*I have made many trips to Adams County, and it was a pleasure to return for the inaugural T-Bone Trail in the middle of National Beef Month. Our trip was hosted by Adams County Economic Development. Some of the goods, services, and meals were complimentary and the views expressed are of our own. Let’s Gallivant Adams County!
Forever Adams County for me. The place in Iowa I return to with the same anticipation I’ve had since I was a small child. Yes, there was a time I was just a little twerp and there’s locals in SW Iowa that can testify to that. I have seen this area in my own way for over 40 years and now I’m observing my children’s memories build with every visit we make here. I’ve always been proud of Adams County. It is today and has been for many years the least populated county in Iowa and it’s one of the reasons why I cherish this region. Every time I return brings back years of memories, family gatherings, and the magnetic pull of Grandma and Grandpa’s farm near Carbon. Now it’s 21st century Adams County and I’m seeing the Main Street community of Corning becoming a model for other small towns everywhere. It’s no secret that I was excited to see Adams County get themselves on the T-Bone Trail, and we saw so much of an area that surprised me once again. However, let’s see what has helped make Corning and this county so great for more years than I’ve been Gallivanting. Let’s see more of Southwest Iowa!
Two lakes have been bringing visitors to Corning for a very long time. Lake Binder and Lake Icaria. Both unique in there both ways and appeal to multiple spectrums of campers and outdoorsy recreational styles. Enough about all my days and memories at both of these lakes. Get your Adams County trip planed and start making your own!
Lake Binder is very close to everything in Corning. It showcases a long walking trail, camping, fishing, and plenty of timber for that summertime relaxing in the shade. Binder is one of those easy to get to rec areas that gives you a rural getaway feel while it’s just a few minutes to all of Corning’s shops, movie theater, grocery store, and restaurants. That means you can do all the traditional camping activities along with experiencing all the dining and entertainment in town within minutes of each other!
Lake Icaria is a county park about ten minutes from Corning and offers that rural escape you may be looking for. You can get in all that camping, fishing, boating, and swimming you want with the whole family. Lake Icaria also features cabins and large cottages for big groups. Are you looking for a family get together after months and months apart? You may want to get some spaces reserved at Lake Icaria pronto! They’re growing in popularity with each passing season and if you click here, you’ll see why! You know what else is just minutes away from both of these lakes? A place known as Adams County Speedway! Click here and see a thundering video from the races they host on their historic dirt track all summer long!
Shop ‘til you drop! I know what some of you might be thinking…Why is this in the “get active” part. Let’s just say you’ll want to wear some comfortable shoes because Coring is one of the hilliest towns you’ll walkthrough in Southwest Iowa. Now you have another reason to get that wallet out. It’s exercise!
We all know there’s talented artists everywhere, especially in small-town America. Adams County has a phenomenal outlet for local artists and its also been able to lure out of town talent to the area as well. Corning Center for the Fine Arts is smack dab in the middle of the main drag and you just found your next stop to get your home and workplace decorated with some fantastic pieces of art. And all those gifts you need to take care of! You may even get a chance to meet the center’s two resident artists.
Roadside Attractions & History
Be prepared for beautiful views of Iowa’s farmland when you get to Adams County. Especially when you drive on HWY 148, old HWY 34, and the miles and miles of gravel road all over the county. If you’re an artist, photographer or just plain love getting off the beaten path, then you found your road trip.
Remember that picture from above? You better stop at the French Icarian Village and get some of these pics yourself. I’ve stopped at the village during multiple times of year at different times of the day and have seen some stunning sunsets and so many colors throughout the horizon here. I finally made it inside the building during the latest trip to Adams County.
My aunt and uncle once lived across the street from Johnny Carson’s Birthplace and for most of my life it was never seen as a museum. It had residents move in and out and everyone in town knew it was the birthplace of Johnny, but it was business as usual at this Corning domicile. That is until some local citizens came up with a plan and now TV’s most legendary personality has it’s landmark for where he just might have made someone giggle for the first time in his life. And it was right here in Adams County.
Another blessing that’s opened up in Adams County! The Corning Hotel was a much needed facility in a Western Iowa area looking to build on its tourism. And what a huge asset this is. Modern, well staffed, beautifully designed and decorated, and the best hub I could think of when staying in the area. Right off of HWY 34 and a very short drive to everywhere in Corning!
The Hotel Corning is a welcomed addition to not only Corning, but the whole southwest region of Iowa. For years travelers who don’t camp had to book rooms in nearby towns driving back and forth to Corning. Now there’ll be streams of visitors that will remember their stay in Adams County from the local hotel and holy smokes does it feel good typing that. There’s many styles of rooms here and you’ll want to keep checking in on The Iowa Gallivant because we have a lot more to say about the Corning Hotel. Even better…….Book your room and get over here! The staff is amazing, and the entire property has a way of keeping you welcomed wherever you’re at. You all did a great job while I was here and I can’t tell you how happy you’re there, Corning Hotel!
Let’s Eat Steak
It’s time for the headliner! We got Adams County on our calendar for the T-Bone Trail and it’s time to feature one of the best farm to table restaurants you’ll experience anywhere. Another 21st century addition to good’ol Corning is Primrose and they gave me another first here in Adams County!
Give me that Teres Major steak again! I love it when I can be introduced to another cut of steak and it’s even better when I can get one at a place like Primrose. Joel Mahr has a culinary talent that I could only fantasize about. The fresh food and amazing talent that goes into the meals at Primrose is all the reason you need to come see Corning. That’s what his legion of followers are doing plus newbies to Adams County every week. They eat at Primrose and then dive into what else the area has to offer day after day.
Hearing Joel explain how they designed the restaurant makes you appreciate the concept so much more. People come to him with obscure ingredients knowing that he may just bite on it and the next thing you know, Primrose has a new innovation featured on your plate. I love these stories when it comes to small town restaurants. They all have their unique ways of telling the tale on why they chose the property and I’m all ears every time I hear that come up. Joel and Jill could have opened a dream restaurant in nearby Omaha, Kansas City, or Des Moines and other metro areas throughout the country. But they chose Corning. That can bring a tear to this big gallivanting heart of mine right there. There’s passion in literally every entrée, side dish, dessert, and beverage poured here at Primrose. This is your destination restaurant right here so make it happen with one of the most memorable meals you may ever have. And buy the kitchen a beer when you’re here! Chef Joel will ring a bell and who doesn’t love that! I wonderer if he learned his technique from Rita a the French Icarian Village? By the way….Click here and watch our video from Primrose and see that Teres Major steak up close!
How many firsts was that for me in one trip to Adams County? More than I expected and I can’t thank Beth enough for showing me around. I have never felt more proud of Corning in my whole life and I’m wondering what’s next for this community. The pull to this area is getting stronger with every new idea developed into someone’s vision of success. Renovations, remodels, and rebirths are happening all around Corning and it’s truly beautiful to see. So much of Adams County feels the same to me, but it has a farm to table twist now. I can always crash at a family members houses when I roll into town or make my way into a brand new modern hotel. I can go to all my favorite sunset sites and now have a new historical outlook at the landscape ahead of me. I can stop wondering what the old Opera House looks like inside and just mosey on in when it’s open. Johnny, I wish you could have sat with me and mowed down a Teres Major and margarita with us. Just know that there’s a group of devoted locals making sure you’ll always have your home ready if you should choose to make your introduction there in spirit. Keep up the great work, Adams County. I know there’s a lot more to see and more growth coming for years to come. I want to buy the cooks a beer again…..
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