"Mom...we're boredddd"

If you're looking for something fun to do with your family this summer, pick out a small town in Iowa and go explore. Most of them have several unique things to offer. You can fill up your day relatively inexpensively. Plan a day trip to an area town's swimming pool, and I bet you'll find a nice playground, a park to play in, and maybe even a "splash pad" as well. Then stroll down Main Street, and check out the locally-owned "mom & pop" stores and maybe even find an ice cream shop. After all that, the kids will be too tired to complain about being bored.

Our "Small Town Iowa" series continues in Vinton

When people talk about Vinton, they usually say, "isn't that where the "School for the Blind" is located? Now known as the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. But now there's a new attraction, and it's something you won't find anywhere else in the nation.

Nathan's Miles Glow Trail

What started as a "Trail to Nowhere”, was transformed into the longest glow-in-the-dark trail in the nation.  After drawing inspiration from trails in Europe that glow, Vinton Parks and Rec Director, Matt Boggess and late city council member and Vinton Unlimited Director Nathan Hesson came up with the idea for the six-foot-wide, two-mile trail section embedded with glow-in-the-dark material.

Credit: Shive-Hattery via Facebook
Credit: Shive-Hattery via Facebook

As his high school sweetheart and wife, Ashley Hesson says in the video below, Nathan loved being involved in their hometown's activities, "he was always really interested in being a part of that and wanting to help and support it as much as he could".

In the video, she explained that the name "Nathan's Miles" has a double meaning. First, because it sounds like "Nathan smiles".  He was always known for having a big smile on his face. And secondly, as "Nathan's Miles", because the trail winds by the Hesson's house, church, schools that they attended, and a park where their kids played.

How does the glow-in-the-dark trail work?

As WHO-13 reported, the 3,000 pounds of glow stones created by Ambient Glow Technology harness the energy of the sun to keep it lit at night. The stones were spread – by hand – on the concrete trail as it was being poured. The stones require only 15 minutes of sunshine to glow for 15 hours.

Credit: Shive-Hattery via Facebook
Credit: Shive-Hattery via Facebook

How do I find the glow-in-the-dark trail?

Speaking from experience, be careful if your GPS is navigating you to the trail. Let's just say, Siri gets confused easily. The easiest way to explain it is, the trail starts directly behind the high school building on the southern edge of Vinton. It runs from the high school southward then returns to town.

Bring your friends and family and check it out for yourself. There's nothing quite like a relaxing moon-lit walk through the countryside. It's a chance to "get away from it all" and sneak in some exercise while you're at it!

Ashley Hesson talks about her husband Nathan in the video below

More Small Town Iowa: Matchstick Marvels Museum in Gladbrook

Don't miss out on what people from all around the world have come to see. The museum is located at 319 2nd Street in Gladbrook. Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, or by appointment.

Small Town Iowa: Bily Clocks Museum in Spillville - Photo Gallery

No photo can do "justice" to show the true beauty of these historic clocks. You have to see them in person to fully appreciate the intricacy of each piece, along with their working and moving parts. Plus, the relaxing sounds of the chimes going off or music playing. Before you make the trip to Spillville to see them for yourself, let's take a virtual trip and see the highlights of Frank and Joseph Bily's work. (Photos taken by permission)

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