It was the next to last stop on an epic 6 week, nearly 10000 mile trip, and we were convinced there was nothing left to see. Just a quick night at Quad Cities, then somewhere in Ohio, and then we’d finally be home. We’ve driven between Illinois and Virginia so many times and after the wonders we had seen from Santa Fe to Craters of the Moon, we did not expect that our adventure was packing on more surprise – Quad Cities!

Corn like Candy

The Quad Cities are the Mississippi River towns of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois. We arrived in Davenport late on a Friday night. With no time to explore, and needing to hit the road again on Saturday, we planned a quick stop at the local farmers market and maybe the John Deere Pavilion if there was time. The Freight House Farmer’s Market in Davenport is a mix of buildings and parking lots on the Mississippi River. When we arrived on a gray Saturday morning in August, the Market was buzzing with activity from vendors to shoppers, like long time friends welcoming and sharing with each other.

The star of the Market was the corn. Vendors held out half opened ears imporing “try this” “take a bite” “sweeter than candy!” They were right. Sweet like candy, but firm and fresh. The corn was surreal. If you like corn, drive to Freight House Farmer’s Market during sweet corn season (e.g. July/August) and you will not be disappointed. We promise. We left the Market with armfuls of corn, some local honey, and other treats for the road.

Monster Machines

After the Market, we crossed the Mississippi River to explore the massive John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL. What is the John Deere Pavilion? Think John Deere Museum meets John Deere Showroom meets John Deere Pretend-Play. The pavilion is one big open space filled with the latest John Deere equipment along with historical artifacts, fun activities, and a huge gift shop.

For our kids, the highlight was climbing into the driver’s seat of every piece of equipment and taking them for a ride, at least in their mind. After an hour or so at the Pavilion, everyone was ready for lunch. So we asked the gift shop staff for suggestions and they all agreed we should visit Lagomarcino’s.

When we typed Lagomarcino into Google to find it’s location and learn more, we were immediately sold by one word. Chocolate. With more than 100 years of history, this family-owned Moline landmark has a tempting array chocolates, ice cream, and an old fashioned soda-fountain/deli. It was a short drive to Lagomarcino’s from the John Deere Pavilion and we parked right in front. We enjoyed a quick deli-style lunch at Lagomarcino’s and saved room for dessert – a classic Lagomarcino ice cream sundae – Lagomarcino ice cream, Lagomarcino hot fudge, Lagomarcino awesomeness!

As we left Quad Cities for home, our quick morning had extended into a late lunch and then an even later arrival at our next stop in Ohio. But it was worth it. From corn, truly sweeter than candy, to John Deere’s showpiece, to actual candy and delicious ice cream from Lagomarcino, Quad Cities was a sweet surprise. We look forward to a longer visit on our next trip, and in the meantime we’ll be dreaming of the corn like candy and monster machines.

Full Van Fun is all about families, parents and children together sharing farm to family food, epic travel, great music, and more. Whether it is stories about incredible destinations like Flaming Gorge, interviews with family friendly musicians like Mista Cookie Jar, authors like Daniel Pinkwater, or learning more about the #FarmtoFamilyFoodChain with chefs like Fabio Viviani and Jonathon Sawyer, sign up for our mailing list so you don’t miss any of them! Follow Us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for even more! 

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