A short drive north of Des Moines, Boone makes a nice day trip from the capital. The Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace offers a look at the house where the former first lady lived until age 10, complete with period furnishings. Ledges State Park, just outside town, has intriguing sandstone ledges in an area near the Des Moines River.
Rail buffs have several reasons to visit Boone. One is the Kate Shelley High Bridge, said to be the highest and longest double-track railroad bridge in the U.S. Another is the ride on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, which is powered by a steam locomotive on its weekend runs. Finally, the Kate Shelley Park and Railroad Museum offers exhibits on rail history. Kate Shelley, whose name was given to the bridge and museum, was a 15-year-old girl who crawled across a bridge during a rainstorm in 1881 so that she could warn a passenger train about a collapsed bridge ahead on its route. Pufferbilly Days, a railroad heritage celebration, is held every September in Boone. 50 mi/80 km north of Des Moines.
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