2021 T-Bone Trail · Family Adventures · Iowa Food · Museums and History · Southwest Iowa

Hardware Store Beers, Finding Kin & Revisiting Iowa’s Old Honey War in Taylor County

*SW-Iowa will show travelers some of the state’s most unique pieces of history, and especially when you’re on the Missouri border. Our visit to Taylor County was sponsored by the Lenox Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce. Some of the goods, services, and meals were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s gallivant

Taylor County time in Lenox, Iowa on the Western Iowa T-Bone Trail!

Taylor County, Iowa

We hugged the borders of all neighbors during our expedition of Western Iowa this year. Minnesota to the north, South Dakota and Nebraska to the west, and the incredibly scenic and hilly region along the Missouri line. Taylor County is one of those areas that produces some of the most memorable paths you can take for an Iowa expedition into the rural reaches.

Stay Active

Lenox Municipal Golf Course has that comforting feeling that golfers look for. Remember, that you are in one of the most hilly areas of Iowa, so this course has the challenges you want!
Great views from all over the course. We took a golf cart out and cruised the fairways while enjoying the wide open spaces under those unforgettable SW-Iowa skies!
Lenox Municipal Golf Course has a very unique feature that you don’t see everyday. Bring your clubs AND your camper! Campsites are available right onsite and overlook the lake that makes up this beautiful course. Or water hazard. I guess it depends on how well your game is going when it comes to what you want to call it.

Our first trip to Taylor County was back in 2015 when we took a self guided detour into Lake of Three Fires State Park. I wasn’t going to miss a chance to see it again 6 years later and I was very pleased to see that it was just as picturesque as the last time.

Lake of Three Fires is near the county seat of Bedford. Another one of Iowa’s state parks that has ample camping, rec areas, fantastic walking and hiking trails, lakefront, and scenery that produce amazing pictures and memories during every season.
Relaxing at the lake is our preferred way to enjoy every one of Iowa’s parks that features swimming areas. Lake of Three Fires is a great destination for a family getaway with plenty of natural wonders to enjoy the entire time.
Just up the hill from the beach are more ways you can host a nice sized gathering at Lake of Three Fires. A lodge for your event, banquet, reunion, or party. Plenty of green space, a playground, and ways to stay active during the whole day. Just imagine all those family members and friends running around on that lawn and swimming at the nearby beach while you’re here!

Time For A Cold One

For me, I need very little reason to make a random trip to the local hardware store. Ramsey’s Ace Hardware just might get me looking for more than a can of paint, box of nails, or new snow blower. I might have to look for a house nearby because this hardware store has another item I step out of the house for at random times. An ice cold beer…..WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! The local DIY establishment has a little bar to take a proper break at!

I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. A bar at a hardware store! I think I found my SW-Iowa spot for some Christmas shopping!
This picture reminded me of the ones where businesses get their first customer and hold out a dollar bill. Ramsey’s pours the first hardware store beer for JayJay in his traveling history!

Small towns have all sorts of surprises when it comes to shopping the shelves of their local businesses. Plan a trip this year to see how you can experience some new ways to shop-small and support Iowa families even more than ever. Lenox is one of those towns that can provide some wonderful gifts that include fun and memorable times like this at Ramsey’s Ace Hardware. Watch the video below and see what its like to get a cold one in Lenox!

Roadside Attractions & History

The Honey War. It doesn’t have a name that screams out bloodshed, invasion, and political nightmares. This Midwest event would have had all of that if tensions escalated on the Iowa-Missouri border back in the 1830s. A bad, almost very-very bad, surveying mistake nearly caused an all out war between a slave owning state of Missouri and the non-slave state of Iowa. The Honey War was one of the many preludes our country had that led to the Civil War in the 1860s. Just south of the unincorporated town of Athelstan is one of the most remote historical landmarks you’ll find in Iowa and Missouri. This is the Sullivan Line!

Rural, remote, and just absolute roadside attraction gold. Worth County, Missouri and Taylor County, Iowa in one step. Watch the video below and get a little more history of the Sullivan Line!
You may never find a state marker quite like the one at the Sullivan Line.

The next stop is one of those places that movie buffs and roadside attraction hunters will both love. Lenox, Iowa had the second horror movie film site we discovered this year in Western Iowa, and things got a little “crazy” here years ago. The local high school has made a lot of history, here in Lenox, and so did The Crazies!

A gnarled baseball, that was obviously on the receiving end of a lawnmower, was a fitting souvenir where the gruesome scene of The Crazies was filmed. Watch the video below and see an up close look at this baseball field in Lenox, Iowa!
I’ll stop for these sites any on a road trip!

Civil War memorials are never hard to find in all of Southern Iowa. Taylor County’s contribution to the Union Army can be honored and observed while you’re traveling its blacktops.

Just down the way from Main Street in New Market, Iowa. Close to City Park and always prepared for a photo-op like this.
The historic Taylor County courthouse in Bedford with it’s brick structure along the brick road.

There’s public art lovers everywhere and SW-Iowa is loaded with murals! Bedford is one of those towns that shows off these works that attract casual Road trippers like us.

In the main business district of Bedford is this mural and The Iowa Gallivant is one of many travelers that have found this mural popup during their adventures.
Near the courthouse is this mural honoring the Thomas J. Bedford and President, Zachary Taylor. The two men that the town and county are named after.
Lenox has it’s share of public art too! This detailed and beautiful mural is directly on Main Street.
Take a break here in Lenox when you’re walking up and down Main Street at Pocket Park. These public spaces are providing some beautification to little pockets of space in many places and they really liven up any district they’re positioned in.

Let’s Eat Steak!

Bedford was ready to introduce another classic Iowa meal on the T-Bone Trail! This time they came with a something we didn’t see all yearlong.

The Purple Palace is one of the areas most popular restaurants and they were ready to make a couple beefy meals happen on a hot Taylor County day. You’ve seen a lot of cuts on our adventures with all of them being wonderful steaks. Sometimes I get a craving for one of the most classic suppers you can find in small town restaurants and it’s usually loaded with delicious toppings!

The Chop steak! Thick Texas toast topped with juicy ground beef, grilled peppers, mushrooms, onions, and melted cheese….OH BABY!

We all love those thick-cut steaks and for very good reason. But don’t forget about how satisfying these stick to your ribs meals can be. The Purple Palace grilled up a great and beefy memory for us here in Bedford and they gave us a premium idea for a return trip. We need to come back for Prime Rib night on Saturday! Watch the video below and see what we devoured at The Purple Palace in Bedford, Iowa!

Chop my dinner up anytime you want, Bedford!

Check-In

Back to Lenox and our home for a night in Taylor County. The Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast! 300 North Main Street 319-360-2163

Another historic place to stay and another place of lodging that’s walking distance to so much of what a town has to offer. I knew that I was going to like the location of The Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast when I saw its Main Street address. I was confidant that it was walking distance to more of Lenox and I was right. Something I will always look for when I’m traveling and I was very excited to see this beautiful Victorian era home when we arrived to Lenox.

Like a corner castle in Lenox, The Heritage Inn B&B is not hard to locate when you get to Main Street.
Your bedroom, parlor, and dining room won’t be the only places you can get some relaxing done at The Heritage Inn. Kickback on their porch and watch the Lenox world go by….
One of the most comforting ways to wake up. Welcoming natural sunlight pouring in over your bed. I felt like big happy cat finding its sunspot when I was laying on this bed at The Heritage Inn’s Private Suite.
Another feature here at The Heritage Inn. A piece of comfortable furniture to lounge on in the living room and maybe take a nap on. The Private Suite gives you multiple ways to enjoy your stay in Lenox.
Look what I found! A historical book about the area I’m visiting and a comfortable chair. That’s an all day event if you ask me….
The Private Suite has a large living room to keep you entertained. The only thing missing is more folks on those seats!
The Private Suite has a private bathroom. Something that many people want when B&B’ing.
Breakfast time at The Heritage! Fresh fruit bowl and a pose to start out the first course…
Feed me, Heritage Inn! Hot waffles, fluffy scrambled eggs, thick-cut bacon, and all the coffee and orange juice we wanted..

What can I say….Tim and Barb know how to welcome guests into Lenox and into their home that’s known as The Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast. We showed up after a long hot day of exploring Taylor county and needed a long rest in a relaxing setting. Done and done here in Lenox! The front door opened and we were introduced to a SW-Iowa treasure. The Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast is just steps from all the businesses on Main Street-Lenox while giving everyone a rural getaway they’re looking for. I fell right into the spell of The Heritage. My luggage hit floor and the Private Suite pulled me in. This was such a peaceful stay and our hosts did an amazing job of keeping us welcomed, fed, and completely relaxed. We’re not done talking about The Heritage Inn & Suites, so make sure you stay tuned to TIG!

Bonus Beef

Our meal at The Purple Palace wasn’t the only beef inspired stop we made in Taylor County. We had a locker and lunchtime to get more featured on our Gallivant!

Our second stop to Zeb’s Smokehouse in Bedford! This might become a tradition whenever we’re in SW-Iowa!
T-Bones, jerky, meat sticks, and much more to choose from when you’re at this Bedford locker!
Lunchtime in Lenox! The Tiger Den had some great specials and company! Bacon cheeseburgers and Salisbury steaks with a cousin of mine. Lonnie Barker sat down and started talking to me and before we knew it, we were kin! We figured it all out over copious amounts of gravy, mashed taters, and cottage cheese at the Lenox Tiger Den.

Take me back to the 1830s-Taylor County. I’d give anything to see those local papers talking about Missouri invaders and the call to protect Iowa. Imagine how the County looked back then. Much has changed, but from some of the parts I saw, it was very similar to those pioneer days in the countryside. This area has been producing for Iowa since the territory times and will continue to do so forever. There’s an old world type of welcoming that continues to this day in Taylor County. It’s Iowa with a certain twang to it and a personality you don’t get everywhere in the state. That’s exactly why I think so many would love it here in the way we do.

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Make your reservation for the Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast on their website.

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Be sure to click here and see all our gallivants in the Southwest Iowa region!

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Like the Iowa Beef Council on Facebook and keep up with info, updates, events, and promotions!

Hey, Shelia! Can we stop by the backyard again and hangout? I’ll holler when we’re on our way…

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