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

Iowa’s Aviators & the James Gang-Prairies, Cheeseballs & Ribeyes w/ Biscuits & Gravy in Adair County

*It was another first for us on The Iowa Gallivant! Adair County has finally made it to our travels and we were excited to have it represented on The inaugural Western Iowa T-Bone Trail! Our trip was sponsored by Adair County, Iowa Tourism. Some of the goods, services, and meals were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

All rise! This SW-Iowa Gallivant is officially in session!

Adair County, Iowa (Our 88th Iowa County)

I’ve been sipping through and occasionally stopping in Adair County my whole life. The northern reaches are directly on I-80 with much of the southern areas of the county left unexplored on my part. That was until 2021 arrived and we hit the road! Get ready for a lot of gallivanting moments everyone can have in Adair County!

Roadside Attractions & History

Prairie preserve, birthplace site, public art, hiking trails, education, gardens. All here in one place near the town of Orient. This is the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center!

Henry A. Wallace is a native Iowan and one of the most important politicians and Vice Presidents in American history. A successful farmer, businessman, scientist, and leader with an Iowa upbringing. This would be the most enlightening stop on our Adair County Gallivant….

The Wallace family contributed to Iowa and a nation since the 1800s. Henry A.’s history would start here in Adair County in humbled settings.
Just down the hill from the restored barn is this wonderous prairie preserve. One of the best of its kind that we were lucky to see this year in Western Iowa.
Many moments like this! Stopping and admiring the paintings by local artists. And the occasional mimicking of them is quite acceptable when prairie dogs are one of your favorite animals!
The public art doesn’t stop with paintings. Sculptures like this metallic scarecrow are spread throughout the preserve.
Proud paintings from artists of all skillsets can be viewed in all directions in this amazing prairie.

There was something so soulful about this preserve. The day was very warm, but shadows from the low hanging clouds and those prairie breezes were flowing through grass and wild flowers. The Henry A. Wallace Birthplace Farm gave us a glimpse into his fabled family and life in SW-Iowa before the world sped up to where we are today. Taking a stroll through this prairie gives anyone that wants a peaceful Iowa day in their travels. We breathed in the the aromas coming off the vegetation and heard the natural sounds through its stems, leaves, and pedals every time the light winds would kick-up. Locate these preserves wherever you may see them. They are some of the most precious areas of Iowa we have.

The Wallace family has a famous history in Adair County. The James Gang gave this chunk of SW-Iowa a piece of infamous history.

Historic White Pole Road is one of Iowa’s byways that Western Iowa showcases in this 36 county region. This stretch of rural highway goes through some small Iowa towns and features roadside attractions that easy going road trippers always keep their eye open for. Actually they keep both eyes open. They’re driving for Pete’s sake! Any-hoo…Jesse James and his gang of thieves had to rob a train in the West for the first time somewhere! Turned out to be near the town of Adair in 1873. Stop the car for this photo-op!

Its one single train wheel but what it signifies had a major impact on the entire country when news broke out of the heist. Security on the rails had to be amped up after this day in Adair and the western expansion had its most infamous villain plotting more robberies…
How did we take this pic? They have a selfie station to set your phone on and then……CLICK! Your Adair County expedition has its lasting memory on White Pole Road. Now, click on that video below and get another look at this historical landmark…
I should host my own travel show! We’ll get back to that some other time. Let’s see more of Adair County first!

A trip into the outskirts of Greenfield and you’ll find the Iowa Aviation Museum along with the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame! I’ve seen signs for this facility for years and it was time to see what this complex of high flyin’ Iowa housed. Let’s just say that I was expecting planes, and plenty of stories. Holy guacamole, that would be an understatement!

Right next to the regional airport in rural Adair County is a museum I think can fascinate just about anyone.
Sure, you can look up the address. Or just wait until you see this fighter jet relic!
Inside the hanger of Iowa’s Aviation Museum are some the world’s rarest aircraft. Shined up and on display for a flight school education in Greenfield!
The aviation crew makes this Greenfield experience a special one with all their unbelievable knowledge they have with everything on display. Iowa’s contribution to aviation is remarkable and they do a fabulous job of preserving as much of it as they can.
From the origins of aviation to modern times, Iowans have been there for it the whole time. The Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, the Doolittle Raid, Enola Gay crew, and important aviation technology have their stories in Iowa and now in Greenfield.
During peacetime and war, Iowans have hurled themselves into the atmosphere and into outer space. The Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame inducts some of the most notable contributors to our state’s history in this expansive field. From the airstrip to orbit, these amazing Iowans get inducted four at a time each year. Contact the Iowa Aviation Museum and get information on how you can nominate someone you think should be in this wonderful hall of fame!

I know it took a worldwide host of allies and soldiers from around the country, but one walk through this museum will make you so proud that WWII had Iowans up in the air and working on the aircraft at our bases. That conflict seemed to have someone from this state playing an instrumental part in so many crucial moments during this time period. And not just that one! Our pilots and crewmen & women have served in some of the bravest ways since the moment the US military commissioned aircraft. And it’s not just during wartime. The role Iowans had in getting some of the world’s most famous inflight historical moments happen makes for a long list. Those stories are still being created everyday and year after year with Iowa’s impact on the aerospace industry and more of our youngsters volunteering for service. This museum has many more decades of growth to come.

Speaking of joining the service! Bubba’s first Freedom Rock is right here in Adair County near Menlo.

There are folks who can say that they’ve visited all of Iowa’s Freedom Rocks that have been completed in almost all of Iowa’s 99 counties. Adair County is where it all began and the rest is history for this US military inspired tour of our state. After years of locating them myself, this was the first time I’ve ever seen the original Freedom Rock near Menlo.

Take a break while you’re at the Adair County Freedom Rock! Peaceful setting and shelter supplies an opportunity to relax and observe rural SW-Iowa during your road trip.

Stay Active

One of the most important aspects of any long drive is getting out and staying active. Even if it’s just a short walk. Adair County can put some scenery into your jaunt, and offers some off the beaten path ways to get that camping fix taken care of too!

Right on the edge of town in Orient is this rec area with its winding walking paths.
Does your boat, kayak, or canoe want to stay active too? Lake Orient can make that happen as well!
Just outside of the city of Greenfield is this perfect Adair County park for a stunning sunset during your road trip.
Don’t forget your Frisbee golf discs! Lake Greenfield May have one of the most picturesque sunset disc golf holes in Iowa.

Let’s Eat Steak!

Some of the locals in Greenfield were wondering if we planned on getting a meal at the popular Olive Branch Family Restaurant while we were walking the historic Public Square. The answer was a huge Y-E-S!

Connected to the Hotel Greenfield is the Olive Branch and the Adair County stop on the Western Iowa T-Bone Trail!
Starting out with a fresh salad is the cornerstone of many beginnings when it comes to memorable steak suppers.
And here would be another! Local beers ready to be enjoyed at the Olive Branch!

There’s nothing better than having a tasty restaurant connected to your hotel. To be able to walk downstairs and know there’s a surf and turf meal read to happen is a much anticipated perk to look forward to whenever I’m traveling.

Ribeye coming up! There’s only one thing “shrimpy” on this plate.

Charbroiled Ribeyes turned out to be the #1 theme when it came to our meals throughout the year on the road. But I didn’t always have some tender shrimp paired-up with them like I did at the Olive Branch in Greenfield! Give me a home where the hash browns roam and the steaks are juicy all day…That’s Western Iowa, right there, and Adair County made this stop on the T-Bone Trail another magnificent one. I have a full belly and just want to plop down on a bed and think about my next steak. Wherever shall I go? I know! Right next door is where I’m going….Click on the video below and see more of our steak at the Olive Branch!

Hit me with the surf turf any day, Greenfield!

Check-In

The Public Square of Greenfield, Iowa is a business district that I could see myself enjoying from morning to night. And you don’t even need to leave the confines of Hotel Greenfield if you wanted to do that! Although they suggest you get the whole Public Square experience….

The brick layout of Greenfield’s Public Square includes the historic Hotel Greenfield in this popular SW-Iowa district.
One of my favorite things to see when I’m checking into a hotel. An actual key for my room!
The modern day Hotel Greenfield still has much of its charm from when it opened in the roaring 1920s.
Look who I saw again! Henry A. Wallace appeared in the lobby with another Adair County welcome.
Your gathering goes right here! Early 20th century ambiance with plenty of coffee and a full bar for later in the day.
Someone else can have the rollaway tonight. That king sized bed is mine!
Breakfast is served…whenever you want it. Available in your room right when you arrive!
Flat screen TV, comfy chairs, and relaxation commencing right when you set your luggage down in your room.
The iconic neon lets you know it’s officially nite-nite time in Greenfield. Or go hit-up one of the establishments on the Public Square!
Operator….Operator…Someone get another getaway planned for Adair County! Stat!

Renovated to give us those modern perks we look forward to while keeping the architectural integrity that made it such a beautiful and renowned hotel. Hotel Greenfield is a short walk away from restaurants, shopping, drinks at the bar, and more of what’s notable on the Public Square. I really got a kick out of chatting with the folks at the front desk while I was here and especially loved the assistance I got with taking pictures. I could tell that the employees worked hard and truly cared for Hotel Greenfield. Our room was perfect for what we needed, and everything had such a unique 1920s SW-Iowa feel here in the 2020s. Thank you all, and don’t think we’re done talking you up. We have even more to show everyone from Hotel Greenfield on The Iowa Gallivant, so stay tuned!

More of Greenfield’s Public Square

Nope! Not done with this one of kind Public Square in Greenfield! It’s also one of the rarest designs you’ll see in America when it comes to the town square concept. Keep those sneakers on because we’re taking a few more laps…

The Warren Culture Center of more simply put, the Opera House. One of the grandest buildings in all of SW-Iowa.
Are you on the hunt for Iowa’s best biscuits and gravy? We’ll always be looking for a plate of this stick to your ribs meal and The Corner Coffee Shop & Eatery genuinely has some of the best I’ve ever had in Iowa. That will get some of you to Greenfield!
You’ll find plenty of shopping opportunities on the Public Square! Especially if you’re looking for antiques, collectables, gifts, and art! Just click on the video below and see what else we have to say about this neighborhood of history and businesses in Greenfield, Iowa!
And there’s more to see when you get here!

Bonus Beef

The Tiger Drive-In is another Greenfield icon and they have some “killer” selections!
Introducing the Killer Fries! This is hot French fries served Philly steak style with melted cheese, grilled peppers, and onions! Adair County helping us get more of what we’re looking for when it comes to finding beefy meals!
Do not leave the Tiger Drive-In without these cheeeeeeeeeeeesy cheeseballs!

We came to Adair County to find another Western Iowa steak inspired meal and left with finding a great one in Greenfield. Then you top it off with unreal biscuits and gravy, cheeseballs that can stretch around your head, and a whole lot of important Iowa history. It was another round of meeting some old acquaintances that I wasn’t expecting on running into. I meant so much to be trading off nostalgic stories of our families in SW-Iowa. I am so grateful to have been on this trail throughout the year and the memories are stacking up higher in certain ways I didn’t see coming when we started this in May. Adair County, I wish we didn’t wait so long for a visit, but I am so glad we finally made it there. I’d be honored to walk the square a few more times and lose myself in the prairie even longer next time.

Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail on Facebook!

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Glad we could catch up with each other! Keep up the great work, Adair County!

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