Family Adventures · Gallivant Milestones and Moments

The Iowa Gallivant’s 2017 Top 20: Another Great Year of Memories

What road will you take in 2018? We took more roads than ever during the past year and we can’t wait to do it again! (Picture from our visit to the Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead in rural Scott County. 

Our fourth year is wrapping up here on The Iowa Gallivant and we couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome of our travel blog. 2017 was filled with amazing trips all year long and one of the hardest tasks is to narrow down to 20 of our most wonderful memories. Nevertheless, here it is Gallivant Nation. Thank you to all that showed how amazing our home is and we can’t wait to get to work in 2018! (Click on the highlighted links below and see the wonderful articles that are featured in this list.)

20. Off the Beatn’ Path BBQ in Crawfordsville

It’ all in the name. Off the Beatn’ Path BBQ is in a little Washington County town and it gives you one of the most memorable BBQ destinations you could ever ask for. Don’t miss out on pizza night!

19. Iowa’s Only Mule Cemetery in Oskaloosa

It’s an interesting stop for sure, but there’s a lot behind the story of these two equine Civil War vets buried here. The property is also home to the Mahaska County Historical Museum and other incredible areas of Iowa history.

18. Okoboji…in the Winter?

Iowa’s top vacation destination is flooded with visitors during the sunny summer, but our first ever visit was during the last blizzard of the winter in March and we had the pleasure of hearing one of Iowa’s best singers. Stutterin’ Jimmy has an unforgettable soulful voice and his story is incredible!

17. Inside a Bin Barn in Sutherland

You must click on the link above and see how this looks inside! Our 2017 was full of unique places of lodging and O’Brien County has one that’s set right off the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway.

16. Unincorporated Iowa

Some of Iowa’s best road trips, food, scenery and stories come from the smallest communities. We traveled to little towns like Bentonsport, Downey, Hale, Gunder, Sutliff, Oakland Mills and more. We even traveled from Cincinnati to Brazil and never left Appanoose County!

15. Runny Eggs on the Riverfront in Charles City

Not only were there fresh eggs from the local farmers market on this pizza, there was plenty of homegrown asparagus and cheeeeeeeeese….This wasn’t all we had from Cedar River Pizza Company so you better click on the link above!

14. A Wrong Turn Led to Beautiful Fertile

The little Worth County town of Fertile supplied one of the most picturesque scenes we’ve ever experienced in Iowa. We’ll be back and you can bet we’ll be spending the entire day right on those Winnebago River banks.

13. Clear Lake’s Ladybug

Bistro/Gift Shop/Greenhouse/Candy Store/ Art Gallery/Spa….That’s the Ladybug! This became one of the most memorable stops during our trip to Clear Lake and we have already made plans to return! Can we experience the whole Ladybug in 24 hours? We’ll give it a shot!

12. Another Round of Iowa Irish Fest in Waterloo


You knew this one was coming if you’ve been following The Iowa Gallivant. We had a blast being the guest hosts of this ever growing event of great music, food, family entertainment, and so much more! Go to the Iowa Irish Fest website and mark your calendars for August 3rd-5th!

11. Classic Roadside America

We make plans and that also means we’re stopping along the way! The link above will connect you to our articles that have some of our favorite and off the beaten track roadside attractions and landmarks. We found quite a few in 2017 and we know we’re going to be on the lookout and breaking even more in 2018.

10. Proposing 99 Times Over

This big softy has the goal to pop the big question to my wife, Monie, in all of Iowa’s 99 counties. So far we have Palo Alto and Worth in the books and that leaves 97 left. We’ll see how long this takes us and how many surprises we’ll have along the way.

9. The Perky Parrot in Algona

If you ever fall asleep and wake up in what looks like a classic early 20th century speakeasy, you might have landed inside the Perky Parrot. The Kossuth County seat is home to one of Iowa’s classiest bars and is worth the trip to Algona all in itself.

8. Cresco’s History

We don’t have the data to back this up, but Cresco may have the most hometown celebrities in Iowa! One walk around their welcome center and museum will illustrate some of the areas most well known and important Iowan’s in history!

7. Holiday Season in North Iowa

One of the last weekend road trips of the year was to the “Top of Iowa”. Scraping the Minnesota border is North Iowa and we made constant discoveries and long lasting memories during our now annual family Christmas trip. Lights, landscapes, history and great food all weekend long.

6. Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend

The world’s largest grotto makes it to several lists every year and we can see why. Our first trip was on a very cold March day just before a blizzard. There’s few words that explain the feeling you have when see it for the first time in your life. This is one of Iowa’s top destinations and we encourage anyone to experience this masterpiece.

5. Native America in Orange City

The Sioux County Historical Museum is home to one of the most impressive collections of Native American artifacts that we’ve ever seen anywhere. If you love history, then make this trip!

4. Main Street Paullina

We stayed at the historic Bock Suite right above Old Market Antiques and that’s what we came for. Our exploring led us to what would become one of our favorite small town experiences we’ve ever had as a family. A movie theater operated by volunteers, delicious Sunday brunch, raw hamburger appetizer, and so much more!

3. The Corn Crib in Indianola


All I have to say is that you MUST click on the link above and see what the inside of this unbelievable corn crib looks like inside. Better yet, book your stay ASAP because its a truly one of a kind B&B that you’ll love!

 2. The Best Between Bread: Iowa’s Sandwich Masters

We featured 63 restaurants in 63 Iowa communities and had A LOT of great sandwiches. The Gallivanters’ Choice Award for Iowa’s Favorite Sandwich was up to the voters and it went to Sub-Arena in Fort Madison. The second award was the Best Between Bread: Iowa’s Sandwich Master and it was one of the hardest decisions of our lives. Ultimately, we chose Mishmash Eats in Indianola. Their homemade biscuits became a constant craving all year long.

  1. Allamakee County

    The Northeast corner of Iowa produced some of the greatest moments our family has ever had. Three trips total for the year starting at Effigy Mounds in early spring and two summer trips that included Lansing, New Albin, Waukon and miles on top of miles of breathtaking scenery. This took a long time coming when it came to visiting and it will take a short time for us to return. Explore Iowa’s Driftless Area, and see a region of Iowa you won’t see anywhere else.

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Thanks again from all of Team Goodvin! Monie, JayJay, Gigi, Leah, Charlie and Tippy Lou. And let’s give it up to Santa for making the family picture this year! See you in 2018 and keep gallivanting!


One thought on “The Iowa Gallivant’s 2017 Top 20: Another Great Year of Memories

  1. Thanks Jay. We are so glad you and your family enjoyed your stay. Paullina does have Alot to offer if people just take the time to check things out. Remember that you and your family are welcome here any time.

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