Cornell's King Chapel defines the skyline along Mount Vernon's beautiful, wooded hilltop. Mount Vernon's historic uptown district is just a short walk along tree-lined streets from campus, and each May attracts hundreds of visitors for Chalk the Walk.
Mount Vernon and the Region
Cornell is located on a beautiful, wooded hilltop in Mount Vernon, Iowa, just a few blocks from the town's historic main street. In Mount Vernon, quintessential small town life moves to a modern beat. Here you'll find tree-lined streets, Victorian homes with big front porches, friendly residents, and smiling kids walking to school or sledding down Pres Hill.
You'll also discover a thriving local art scene and an eclectic variety of businesses in our historic and happening downtown -- attributes that earned Mount Vernon one of ten spots in "America's Coolest Small Towns" list for 2009 published by Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine. Whether you're in the mood for a cozy coffee hangout, tasty food, imported gifts, or a great movie, you're likely to find pleasant surprises here. Not the least of these is the award-winning Lincoln Cafe, which has won rave reviews in the New York Times and many other publications.
Mount Vernon lies in the midst of Iowa's Cultural Corridor. In May, Mount Vernon's main street becomes a palette for inspired art during the annual Chalk the Walk festival, and in September artists from all over the area convene for the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival. Meanwhile, the farmers' market and community theatres thrive.
And if you think Iowa is flat as a pancake, think again. Mount Vernon is part of the rolling landscape that made Grant Wood famous. Just five miles away you can climb or hike the limestone bluffs of beautiful Palisades-Kepler State Park, and a short drive in any direction will lead you through gorgeous landscapes and hidden treasures.
Need more nature?
Lake MacBride and the Coralville Reservoir offer boundless water and woodland opportunities just 10 miles away.
Need more arts, entertainment, or sports?
Iowa City, thriving home of the University of Iowa 20 miles south, offers many opportunities for young people, ranging from concerts and bookstores to excellent food and Big 10 sporting events. Cedar Rapids, Iowa's second largest city, is even closer and full of many additional cultural outlets.
Need more shopping?
Coralville's Coral Ridge Mall is one of the largest in the Midwest, and Cedar Rapids boasts many additional options.
Need a big city outing?
Chicago is just four hours east. Minneapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Kansas City are all within five hours.
Want to know what students do for fun off campus?
Read "Beyond the Hilltop" for some tips, written by Blake Rasmussen '05 in 2006.
And check out these sites for more information:
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Tourism
Cultural Corridor Iowa City Cedar Rapids