Family Adventures · North Central Iowa

Winter Weekend in North Iowa

North Iowa: Mitchell, Winnebago & Worth Counties

By now many of you have seen our recent posts from our last weekend trip in mid-December. Naturally we put a lot of emphasis on summer travel and why not! However, we at The Iowa Gallivant suggest setting aside some of the vacation budget and keep discovering this incredible state all year round as much as possible. Don’t let a little drop in the mercury hinder your wanderlust. Embrace it and show it who’s boss. History, local meat, holiday lights, and so much more in North Iowa.

Okay, okay, okay…..We need a break from the temps every now and then and Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Northwood, IA was our oasis away from home during our trip. Just look at those pics from their website! Trust me when I say this…The hotel is just as nice, modern and kept-up as these photos make it look. (Team Goodvin caused some ripples in that pool, but we all knew that wasn’t going to take long) And guess who’s pet friendly! For just a small fee, Tippy Lou was able to gallivant with us and that’s huge when it comes to making plans! And let’s get one thing straight, though. We may brave the elements during the day but we want warm, comfortable rooms and surroundings when we’re indoors for the night and early morning part. Our room had all of that and much more. Let’s get back to that early morning part….

Noelle, works the breakfast at the Northwood Holiday Inn Express and she was nice enough to do a quick interview about how she thinks her hometown of Riceville, IA is the birthplace of Miss Piggy! Not only did she put up a convincing argument to that debate, she also helped with keeping the very busy hotel fed. I don’t care who are, you’re not get day started without their warm and frosted cinnamon rolls!

Our first stop was to S&S Locker & Liquor in Osage. We’re on the Iowa’s Wurst Road Trip and the locals said we needed to stop here and get after their fresh selection. We complied and whipped up some incredible meals when we got home to Iowa City.

The town of Northwood itself gave us an incredible amount of memories all day and night. From the Corner Post cafe to coffee and fresh baked good at Bean & Bistro, and a whole lot of lights. Both the Christmas variety and their local Diamond Jo’s Casino where I popped the big question to my wife…..for second of 99 times! I’m going to be proposing to her in all 99 Iowa counties and why not in Worth when we’r raking it in at the casino! Speaking of Rake….

We are huge history buffs and we’ll travel many miles for even the most obscure stories. Near the town of Rake, IA is a small cemetery with Norwegian settlers from the 1800’s and a Civil War vet who never made it home to Wisconsin and made North Iowa his adopted home after the battles were done. We overshot this very small plot initially, but, thanks to the folks in Vinje, IA, we were able to locate it.

Forest City turned up a wide array of stops for us including some first time experiences. The annual Candlelight Service & Soup Supper right inside Heritage Park of North Iowa. Beaver Creek Church holds this event every year and we were proud to join the 2017 congregation. And check out those Christmas lights! We recommend pizza and burritos from Taco Jerry’s before doing anything in Forest City. It’s what my doctor recommended, too.

We also found great times, roadside America and yummy food in Lake Mills. Giant French Dips at TelUWut and discovering The Promise of America. A monument to Norwegian immigrants and the impact they’ve had on Iowa and our country.


The folks at Winn-Worth Betco helped make this trip happen and be memorable. We thank Melissa Michaelis and the whole crew for all the work and thought that went into our visit. We’ll see you again and keep gallivanting!

And a big shout-out to everyone at Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Northwood, IA for providing us with a wonder room, stay and top quality service during the whole weekend! The room was complementary, however the opinions expressed on this post is of our own.

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