2021 T-Bone Trail · Iowa Food · Roadside Iowa · West Central Iowa

Audubon County In Its “Prime”: The T-Bone Crew In the Land of Big’Ol Albert

*There’s a lot to love about Audubon County which is why we came back! Our trip was hosted by Audubon County Economic Development & Tourism. Some of the products, meals and services were complimentary. The views expressed are always of our own. Let’s Gallivant!

Meet me at 320th and Jay! That means we’ll be on the outskirts of Brayton, Iowa!

Audubon County, Iowa

And here we go! If you’ve been following our tale of Western Iowa Adventures, then you’ve been seeing a lot of updates on the T-Bone Trail! 36 Western Iowa counties make up the Western Iowa Region, and the land of Audubon was ready for another Gallivant during opening week of the trail. There’s no turning back when you get on a long steak bender like this. Steak isn’t the only way to beef up a trip to this area. Lots to see, lots to do, and lots of folks to meet. Fore!!!!!!!!

Get Active

I had to make sure the logo was front and center, so the coat had to wait. As you can see my golfing partner on the day is much brighter than I am.

Audubon Golf and Country Club was stop #1 when we showed up and it we had a very brave soul meeting us there. Playing golf with me can turn into a full contact sport because you never know where the ball will go or what it will ricochet off of. Iowa Beef producer, Derek Andersen tolerated me in the early hours of our gallivant and even had some quality swings himself. As for yours truly? Let’s just say I was glad there were matured trees guarding the club house’s windows and siding.

The locals don’t let a chilly spring day hold ’em back! Look at the stuffed chicken trophy on the left! You can throw out the record books when the members of Audubon’s club take on Guthrie Center’s.
Look what I found in my back pocket. Almost 30 Western Iowa courses band together to get people out and golfing all over the area. If you’re a member at any of these courses then you can golf at the rest for free!

Let’s stay active and keep moving through the T-Bone Trail…literally. You’re getting a lot of T-Bone references in this blog post and that’s a heck of a way to get a promotion like this rolling!

I will always respect a bike/walking trail that makes you think of steak at the same time.

We’re planning on having the most active summer in years, and this actual T-Bone Trail is a fantastic way to spend a day on the T-Bone Trail. Bring your bike and you can link up with the neighbors to the south in Cass County and see miles and miles of beautiful rural Western Iowa.

Roadside Attractions & History

The greatest collection of minds anyone could have seen on this day… and Albert the Bull! Albert will always give you a huge welcoming when you get to the city of Audubon. And it’s the worlds largest bull!

The locals came out to greet us ,and these folks always have Iowa Beef on their minds. These are some of the team members who make up Audubon’s T-Bone organization that organizes their annual Operation T-Bone event every summer. August 6th-7th is the Operation T-Bone Festival and it’s one of the most beef-filled weekends you’ll find in Western Iowa!

You’ll never be far from Western Skies Scenic Byway and its hilly journey through the area.
Kimballton, Iowa is one of Western Iowa’s Danish Villages and to a little piece remembering the old country across the pond.
Kimballton’s Little Mermaid statue designed after Copenhagen’s own Little Mermaid. Not only is this town park beautiful, but just a few feet away from the fountain is the Audubon County Freedom Rock. You can scratch that off your Freedom Rock list and check-in on the Iowa Scenic Byways Passport while you’re here.
The birding forefather known as John James Audubon. The City of Audubon is named after him with the John James Audubon Plaza and Birdwalk is easily found in the center of town.
Just a sample of the colorful mosaics you’ll discover on Audubon’s Birdwalk. This is the pilgrimage you need if you’re a lover of all things feathered!

I have said several times that Audubon County might be home to the two most historic trees in Iowa. Not only does the area bring in Audubon Society hobbyists, it gives the Arbor fandom some great experiences of their own. We’re suckers for roadside America and we’ll make a stop for it all!

Plow in the Oak is near Exira and has seen a lot of traffic since the farming equipment was left here during Civil War times. A forgetful band of Union soldiers left camp without their plow and the old Oak tree has been slowly swallowing it up ever since. Click here to watch our video at Plow in the Oak!
I’ll never get tired of saying this…The Tree in the Road. I will always come here for this amazing Cottonwood near Brayton. Click here to see our video at Tree in the Road!

The Tree in the Road is easily one of my all-time most loved roadside attractions. I call it America’s most beautiful roundabout and it shows us quintessential rural Iowa. A stick left behind by a surveyor, in the mid-1800s, and now a huge Cottonwood directly on the Audubon-Cass county line. This is a reminder that sometimes it’s good to be a stick in the mud-at least when it comes to creating a natural wonder in Western Iowa. You know what I want to do now? See my friend Dennis!

Meet the Hamlin family!

The Nathaniel Hamlin Parks & Museum has now made it on The Iowa Gallivant twice for very good reasons. One of the caretakers of this important piece of Audubon County’s history is Dennis Hamlin, and one minute with him will show you how much he loves it here. A direct descendent of the man who settled here in the 1800s and who the facility is named after. The Hamlin family has a very long and ongoing history in the area.

One of the biggest and best beef inspired murals you’ll find anywhere. We wouldn’t complete a T-Bone Trail without coming here!
Inside the large house on the hill is the museum you need to see for yourself. These pictures are just a small sample of the Iowa history you will gobble up here in Audubon. Important and authentic pieces of art, wartime artifacts dating all the way back the Civil War days, and more local history you can shake a huge elk at. They have elk too! And my favorite part, old overalls hanging on the wall as if someone just changed out of them.

These county treasures are everywhere in Iowa and need more attention than ever. When it comes to these locally operated museums, there will always be something that you’ll find that will amaze you. The grounds at Nathaniel Hamlin’s museums will do just that. Ask about what the paranormal team found here!

Check-In

Blue Grass Inn & Suites is a modern hotel that supplies a very comfortable stay here in small-town Iowa. Just a short drive from the main business district of Audubon. 2073 US-71 in Audubon, Iowa. 712-563-2126
That family gathering can have a very nice indoor pool included with it if you book-it in Audubon!
That’s a spacious room that could be your comfortable room in Audubon.

Hotels are popping up in places all over Iowa that were long overdue and Audubon’s Blue Grass Inn & Suites is one of those properties that has been a godsend. Just a few years old and still has that brand new feel to it, and welcoming brand new guests like us more and more. Blue Grass Inn & Suites shows travelers that small-town Iowa can be a handy destination for parties, family gatherings, business meetings, and getaways that some may automatically look for in the metro areas. But you can do all of that in Audubon! Feed Mill Restaurant is just across the parking lot and has a full bar if you’re wanting a little libation without the drive back to the room. The staff was great while we were here and the room was spotless when we arrived. This was a fantastic stay and supplied us with a little nap before the Audubon County headliner.

Let’s Eat a Steak-The Barn Burner

Slow cooked Prime Rib is the classic Saturday night special in many places. Including the Barn Burner in Brayton, Iowa!
Work it, cheesy hashbrowns! You’re a dynamite partner with that juicy char-broiled Ribeye!
Some of the best baskets of battered and fried onions you’ll get anywhere in Western Iowa and fresh side salads to get suppertime started! Hey, look! It’s the Slaters! Sara helped get this whole Audubon County shindig going and we thank her to Albert and back a 1,000 times over. Sara Slater was also the one who came up with this Western Iowa tour and I’m honored to be a part of it. 35 counties to go! Click here and watch our video from the Barn Burner!

The Barn Burner was on our trip a few summers ago, and I was elated to see it on our radar for the return trip to Audubon County. Just look at those beautiful cuts in those pictures. Both were cooked to a perfect medium-rare and paired with delicious sides. I even got broccoli with mine! Brayton was exactly what we cherish about the T-Bone Trail. Some of Iowa’s smallest communities have some of Iowa’s tastiest meals. We were joined by several members of Audubon’s own T-Bone organization that met us earlier in the day and it was great having them. The restaurant was bustling with customers and the food was flying out to the tables with a lot of great humor and stories from the customers surrounding our group. One of the specialties of this area is getting you to feel like you’ve been visiting for years. There’s not a better feeling when you’re traveling.

How’s that for all your ranch dressing needs! That will get visitors to Western Iowa right there! I really had to show you this bottle of ranch. And just who were some of the Iowa Beef producers that joined us today? I knew you were wondering!
There’s nine of us in this pic and only one doesn’t farm. Here’s a clue…The dude in the middle is the Gallivant guy. Let’s start from the left and go right! T-Bone Members: Steve Lewis, Steve Shaffer, Greg Hansen, Derek Deist, Charles Hansen, Dan Madsen, Bruce Andersen, and Duane Sloth. They made sure we saw Albert the Bull and devoured a great meal with us at the Barn Burner. Well done everyone!
And look who wanted a picture! Front and center was the very steer that will make Operation T-Bone happen in August!

Bonus Beef

Wouldn’t you know it! We managed to locate a little more of Audubon County’s tasty beef! Better get this burger on The Iowa Gallivant because this beefy road trip around Western Iowa will illuminate all these delicious memories.

Adobe Mexican Restaurant in Audubon, Iowa! Yup, I ordered a cheeseburger at a Mexican place and I’d do it again. This is one of the most loaded burgers you’ll find in the area and served hot and with plenty of napkins. Get after it, Audubon!

Another fantastic round of Audubon County in the books! Thank you to everyone that helped plan our visit and kept us moving through the area. The locals did a wonderful job of representing this community and you know we’ll be back for more. Keep up the good T-Bone vibes, Audubon County!

That’s another weekend making history for Audubon County. Thanks to these guys on the cover for helping pave the way for The T-Bone Trail!

Like Audubon County Economic Development & Tourism on Facebook.

Book your stay at the Blue Grass Inn & Suites website.

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See everything we’ve covered on The Iowa Gallivant in the West-Central region of Iowa!

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