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Live, Work, Play in MVL

Mount Vernon and Lisbon Happiness!Live, Work and Play in Mount Vernon-Lisbon...sample the eclectic events—the winter indoor farmers market, festivals celebrating Heritage and Sauerkraut, the annual sidewalk chalk extravaganza...enjoy what we have to offer!


Hollywood’s small towns are make-believe works of art, immaculate streetscapes painstakingly outfitted with quaint scenery, populated by townspeople so gracious and endearing that you want to sneak through the screen and disappear into their utopia.

Then the credits roll. The lights come on. And you shuffle back to reality.  

For 6,200-or so lucky souls in Mount Vernon and Lisbon, daily life really is that bucolic.

On steamy summer days children skip along sidewalks under towering tree canopies on their way downtown for ice cream cones. On snowy days under dreary skies they zip right down the middle of Third Street, past historic homes tinted purples, greens, pinks, and golds, protected by the “Children Coasting” street sign.

Tourists and town folks alike savor the cuisine—like the nationally hailed Lincoln Café—and unearth must-have treasures in the antique shops.

They sample the eclectic events—the winter indoor farmers market, festivals celebrating Heritage and Sauerkraut, the annual sidewalk chalk extravaganza, delicious displays of historic buildings, Cornell College’s lectures, concerts and plays, the Lisbon History Center’s lovingly collected artifacts.

Settled in 1837 and originally called Pinhook, Mount Vernon is home to Cornell College, established in 1853 and still so rich in history that it’s one of just two colleges in the nation to have its entire campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The hilltop college’s Victorian Gothic King Chapel, with its 130-foot tall tower, is a beacon above the tree line for residents headed home, just as it was a landmark to adventurous travelers in the 1920s when the nation’s first transcontinental motorway, the Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30), was carved through town.

But for those who live here, every day can be life in the slow lane, with time to spend fortifying kinships and traditions. Such is the example of the coffee klatch that’s met seven mornings a week for the past 40 years in the basement of the 100-year-old Bauman’s clothing store. Ask these town experts to name the best part of living in Mount Vernon and Lisbon and they can’t pick just one. They narrow it to two: the people and the location.

The location: Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Louis are all within an afternoon’s drive away. The average commute, to jobs in Iowa City or Cedar Rapids, is all of 18.8 minutes.

The people: an amiable amalgamation of college professors and businesspeople, artists, chefs, college students, grownups who flew the coop for a while but came to their senses and came home to nest.

In Hollywood this is where the screen would darken and the credits roll. In Mount Vernon and Lisbon it’s just the start of another day in paradise.

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