Cheryl Heartsill-Phoun may have relocated for a job, but she and her family found much more in this riverfront city, home to performing arts, historical attractions and dozens of annual festivals.
By Cassie Kreitner
Fun Fact: Quad Cities is the only region in the United States where the Mississippi River runs east to west, rather than north to south.
Our Davenport Family: Cheryl Heartsill-Phoun, Christopher, 11, and Josh, 16.
I grew up 40 miles north of here in Maquoketa, and moved to Davenport 15 years ago to pursue a career in graphic design. It is part of the Quad Cities, a group of five towns along the Iowa-Illinois border. It's convenient having so many nice areas close together, each with its own special features, including great views of the Mississippi River.
The historic Village of East Davenport is a former logging community, home to many 19th-century buildings, quaint cottages, restaurants and specialty shops. Christopher and Josh like to stop at Lagomarcino's, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and confectionery known for its classic sundaes and 93-year-old hot fudge recipe. Across the street is scenic Lindsay Park, which was the site of Camp McClellan, a parade ground for training soldiers during the Civil War.
Both boys love to perform—they play violin in the youth ensembles of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and take lessons at the River Music Experience (RME). It's a great place for young musicians to hang out—Josh often attends Open Mic Night at Mojo's, while Christopher enjoys seeing his instructor's bands jam upstairs in the Redstone Room. This year we plan to start our weekends at Live at 5, a concert held in the RME courtyard on Friday evenings.
The biking and walking paths along the riverfront are our favorite part of downtown. The entrance to the pedestrian Davenport Skybridge is next to the RME and connects LeClaire Park to the Rhythm City Casino. At night the bridge lights up the sky in a kaleidoscope pattern of colors synced to music. On the Fourth of July, we watch the orchestra perform in the park's band shell then head over to the bridge for the Red, White & Boom! fireworks display.
Summer in Davenport is filled with music festivals and sporting events. The RAGBRAI, a weeklong bike ride across the state, ends on July 30, the same day the Bix 7 run/walk races through downtown. The following weekend is the legendary Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Festival, which honors the region's Dixieland style and jazz music roots with live performances. It's great to see the city's past and present come together on the shores of the mighty Mississippi.
Originally published in the July 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.