MADISON COUNTY, IA — There is a section of Iowa where you can relive that movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, visit the home of the Duke, and, well, drink wine.

This February day trip started at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset.  Wayne was born in a house adjacent to the museum in 1907 as Marion Robert Morrison.

You enter into a gift shop, where you are free to browse movie memorabilia and artifacts.  An adult ticket price of $15 earns you a self-guided tour, starting with a short film with an introduction by Wayne's daughter Aissa.  The movie was a highlight reel of all of his films.

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The museum includes sculptures, movie posters, guns with etchings of the Duke, and costumes worn in films like True Grit, the performance that won him an Oscar.

Next up, a trip into Winterset's City Park to see the Cutler-Donahue Covered Bridge. The bridge was built in 1870 by Eli Cox, and spans 79-feet.  It was relocated to the park in 1970 from the North River in Bevington, and was renovated in 1997.

Another stop was made at the Holliwell Bridge, built in 1880; it is the longest of the covered bridges at 122-feet.  It still sits in its original site over the Middle River, and can be seen in the movie.

The Cedar Bridge, built by Harvey P. Jones and George K. Foster, was featured on the novel's book cover.  It was built in 1883, spanning 76-feet over Cedar Creek.  It was renovated in 1998, but then was almost destroyed by a fire.  The bridge was rebuilt and re-opened in 2019.

Hogback Covered Bridge was built in 1884, measures 97-feet, and stands in its original location.  It is named for a nearby limestone ridge.

Daylight was receding, so this trip did not include stops in St. Charles to see the Imes Covered Bridge, the oldest of the remaining bridges, and the Roseman Covered Bridge, which was also featured in the movie.

The final destination of the day was at Covered Bridges Winery, part of the Heart of Iowa Wine Trail.  In addition to the chance to sample some reds and whites, the winery offers Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon live music. 

Heading to Iowa? The museum is located at 205 S. John Wayne Drive in Winterset.  Learn more here.  Information on the bridges can be found at  Want to visit the winery?  Learn more at, and download a mappdf.