Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Visiting Bridges of Madison County Spanista Autumn Treasure


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Visiting Bridges of Madison County Spanista Autumn Treasure one must experience, especially if you are a fan of the famous movie featuring celebrated actors Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. I certainly consider it one of my Top 10 Favorites. And even more beautiful is the book that inspired the movie script – elegant prose written from the heart by Robert James Waller. It is not often one has a chance to visit Iowa where much goodness exists on so many levels. Having grown up in Midwest before heading to the East Coast to expand my horizons, I know well the natural beauty, values and inspiring people who make up the heart of our country. It pulses with rich stories of real people living real lives. Many people who have made significant contributions to humanity.

This Spa Enthusiast Story is for he romantic at heart. This chance occurrence came about because I was called to visit the CEO & Founder of BSB Design, an architectural firm that is located in Des Moines, Iowa for the purpose of planning the future of our shared humanitarian project, AbodShelters. (More on this in another post.) As I am currently in Kansas City it meant a three-hour road trip north to Des Moines. Great. At this lovely time of year I do not mind a drive through the country side where peak Autumn colors would sparkly against brilliant clear blue skies. Luckily along the drive in Iowa, I  discovered road signs indicating I was near the Bridges of Madison County. I made a mental note to ask my friends about it after my meetings. The next day the weather was spectacular so I promised myself a Self Care treat. I could escape into the story of romantic destiny. A side of life that triggers deep emotions. After our Board Meetings, rather than rush down the freeway to get back to Kansas City, I planned to explore the town where the Bridges of Madison County are curated – Winterset, Iowa. Interestingly, I discovered it is also the birthplace of John Wayne. Who knew?

Much to my delight, I found Winterset to be a cozy countryVisiting-Bridge-of-Madison-County-Book.jpegPINIMAGEtown with a unique personality that celebrates its heritage. With pride it looks after its special Hollywood cache with tender loving care. The Town Square is full of quaint shops with both new and vintage treasures, comfy restaurants and more. I went to the Winterset Chamber of Commerce where I was told I could obtain a map and puruse through memorabilia from the on locations production shoot.

This was amazing. I immediately felt thrust into the spirit of the film. The black and white photos of Clint and Meryl displayed here seem to come alive right in front of me. Script lines by Robert James Waller from the script and book rushed back to my consciousness. Oh the tender romance of it all – seeing the pictures of Francesca’s actual house brought her and Robert to life again. To my mind, some of the best lines ever written in movies were delivered by Meryl Streep. She is my favorite living actress bar none. I could hear some of these reflective quotes:

~  “In a world of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes once in a lifetime.”

~  “Such physical matters were nice, yet, to him, intelligence and passion born of living, the ability to move and be moved by subtleties of the mind and spirit, were what really counted.”

~  “The only thing in life you regret are the risks you don’t take.”

I had to pull myself away from the photos to get a map so I could begin my visit to The Bridges.  I learned there are six bridges – and four would be within range of my return trip. The other two were in the opposite direction. No worries. Getting my first taste would fulfill my curiosity for this visit. And allow me the opportunity to dream about a return visit in the future.

Here you will see pics of the beautiful Bridges of Madison County I was able to enjoy. This is about following the road less traveled. They can be seen only by venturing along winding country dirt roads adding to the romantic, adventurous effect. The Bridges are delicate creations. To see them is to know they have been lovingly cared for while retaining their authenticity of design and structure. When you approach the history of each whispers to you – you feel their spirit is alive. Thank goodness for the fan following of the book and the movie as it brings in tourist dollars to help them be restored. You can find the book and movie on

This day stole my heart. It was time well spent. I dream of going  back to see the other two bridges and Francesca’s house  and spend more time enjoying Winterset Square too. (And sneak a peek of John Wayne’s House too.)

Spanista Takeaway:  Self Care can be about The Magic of Spontaneity – following an inner calling to explore and enjoy an unexpected pleasurable escape. be open and alert to what it can offer you and then head the calling. It will reawaken what is deep in your heart and brings your, moments of great joy.  The kind you will never regret and always remember. My only wish is I would have done more of it earlier in life rather than pushing forward with other things that prove far less joyful in retrospect.

How about you?

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


P.S. Tomorrow come back to to see the great local Winery and Owner I ran across!


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