Family Adventures · Museums and History · North Central Iowa · Roadside Iowa

Noel From North Iowa

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The Iowa Gallivant’s work is never done and neither is Santa’s. Isn’t there an elf that can be doing this?

Winnebago and Worth Counties, IA

The yule tide season is upon us and that means another annual Christmas themed road trip for The Iowa Gallivant. Last year we headed north to Decorah and this year we went towards Santa’s workshop again. This time WAY north. Let’s just say there were times we nearly started the Minnesota Gallivant. Our mittens are on, our laughter is jolly, and every deer we see has glitter exuding from its antlers. True story!


You can’t start a fresh gallivant without a tasty breakfast. That’s a direct order from Team Goodvin! Just a few miles down from our hotel is the town of Northwood and it’s home to Sue’s Corner Post Cafe. The stick to your ribs atmosphere and menu lure more than just travelers. Locals went in and out all morning, enjoying the hot breakfast and hotter coffee. Biscuits and gravy kept coming out of the kitchen along with their crispy hash browns. The service was more than friendly and the server was ready to talk up the Cyclones. Don’t worry Hawkeye and Panther fans. She’s a friendly. But, I think you don’t have a chance if you want to arm wrestle.


Just a block away from our first stop is Bean & Bistro and its endless ways to fuel up for a long day of traveling. Espresso, cookies, coffee, pie, pastries and…..wait for it…homemade biscuits AND English muffins. When was the last time you enjoyed an English muffin? You will if you get to Main Street Northwood, Iowa, in time. The owner and her proud chef showed me around the entire building including the back of the house where the true magic happens. You’ll want to visit here again and again. Especially later in 2018 when the back patio is up and running. You made some out-of-towners into big fans of yours, Bean & Bistro!


The afternoon was spent discovering some of Iowa’s roadside Americana. We don’t stick to many schedules, while gallivanting, and this is why. We trekked through towns like Manly, Leland, Rake, Thompson, Halontown, Joice, and more. Plus a little place called Vinje and it’s off the beaten track pub. Always a useful oasis for any traveler, local, and hunting group. All of which were represented inside while we were there. One of the themes we followed all weekend was the proud Norwegian culture that settled the area in the 1800’s.


This led to the Promise of America Monument in Lake Mills. A tribute to those very immigrants from Scandinavia that helped shape North Iowa and America. The scene here was just as I imagined it with the preserved prairie serving as a perfect backdrop. We always have time to stop at places like this, especially when it involves a history lesson such as this. I think its time for a lunch break…..


Our late afternoon and evening destination was Forest City and in fine Iowa Gallivant fashion we sniffed out a place that is right in our wheelhouse. Taco Jerry’s has way more than what’s in their name. A steady stream of customers lined up to order fat pizzas, loaded baked potatoes, salads, nachos, huge burritos, and little baby burritos for $1.50 each. They also serve up Iowa made salsa from Mad Butcher’s. Now that’s the home team supporting the home team! Who’s ready for Christmas lights!


The annual drive-thru and walk-thru light displays at Heritage Park of North Iowa did not disappoint. Saint Nick and shiny lights weren’t the only unique attractions here. We participated in the candlelight service at the Beaver Creek Church located right on site and then dove into their community soup supper. This was Iowa hospitality at its finest and we were honored to spend the holiday season with the local here. Our soup supper was a great addition to the lights but we made sure not to fill up. We had dinner plans in Lake Mills!


Right on the corner in beautiful Lake Mills is an incredible building that’s cooking some incredible food. We tend to try new restaurants as much as possible but we knew from our Cresco, IA trip, in the spring that Teluwut Grill House & Pub would be a great choice at their location here in Winnebago County. You think this was our last stop? Nope! Time to loop back to Northwood and the Top of Iowa!


We had a letter for the North Pole and it needed to get to Santa pronto! Lucky for our youngest daughter, Northwood had a giant mailbox just for this reason. There was even a big wheel you could spin that guessed how naughty or nice you’ve been. I opted to not spin it. Some things are best not knowing. One thing I do know is that that these two counties showed us how special the Christmas season is up here. We discovered another area in Iowa that welcomed us in like we’ve been visiting our whole lives. From morning to night, North Iowa supplies a more than memorable family trip for the holidays.

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Our story on this historic trip to Winn-Worth doesn’t stop with this article. There’s always room for one more gallivant before we leave town….

And a big thank you to…….


Winn-Worth Betco and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites for providing a great place to stay for our weekend in North Iowa!

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