I’ve blogged about Ottumwa a lot. I’ve never lived there, but my brother has for years, his wife has all her life, and my parents moved there in 2005 … so I’ve visited many times, and gotten to know the area (and many of her people) fairly well.
From Wikipedia: “Ottumwa is a city in and the county seat of Wapello County, Iowa … (t)he population was 25,023 at the 2010 census. Located in southeastern Iowa, the city is split into northern and southern halves by the Des Moines River.”
It’s called “The City of Bridges” because of the many bridge crossings over the Des Moines River, but, as my Dad commented when we were driving – and as I observed with my semi-photographic and -traveler eye – it could also be called “The City of Churches.” According to this site, there are over eighty churches in the city – many of them are older historic buildings, and those are the ones I respond to as a visitor/tourist. I intend to take a photography tour during a future visit! (Hmmmm … can that be classified as “blog foreshadowing”??!)
But this trip I *did* get to a place I’d wanted to visit since it opened in 2007. According to their website, “The Bridge View Center … is nestled on the banks of the Des Moines River and is the crown jewel for the City of Ottumwa. This 92,000 square foot complex features an Expo Hall, adjoining conference/meeting space, a state-of the art Theater and a Grand Lobby that welcomes you in! It is fast becoming the premier destination in SE Iowa for concerts, theatrical events and conventions.”
My Dad invited his lady friend, my brother and sister-in-law, and me to the Dinner and Pops Concert by the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, featuring Michael Philipsen performing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
We joined many other Ottumwa residents for a catered dinner; the tables were set up in the area with huge windows overlooking the Ottumwa Trail Walk along the Des Moines River and a few of the sculptures. It was a beautiful evening outside; bicyclists and walkers passed by. Before dinner I stood at a window and tried to get photos of a couple of the outside sculptures in the approaching-dusk sky … not too successfully.
The dinner and concert were enjoyable, the soloist was fantastic … but spending the time with family was the highlight!
It was a special evening – it was my 55th birthday, I connected electronically with my husband and my daughters, I immersed myself in an experience, building, and event I hadn’t had the opportunity to enjoy before, and I spent time laughing with family and listening to live music. After the concert I joined my Dad (and Chloe, of course!) for a nightcap in his apartment. What better way to celebrate the day?!