*There is no other formation quite like the Loess Hills. We saw all 7 counties that they stretch through, during our summertime Western Iowa T-Bone Trail, with the seventh being Fremont County. This was the SW-Iowa region I have never really seen before. Our trip here was sponsored by Southwest Iowa Development Corporation. Some of the goods, meals, and services were complimentary. All the views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!
Fremont County, Iowa (Our 86th Iowa County)
Plymouth, Woodbury, Monona, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Mills….then Fremont. All the Loess Hills counties saw The Iowa Gallivant between May and July in 2021. The best word I can say is “friend”. The Loess Hills welcomed us in like a friend that supplied comfort in a beautiful setting all summer. Getting to Fremont County has been on my radar for a very long time because it’s been a goal of mine to see all four corners of Iowa. Lee, Allamakee, and Lyon had all been checked off. It was time for Fremont County to complete the job!
I’ve been reading about Waubonsie State Park for many years. Always seeing pictures and reading stories about someone else’s adventures in this section of the Loess Hills. It was my time to have my own memories of Waubonsie and boy did I walk away more enlighten than I thought I’d be when I showed up.
I just kept going. A longer time spent here than I planned and I was completely ok with that. Then a break at this inspiring overlook. For a long time I was the only one there. An elderly man would eventually come by and sit on the bench next to mine. He sat down, let out a sigh and adjust the binoculars he had dangling from his neck. He caught his breath and said something that was so incredibly perfect for the moment we were in. “It never gets old does it…” I looked back at the forest and valley ahead of us and agreed with him. “I s’pose it doesn’t…”, I said back to him.
He told me that he grew up in nearby Pacific Junction and had been visiting this overlook his whole life. Bird watching and general peacefulness is why. The two of us were in our own individual universe of splendor while enjoying our positions on the park benches. The Loess Hills are ancient. Formations caused by the Ice Age and gifted to all of us modern day humans and wildlife alike. Together absorbing the tranquility here. “They never get old…” That’s right, my friend. Though the hills have blessed the Western Iowa region for thousands of years, they will never get old. I truly hope I share the afternoon at this Waubonsie overlook with him again. Let’s head somewhere fit for admiral….
I’m all ears when I hear about ANY maritime story. There was no way I was going to take a pass on Farragut, Iowa. I first heard of the admiral when I was visiting Fort Morgan near Gulf Shores, Alabama and the historic order yelled out to his men during the Battle of Mobile Bay. “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” It’s now a treasured quote and piece of US Navy history and the folks who platted this town wanted it named after the man who took on the confederacy at full speed.
History & Roadside America
This would be one of the most impactful stops we’d ever taken in the history of all our travels on TIG. The Todd House is an amazing and incredibly important piece of Iowa’s history in the Underground Railroad era.
I was shown every room of the house and the one that gave me chills would be upstairs. It was there when I felt the heaviness in the air that the Todd House still has. Watch the video below and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Though I think I described it pretty well, the energy of the crawl space is still very difficult to illustrate. The fact that someone was willing to be so cramped for an indefinite amount of time is what was so impactful and memorable for me. Not once in my life have I ever had the urge to flee from anything especially vengeful slave owners. These days on the run were terrifying, but the human spirit kept them going with the help of folks along the way like the Todd family.
After the Todd House I was ready for some relaxing unscripted gallivanting. Just hitting the road and discovering roadside Iowa. Fremont County has plenty of that while circling the Loess Hills National Scenic byway!
Let’s Eat Steak
Whiskey Springs will be one of the most picturesque restaurants you’ll find in Western Iowa. Positioned right in the middle of the Loess Hills and on one of the main scenic roads through Fremont County.
Whiskey Springs gives you that feeling of being at the farm for a big time shindig in the barn. It has an entertaining decor and showcases a delicious selections on their menu. But, hey! I was here for the Prime Rib and that’s exactly what made it to the bar at Whiskey Springs! Just watch the video below and see what I’m talking about!
Great atmosphere, service, bar seen, and awesome food! Fremont County has a keeper with Whiskey Springs! That’s thick-cut journey into the Loess Hills…
The Whiskey Springs Prime Rib was one of the most tender I’ve ever had. Their own recipe and it’s slow cooked for hours! I barely needed to use the steak knife and the outer crust was seasoned with a great blend of spices and had a peppery flavor with every bite. Rich au jus that I could do shots of, creamy mashed potatoes, and that sweet corn we love in Iowa. And look at that side of horseradish! Whooooooo-weeeee! This was a Fremont County meal I’ll never forget and it makes me want to come back to Whiskey Springs for a sunset supper on Bluff Road. The Loess Hills has a way of bringing you back for more….
Sweet Corn Season in Sidney
There’s always going to be reasons to dip into a county fair. The food, exhibits, entertainment, emceeing an anual corn on the cob eating contest, competition….Wait! You want me to emcee something that relates to Iowa’s greatest gift to reasons for eating copious amounts of butter? Count me in!
Volunteers readied the corn and the age brackets were announced. From the little sprouts all the way up to the folks perfecting the dad-bod. All on stage with many ears of Iowa sweet corn. I never emceed such an event, but I was more than happy to grab the mic for this Fremont frenzy at the fairgrounds. The crowd cheered and the contestants loved getting their faces smothered in sweet corn. It had been so long since I looked into a crowd of smiling faces and it was another reminder of how much we needed this summer to happen. Great job all around to everyone at the Fremont County Fair!
Horse Creek Adventures sits inside the gorgeous countryside of the Loess Hills and the scenery that surrounds the Country Diamond Inn provides for a beautiful getaway all on its own. Sure, you want to see a lot of Fremont County, but an entire relaxing weekend of staying put, right here at Horse Creek, would make for another wonderful SW-Iowa experience.
A beautiful farmhouse positioned along the grassy hillside of the Loess Hills in rural Fremont County, Iowa. Try to tell me that doesn’t spark some road trip inspiration and imagination. Horse Creek Adventures provides an unforgettable layout that can get you active and keep you relaxed in the SW-Iowa scenery. Lona, the hostess of the inn, made sure we all had a snack when arriving and that gives the extra touch anyone would love. The setting was a quiet getaway from a busy week and I had zero problems when it came to relaxing in my wonderful room. The sounds of Loess Hills wildlife helped lull me to sleep and welcomed me at sunrise the next day. Every part of Horse Creek adventures showed me how tranquil and peaceful this corner of Iowa can be. Stay tuned to TIG because we have more to show you from this Fremont County gift to Western Iowa!
The morning of my departure arrived and it was a closing to our Loess Hills exploring for the summer. It was the Western Iowa landmass I’ve been wanting to travel extensively long before we started The Iowa Gallivant in 2014. It was a path that Lewis & Clark traveled twice with the Corps of Discovery, and I find myself always wondering if I’m standing in the same spot they did. Did they awaken to the sunrise on the same bluff I’m at? Which trees did they rest under and am I enjoying the same shade? Did someone in that expedition imagine the overlook at Waubonsie the same way the man from Grand Junction did?
Morning in Fremont County was one of the most beautiful I experienced in Western Iowa. Dewy, slightly hazy, cool air, and with the constant sounds of wildlife introducing themselves and with little traffic from other vehicles. Being alone in Possum Hollow was incredibly therapeutic and helped me appreciate the moment I was in and the others I could remember earlier in the year. I didn’t want to leave Fremont County. I had so much more to discover of with my friend, Loess…
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