Shopping and a winter walk in Pella, Iowa.

Pella isn’t just a spring or tulip time town. It’s just as charming for a winter shopping spree and a short winter walk to check out the holiday decorations. Pella is located just an hour southeast of Des Moines and my wife and I have made many trips to Pella, but mostly during the spring to see their annual tulip festival. If you’re interested in another short winter walk, be sure to check out a winter walk in Sunken Gardens in Pella.

For this trip, we planned to get some quick shopping in before the stores closed, then I would have some time to photography the downtown area with its holiday lights.

Location: 720 Franklin Pella, IA 50219

This small windmill is located in Central Park on Pella’s town square. It serves as a tourist information booth for most of the year.

Holiday lights in Central Park

Central Park sits within Pella’s town square and is the hub for most of their holiday lights. The most recent addition is the tunnel of lights, which probably gets (and deserves) most of the attention. Don’t be surprised if run across a marriage proposal while you’re onsite, it’s a magic place.

For 2023, the lighting ceremony at Central Park is scheduled for Monday, Nov 20th.

The tunnel of lights in Central Park is magical!
Another great selfie location with holiday lights within Central Park

A stop at a Bakery is a must

When in Pella, you must visit the bakeries there are here’s three: Jaarsma, Vander Ploeg, and Cranberry Stone.

Jaarsma is perhaps the best-known bakery, being family-owned and operated since 1898. Vander Ploeg has technically been around longer, since 1847. It started as a bakery and grocery store, eventually evolving into a bakery only. Both Jaarsma and Vander Ploeg carry all of the traditional Dutch pastries.

Check out this towering gingerbread house which we saw through the front windows of Vander Ploeg bakery.

The storefronts all carry the Dutch feeling throughout the downtown area. This specific view is on Franklin St, across from Central Park

Looking east down Franklin Street towards the Vermeer Windmill.

YouTube video

A short video showing the holiday decorations you’ll find at Blush by Simple Treasures on Franklin Street in Pella, Iowa.

The red lines are from the tail lights of cars as they moved down Franklin Street in Pella, Iowa.

The tall four-story building is home to Pella’s Opera House which is a live entertainment venue.

When mama needs wine, she makes a trip to the Wijn House. It’s packed with all the best local wines and frequently has sampling sessions so you can try them out to find just the right one.

A sampling of the other gifts and decorations available at the Wijn House in Pella, Iowa.

We also walked through “The Work of our Hands – International Crafts”, which features unique crafts from around the world. They do a great job of labeling where everything is from and many times, they include a short story on who and where it was produced.

The Vermeer Windmill

The Vermeer Windmill is the tallest operating windmill in the United States. It was shipped to the US and assembled in 2002. The windmill is situated on the Historic Village and is open to the public with an admission price. The tour features:

The Vermeer windmill: You’ll visit the inside of the working windmill including climbing all five stories to the top for a view of Pella.

The historic village features the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp, a grist mill, a replica of the first church in Pella, and the Werkplatts, where wooden shoes are made.

Wyatt Earps Experience: A new exhibit on the life of Wyatt Earp, who grew up in Pella, Iowa.

The Miniature Village features a detailed miniature Dutch village that was originally started in 1938.

Ice Skaters with their winter scarfs in front of Vermeer Windmill.

Molengracht Canal

From Vermeer Windmill, we walked across the street to the entrance of the Molengracht Canal.

Built in 2001, the Molengracht Plaza is located in Pella’s central business district. It was built to replicate an authentic Dutch square and includes a 5,720 square foot canal that holds approximately 100,000 gallons of water.

The storefront windows along the Molengracht Canal are nicely decorated for the holidays.

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