*Southwest Iowa brings a certain kind of scenery to the state that more travelers and outdoors enthusiasts are discovering every year. We have made several trips to the Southwest Iowa region and every time we want to explore more and more. Our trip was hosted by the Malvern Bank, Zack Jones, and Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce. Some of the goods, meals, service were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Let’s Gallivant!
The second round of Mills County that was 5 years in the making! We arrived to this area for a RAGBRAI mission in 2016, and now we’re back in town for a beefy mission. It’s more than just a day showing up and writing about our trip. It’s a string of communities that we’ve been itching to get back to for a very long time and we couldn’t wait to reconnect with the locals. A lot of changes have happen to this Loess Hills county since we showed up in our younger days and…..OMG! I was in my 30s when we were here last! Any-hoo…..A lot of things have changed and much of the area has stayed the same. You see why folks make this their hometown very quickly when you arrive. It’s beautiful and these towns are eager for more entrepreneurs to open up shop. Let’s start out in Glenwood and get some candy beer, and pizza! That works every time…..
I have now stopped here at Glenwood Lake Park to relax multiple times and, within just a few minutes of arriving, you’ll see why. This is just a couple minutes of a drive from the town square and yet it seems miles away.
You deserve a little indulgence after you’ve walked the lake. Or a lot of it! Glenwood has a source for all of us who baby our sweet tooth! Let’s sugar-up with my new friend, Rachel Reis of the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce!
The square has changed since I was here last and that includes some shops and boutiques. I just found some great ideas for all those shop-til-you-drop readers of ours out there! People are asking us about new ideas, when it comes to locally owned retailers or gift shops, more than I’ve ever seen before and they’re willing to travel to find a new spot. Glenwood can be your new go-to for a getaway to feed that fashionable craving you’re having!
You know what goes great with walking a town square and hitting up some fabulous boutiques? Pizza! Not at the same time, you big silly! New to me in Glenwood was a place with a very large oven and they know how to pump out a hot lunch in just a few minutes.
Bonus Beef Alert!
One of the fastest growing breweries in America has its home in Glenwood and it might just have the most spectacular views out of every brewery in Iowa. I’m ready to enjoy a beer with the Loess Hills in the background any day at Keg Creek Brewing!
Check-In to Malvern
You are about to see one of the most inspiring AirBnB options in the entire Midwest. Artist Zack Jones of ZJ Paintings has created an unforgettable place to stay and it’s in rural SW-Iowa. Ladies, gentleman, art lovers, and travelers…This is the Art Church in Malvern, Iowa!
Surrounded by Zack’s art is how you will spend your time staying at the Art Church. Two bathrooms, a full kitchen with a stylish island, a beautiful bedroom, and A LOT of ambiance you won’t see anywhere else in Iowa. And seriously folks. That king size bed is one of the most comfortable mattresses I have ever slept in anywhere.
There’s so much more you’re going to see from this amazing place down the road on TIG. So stay tuned for an exclusive post on the Art Church. But guess what! Zack produced a TIG first while hosting us at his AirBnB. He showed us….another vacation rental that’s not his? Yup! That’s next level ambassador skills right there!
It was really time to relax. Did we go back to the Art Church? Nope! It was time to see Mills County in the rural landscape that surrounds it. Let’s hit the gravel roads!
Let’s Eat Steak!
There’s no joking, sugarcoating, exaggerating, or fibbin’ when I say this….Classic Cafe had the greatest smoked Prime Rib I have ever had in my life! I’ve traveled across the country, worked in 8 states, and been doing a constant culinary quest on TIG since 2014. I even cooked smoked Prime Rib myself many times at a resort in Arizona. Classic Cafe’s is without a doubt the greatest of its kind that I can think of. Smoked and still capturing the flavor of the beef. Topped with one of the richest au jus’ that you’ll ever experience. And look at the top of the plate…Homemade mashed potatoes alert! Click here and watch our video from Classic Cafe in Malvern!
Malvern From the Roadside
Walk it off! Try to stretch your legs a little after a huge meal like that. Malvern makes this a little easy to do with all their wonderful public art you’re going to easily notice during that constitutional down Main Street and such.
Malvern is directly on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail which is a 63 mile path which makes it a very popular hiking/biking trail in SW-Iowa. The steady stream of hikers and cyclists stretches from Pottawattamie County to the Missouri border, and it goes through Mills County using Malvern’s businesses as a hub. Grab a beer, ice cream cone, a great meal at the Classic Cafe, and check with Zack to see if there’s room at the Art Church.
The welcoming crew of Mills County put in some very gracious hours with us during our time here. It was the second of seven Loess Hills counties on our trip and I already know that I’ll miss this Western Iowa region when we’ve completed the whole stretch of its constant scenery. It is amazing how much of an impact Mills County made on us five years ago. What’s even more amazing is how we were able to pick up on conversation with the locals right where we left off. Now we have more of Mills County’s greatest ambassadors to holler at the next time we show up. And let’s not wait another 5 years this time!
Book your stay at the Art Church on AirBnB.
Thank you to Malvern Bank!
Be sure to click here and see all our gallivants in the Southwest Iowa region!
Like the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.
Like Western Iowa Tourism Region on Facebook.
Like the Iowa Beef Council on Facebook and keep up with info, updates, events, and promotions!