Slightly OT - Tell me about Manchester, Iowa

Discussion in 'Football' started by okeefe4prez, May 18, 2020.

  1. okeefe4prez

    okeefe4prez Well-Known Member

    My buddy was supposed to have a destination wedding in August, but The Germ has forced a change of venue. His bride is from Manchester, IA, and they are talking about doing the wedding in Manchester. I am all for it. Now, to my knowledge, I've never been to Manchester, but when I looked at it on the map and saw it is down Highway 20 from Fort Dodge, I figured it must be pretty awesome. So to those of you have been there, can you please fill me in on it? Things to do, places to see, must eat restaurants, best tenderloin in the region, etc. I plan to take my boy over to the toy tractor museum in Dyersville and maybe to see the Field if that is open. Anything else in that area I should go check out? Thanks.
  2. Northside Hawk

    Northside Hawk Well-Known Member

    It's nowhere near Fort Dodge. It's actually smack in the middle of Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque. And it's about 25 minutes from Field of Dreams (where as of now the August 13 White Sox-Yankees game is still on)

    Any local supper club should be able to set you up with a nice tenderloin. Two places that come to mind if you're not afraid of driving a bit are Breitbach's in Balltown and The Angus in Prairie du Chien.
  3. peerok

    peerok Well-Known Member

    Sorry but theres not a whole lot of exciting things to do in or around Manchester. You mentioned the Field of Dreams and toy museum which are probably worth the time to see if you're in the area. Other than that, not much that I can think of, but I guess it depends what type of thing you're into

    As far as restaurants, I'd highly reccommend going up to Breitbach's that the PP mentioned.
  4. SmokeTownHawk

    SmokeTownHawk Well-Known Member

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  5. MikeyLikesIowa

    MikeyLikesIowa Well-Known Member

    Manchester was my neck of the woods growing up. There's a fish hatchery just east of town that's great for kids. Whitewater Park is on the Maquoketa River near downtown if you want to go tubing or kayaking. You could also check out the Franklin Street Brewing Company. That's about it for in-town attractions There are some other places to see outside of town, but within 30 minutes. Backbone State Park (the oldest state park in Iowa; 15 minutes straight north) and the Lake Delhi Dam (15 minutes SE; breached in 2010 and rebuilt in 2016) come to mind.

    Manchester actually has quite a few restaurants for it's size, but none of them are "must see" places IMO. There's Dairy Queen, Subway, Pizza Ranch, The Sunset, and Godfather's Pizza on the West side near the Walmart. There's a few mom & pop places and a Burger King & Hardee's across from each other downtown. Lastly, on the East side all by itself is a Pizza Hut. The DQ used to be right next to it, but moved to it's current location many years ago. I've eaten at the Sunset in Manchester a few times and thought it was very good and reasonably priced.

    Breitbach's claims to be the oldest continuously operating restaurant & bar in the state of Iowa. It's been open since August 23,1852, but they had two fires within 10 months of each other in 2007 & 2008. It's still a good restaurant, but not as good as it was before the fires. It's not worth the 50 minute drive from Manchester unless you also want to check out the beautiful scenery overlooking the Mississippi River on the NW side of Balltown.

    As previously mentioned, Dyersville's about 20 minutes straight East on Highway 20 and there's much more to see there. They have the Field of Dreams, National Farm Toy Museum, Plaza Antique Mall, and the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier.

    If there's one place you must go to try the food, it's Chad's Pizza in Dyersville. The dining area is small, but their pizza is amazing. It's on the same level as the Wig & Pen in Coralville IMO.
  6. Fryowa

    Fryowa Well-Known Member

    Hate to be that guy but Field of Dreams is a letdown.

    The field is not the original one, nor is it in the original spot. There are bleachers similar to the ones you see in the movie which is ok for picture opportunities and the house is still there, but you are going to be generally underwhelmed. The Porta Pots don't help.

    That said, if you are a baseball fanatic like myself, FOD is one of those necessary Meccas that you should probably just check out to say you’ve been there. My kid and I love baseball and the movie and we can say we’ve played catch there, so there’s that, but after going once I don’t feel a need to go back until when or if I have a grandkid.
  7. Northside Hawk

    Northside Hawk Well-Known Member

    I've been there twice, once for a QVC live remote when they hired local people to run cameras for their shows, and once with the MediaCom bunch.

    Have never taken my kids there and don't intend to. And I live less than an hour from it. The two families that owned it liked to be media hounds once in a while, alternating between saying they were feuding then saying all is well.

    I liked the movie enough that it would probably scrape the top ten of my all time favorite baseball movies but a huge part of my interest came from spotting the local landmarks in the movie.
    Fryowa likes this.
  8. Fryowa

    Fryowa Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I’d hate to be someone from a different part of the country who thinks if they make the trip it’s some sort of cool movie experience, just to show up and go, “What the hell is this?”

    It’s a (very) rough approximation of the field in a totally different spot and orientation, a couple porta pots, and a shack where you can buy keychains and coffee cups.

    If you’re a baseball person and happen to be in the area, bring a glove and check it out just because. If not, it isn’t worth the trip.
  9. okeefe4prez

    okeefe4prez Well-Known Member

  10. okeefe4prez

    okeefe4prez Well-Known Member

    Is Rookie of the Year number one on your list of baseball movies?
  11. okeefe4prez

    okeefe4prez Well-Known Member

    thedukeofearl and MelroseHawkins like this.
  12. MikeyLikesIowa

    MikeyLikesIowa Well-Known Member

    I have to agree. I went there once sometime in the early 1990s and thought it was a big letdown. IIRC it was still pretty much what you saw in the movie back then, but it didn't live up to the hype IMO.

    I haven't been back there since. We plan to take our kids there someday, but only because we live an hour from it. It wouldn't even be a blip on my "gotta see it" radar if we didn't live so close to it. I'm just curious to see it again to compare it's present state to how it was the last time I saw it.

    Major League is my favorite baseball movie. That cast was spectacular. You gotta watch it uncensored though. The TV airings always cut out the good vulgar stuff which includes a lot of funny one-liners that make the movie great. This is probably in my top five list of best movies ever.

    There's one thing I forgot to mention about Chad's Pizza. They have a small ledge that kids can stand on and watch them make the pizza. I always thought this was cool when I was a kid.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  13. Northside Hawk

    Northside Hawk Well-Known Member

    Gotta be the original Bad News Bears. I was at the perfect age for it. When coach Turner slaps his own kid for throwing at Engelberg and it gets so quiet you can hear the traffic on the nearby highway it was a memorable movie scene. Coach Roy immediately knows he has gone too far but, hey, this is for the championship, so he has to sell the effect anyway.
  14. Ree4

    Ree4 Well-Known Member

    Angels in the Outfield
  15. ssckelley

    ssckelley Well-Known Member

    The field is on the original spot and is mostly original, except left field. After the movie the Ameskamp's, who owned that part of the land plowed it up and returned it to farmland but the Lansings did not. In fact part of the reasons why it is a tourist destination today is because Don Lansing left the field as it was and allowed people on to the field to play catch on it. I'm not sure if the stands, backstop, lights are all original but the field is in it's original location.

    Here is a good story about the history of FoD:
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  16. ssckelley

    ssckelley Well-Known Member

    The best thing about Manchester is the smell of the pig farms surrounding it. Take it all in Okeef, you could use some of that country air! lol

    As others have mentioned there is nothing special about the dining experience in Manchester, I don't even think you can get a decent tenderloin in that town. I think their best place is a dive Mexican restaurant situated downtown and I can't remember the name of it.
  17. MikeyLikesIowa

    MikeyLikesIowa Well-Known Member

    The Sunset is a pretty good place with a wide variety of food to choose from and they serve breakfast all day. They serve a tenderloin, but I've never had it. You can also get a tenderloin at April's Downtown Diner. That place just opened last summer so I haven't been there yet.

    The Mexican restaurant was the Rio Blanco which permanently closed in February. I ate there a couple times with the wife and thought it was great. It was highly regarded by the locals and many were surprised & upset when they closed. They actually have a location in Dyersville which was closed temporarily earlier this year (before the COVID-19 pandemic), but is now open again.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  18. RobHowe

    RobHowe Administrator

    Take my kids to FOD every year in August when the corn is high and many of the tourists are gone. We eat lunch in town and enjoy the tradition.

  19. MikeyLikesIowa

    MikeyLikesIowa Well-Known Member

    Next time you go, check out Chad's Pizza if you haven't already. You won't be disappointed.
  20. RobHowe

    RobHowe Administrator

    Thanks. Will do. We kind of bounce around depending on the mood.