Continuing on with the photos from my recent Iowa Adventure…….on my second full day, I stayed a little closer to Dubuque – the farthest I traveled that day was a little over an hour. My first stop was about 20 minutes outside Dubuque and was the main purpose for my decision to target that area for my adventure – Dyersville, Iowa! Dyersville is where one of my all time favorite movies – The Field of Dreams – was filmed. The house and baseball field in the corn field remains as it was in the movie and family members of the owner of the house work the souvenir shop and run the house tours. Visitors are encouraged to bring balls and bats and go out on the field to play a little game or “have a catch” – in fact, there was a family doing just that while I was there. The house is open to guided tours, which are very well presented, extremely informative, and fun! At several points during the tour, Clarence – our tour guide – stopped and offered to take photos of us in various key places around the house. It was fantastic!
I got to Dyersville early because I wanted to tour the St. Francis Xavier Basilica and get some breakfast before going to the Field of Dreams house. Sooooo glad I did! I walked into the Basilica and instantly took in a deep breath and didn’t breathe again until I stepped back outside! I could have just sat there and enjoyed the beauty for a good long while, but they were preparing for a funeral, so I looked around, snapped some photos, and left. When I got to the diner for breakfast, my waitress – who learned I was visiting from NY through our conversation – suggested I go there. When I said I already did and how much I enjoyed it, she told me that they had an amazing priest who took several years to painstakingly restore it to the original decor. It was built in the late 1880s to accommodate a growing German and Irish Catholic congregation. But, sometime in the mid-1900s, the congregation at the time decided to put all the statues in the attic for safe keeping and painted everything white! The priest who felt that was a crime and wanted to restore it went to the company who made the original paint and found records of the colors and bought all the colors to be the exact colors used when it was built…..including the gold leaf! He also brought down all the statues from the attic and it is now fully restored based on photos and records from the time it was built! Incredible!
The restaurant I found to have breakfast was wonderful, too……just up the street from the Basilica (the last photo above was taken from my parking spot just down from the front door). If I remember right, it was called the Dyersville Family Diner. Dyersville is a pretty little town with very friendly people.
After breakfast, I headed over to the Field of Dreams House.
For those who are not familiar with the movie — I HIGHLY recommend you rent it, stream it, whatever you need to do to watch this amazing movie! It isn’t just about baseball……it is about father/son relationships and redemption for the choices we make in our lives. And, it is incredible! In a nutshell, Ray Kinsella owns a farm. He begins to hear voices telling him “If you build it, he will come”. He has no idea what they are talking about, but knows in his heart that it is important. Soon, he is given a vision of a baseball field with lights in the middle of his corn field. So, despite having the towns people and his own family thinking he’s gone nuts, he plows under a large portion of his corn field and builds this baseball field. Nothing happens for a while, but soon his daughter tells him to look out at the field cause there is a man there…..he looks and goes out to find out it is the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson – a disgraced player for the 1919 Chicago White Sox – a team Ray’s father, who he had a troubled relationship with, idolized. Shoeless Joe bats some balls with Ray and tells him there are others who would like to come play and soon there is enough of the great ball players of his time to have actual games. The story goes on from there……I won’t spoil it for you…..but, if you haven’t seen it, you really need to!!!
I wanted to get a selfie sitting on the bleachers from the movie, but they were way too wet to sit on…..so, this will have to do!
Had to get a photo of me on the porch swing!
Clarence – our tour guide – explaining that this stove is the only prop the movie folks left behind after the movie – because it was too heavy to carry back out! haha
Ray, Annie, and Karin Kinsella family photo (Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, and Gaby Hoffmann)
The window “Ray” was looking out when he first saw the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta)
Standing on the staircase where “Ray” and “Annie” realized they both had the same dream about “Ray” sitting in Fenway Park eating a hotdog with author “Terrence Mann” (James Earl Jones)
The breaker where they turned the lights on the baseball field
It is now home to a family of birds
Kevin Costner carved this in the wood on the bleachers — it says “Ray Loves Annie”!
Most of the ghost players appeared out of the corn field between the light post and the flag pole
There are “Ghost Players” games throughout the summer that the public can come watch. Also, once a year, they host a game with various famous baseball players that draws a huge crowd. It is quite an amazing place!!! It was a real thrill to be there and see it all!
And……it made my day to ask one of the volunteers “Is this Heaven?” and have them respond “No, it’s Iowa!” 😀
It just goes to show……If you build it, they will come!!!