Welcome To Town

Whether you have come to see us at Antique Archaeology LeClaire before or are coming to see us for the first time,  we want to say, ” Welcome!” and we’re honored to have you in town. We’ve created a LeClaire travel guide to help guarantee that you don’t miss a moment, experience, or bite of all that this town has to show you. We hope you have good walking shoes on!

LeClaire, Iowa is a treasured town for many reasons. More than a century ago, fearless river pilots helped bring LeClaire to life, establishing it as a bustling river town on the Mississippi River. It’s also the city where Mike Wolfe began to discover his passion for the preservation and community by saving LeClaire’s historic riverboat homes, finding his voice on the city council, even serving as a volunteer firefighter for a time! There’s something in their river air that puts wind into the sails of anyone looking to inspire and create.

Birds-eye view of historic downtown LeClaire, Iowa. Photo by Emilene Leone Photography 

Main Street Is On The Mississippi River

Nothing beats a walk down LeClaire’s Main Street, Cody Road. This is a five-block stretch where you’ll find many incredible small businesses and restaurants that make our town unlike any other. (We love how the historic riverboat homes have been transformed into small businesses!) 

LeClaire is one of the few places along the Mississippi River where you can walk right up to the river without interference. This also gives locals and visitors a full view of The Riverboat Twilight. Folks have been taking a sightseeing cruise aboard this triple-decker, Victorian-era 126ft steamboat for decades. It’s one of our favorite ways to learn about LeClaire’s river history, see some wildlife, and get photos of the beautifully preserved riverfront homes. (If you have the time, book tickets for the two-day cruise for an overnight experience!)

Also down on the waterline, is the levee. Not only is it the perfect spot to lay a blanket down and have a riverside picnic, but it’s also a popular location for many town events, like the Kid Pickers Flea Market. Once you’re done soaking in the view, you’re just a quick stroll to shops, restaurants, and of course, Antique Archaeology!

Mike Wolfe at the Kid Picker Flea Market and Francie Wolfe with the Twilight Riverboat

Local Pickin

If you’re on the hunt for seasonal accents, art, mirrors, furniture and more, duck into Dwellings Home Decor. We’d describe their inventory as timeless and transitional. We love that it’s located in a beautifully renovated house! If you’re looking for something a bit more historic and rusty, dive into Decades Antiques to discover what is old is new again. 

Interior of Dwellings Home Decor

Look for the large green house on the hill and you’ve found Grasshoppers! There are many levels to this shop (like a wine cellar in the basement) with home decor and jewelry throughout. One of our favorite details is that the house itself is historic! It belonged to Captain John McCaffery, a river pilot in the late 1800s. 

Grasshoppers front porch entrance to the store

Fans of American Pickers travel from every corner of the globe to visit the original Antique Archaeology in LeClaire. This is your chance to get an up-close look at popular picks from the show like Laurel and Hardy, the buried Indian, Phillip Morris, and more! Mike designed the layout so customers are able to experience the shop as equal parts, museum, and retail space. Make sure you take the time to read the tags attached to the antiques to learn more about each item’s history and where it was picked. Find a piece of history to take home or a souvenir to remember your visit. No visit is complete until you’ve taken a photo with the Nash car out front!

The Famous Nash parked outside Antique Archaeology LeClaire, Iowa

Treat Yourself To Something Sweet and Unique

Beat the summer heat with a treat from Here’s The Scoop. Newly opened in LeClaire this family-owned ice cream shop creates small-batch handcrafted gourmet treats just for you! No matter if you enjoy a scoop of Black Forest with Roasted Cherry and Brownie Bites or the White Chocolate Raspberry Wine out of a homemade waffle cone or bowl, your sweet tooth is sure to be satisfied.

All the confections at The Shameless Chocoholic are handmade by Rebecca Burns who has spent the past 20 years perfecting her recipes. Dig into her 120 varieties of delicious homemade bonbons, fudge, truffles, bark, buttercreams, and more. (This chocolate shop is located in the original LeClaire “Green Tree Grocery” dating back to the late 1800s!) Pick up some of your favorite nostalgic candy, gifts, and even ship your favorite treats to your house!

LEFT: Ice cream cone from Here’s The Scoop by @jordzila RIGHT: Exterior shot of Cody Road Coffee

When you’re in need of some caffeine, pop into Cody Road Coffee! Since LeClaire is the birthplace of Buffalo Bill, the owners are paying tribute with Wild West-inspired decor, cutout cookies, portraits of Buffalo Bill, and more. Make sure you try their signature Buffalo Bill Butterscotch Latte or a Giddy Up energy drink. These guys are walking distance from Antique Archaeology, making it a go-to coffee run for the crew!

Don’t forget to “pop” on over to Kernel Cody’s Popcorn Shoppe to sample more than twenty varieties of popcorn. Favorite flavors include Lonestar Steamer Puff, (hulless corn covered in caramel), the LeClaire mix, (cheese and caramel mixed), Tootie Fruity, and Snickers. Fill up a bag or collective tin with your favorite flavor as well as nostalgic candy and gifts.

There’s still SO much to experience. Why not make your visit an overnighter? Let’s show you how to make the best of a weekend in LeClaire in Part II of our travel guide HERE

Images courtesy of LeClaire Tourism

 

SHOP gifts for the home like our American made tea towels featuring a hand-drawn neon sign design!

20 Comments

20 thoughts on “LeClaire, Iowa: The Daytripper Part 1”

  1. JAMES THORN

    So glad i just got this. My family is heading from Jersey to be in your town this Tuesday! Great info and can not wait to see the shop!
    Jim Thorn

  2. Lynne M. Arnoe

    My grandparents lived there many, many years ago. I would spend my summers with them, I have so many wonderful memories of that area. I would sit and watch the barges go by, count the cars on the trains, wave at the engineers and conductors in the caboose. The neighbors house was a converted chicken coop. There was a small shack in the woods we said belonged to Bill Cody. Millions of wonderful memories, no electronics needed!

  3. Neil Lambert

    You are blessed with such a lovely place! I would love to visit one day so thanks for the visitor advice in your article.
    May I take this opportunity to wish everyone at Antique Archaeology and in LeClaire a wonderful 4th July as it is just around the corner!
    Best wishes from this side of the pond (Stroud – the heart of the Cotswolds – in the UK.)

  4. Gail Chouinard

    Le Claire looks like a great old town,so inviting and friendly,great place to visit by the looks of it.

  5. Doug Wighton

    When the craziness is over I have LE CLAIRE on my “to do” list on one of my drive-throughs to Canada.
    You all stay safe and healthy.

    1. Deb Strobel

      Yes – Where is Frank. He adds a unique perspective to the show. He’s a bit more of a penny pincher than Mike. Both of them have such great experience and I have learned so much about the value of things. I try to guess what they will offer or what they will end up paying for it. More often than not, Mike will tell a person they are “a little light on it” when the sales price is a bit too low. Frank, not so much.

  6. kevin tsetse

    I was watching the episode where Mike bought a cowboy picture from the cowboy stunt man that taught the Lone Ranger some moves. They mentioned that Gene Autry was in the picture. But the person sitting next to Gene Autry was “Hopalong Cassidy ” Just thought I’d mention that.Thanks,love the show,and I’m always looking for a “Knucklehead ” like Frankie

  7. JACKIE THRIFT

    Will you be open the Sunday before labor day this year? visiting my best friend in Kansas City, Missouri and driving back home to suburb of Detroit Michigan… would love to see the store

  8. Nancy O'Dell

    Have watched your show since the beginning, love what you are doing, I have some items from my Dad n grandfather ya’all might like, how can I show them to you, see if you’d be interested? Not enuf for a pick, just a dozen or so. Thanks, Nancy O’Dell

  9. Joan Farquhar

    We visited this gorgeous town back in 2014. We were visiting from Ireland and family brought us here as they knew we watched the series.

    Delighted to get there in person.

    Beautiful place to have a business or just reside.

  10. Charlie Boxall & Desmarie Wassenaar

    Hi, my wife and I love your show and the information you provide about your pickings and the history. We live in Australia and we haven’t the history that the US has. I have learnt a lot regarding ‘wheeling and dealing’ by watching Mike and Frank….and the gorgeous Danielle. .I make furniture from recycling wood pallets, doing my part in recycling. We hope to visit Le Claire in the future and everything Le Claire has to offer. Thanks for such an enjoyable show.
    Charlie & Desmarie

  11. David Pokrywka

    This year 2020 is the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving. This year is also 100 the anniversary of the Honda Motorcycle. I hope wish you and families a happy,healthy Thanksgiving.

  12. Kelly Frank

    Heading there this weekend and will follow the precautions posted! It’s my son’s golden 12th birthday and this is his top destination! Driving in from WI and can’t wait to visit the store, the town and the area for a few days getaway! Maybe we will be lucky to see one of the gang but hopefully find a birthday treasure from the store!

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