned with this tour

Deposit Due

$100 deposit per person due at time of reservation. Full payment due 30 days prior to depart.

Passport Needed


Tour Pace

Moderate Walking

Price Includes

6 Meals, Lodging & Activities as stated in brochure, Luxury Motorcoach

The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 77°
Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
Minneapolis, Mn
Bridges of Madison County
Motorcoach Departure Date:
Motorcoach Return Date:

Make a Reservation Online

Tour Map

Tour Highlights

Faribault Woolen Mills Tour
Van Meter, Iowa – Home of Bob Feller
Full Day Guided Tour of Madison County
Five Picturesque Covered Bridges
Boyhood Home of John Wayne & Museum
Famous Northside Café
Iowa Quilt Museum
Winterset Iowa Courthouse Square
Ox Yoke Inn – Amana Colonies
Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum
Circa 21 Dinner Theatre
“Bridges of Madison County” Musical
Little Brown Church in the Vale

Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
Minneapolis, Mn
Bridges of Madison County
The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 77°
Dedicated to presenting the greatness of God through the beauty of His Creation.