2021 T-Bone Trail · Family Adventures · Iowa Food · Iowa Wine, Beer, and Spirits · Roadside Iowa · West Central Iowa

Our “Pop Up” Adventures in Carroll County, Iowa: Juicy Steaks, Shopping Small & Roadside Memories Galore

*There’s been many times we’ve zipped through Carroll County and we finally coordinated a Gallivant to this area that’s BIG ON BEEF and so much more. Our visit was sponsored by Emerge Marketing Solutions. Some of the goods, services, and meals were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

Welcome to Manning! A big scoop of Western Iowa waiting for us at Sweat Treats Ice Cream Shoppe!

Carroll County, Iowa (Our 89th Iowa County)

There was a huge day planned for us in Carroll County, and Shelly Greving of Emerge Marketing was the hostess that planned it out for us! She did her homework and knew just what we needed to see during our inaugural Gallivant to this Western Iowa community on the T-Bone Trail. An entertaining itinerary wasn’t all she provided for this expedition….


Right on the edge of Manning was our Carroll County hub for the day. It’s still great weather for camping and our night would be spent here under the stars!

The German Hausbarn Campground was enjoying a busy day of campers and we were happy to be a part of the squad of outdoors enthusiasts here in Manning. Look at the weeks ahead in your favorite weather app because there is going to be some wonderful days and nights ahead for campgrounds like this!

A little mural to welcome you into your Manning campsite!
The Greving family set up their own pop up camper for us to enjoy during our stay in Manning!
The neighbors trickled in all day for spots in this popular first come first serve campground on Willow Creek.

This campground is just a short drive from everything in Manning and serves as a fantastic staging point for some easy going road trips throughout the area. Or just stay put the whole time! No one would blame you. However, we have a few suggestions that could inspire some Carroll County exploring of your own….You hungry?

Let’s Eat Steak!

Let’s get this steak special highlighted right away! Time for to take our beef cravings to The Shop Bar and Grill in Arcadia!

The Shop Bar & Grill isn’t just popular with folks in Arcadia and Carroll County. This restaurant brings in crowds from all over West-Central Iowa and beyond! Watch the video below and see one of the most delectable Ribeyes we had on this year’s T-Bone Trail…

That steak was made for the big screen. Too bad it never got there because I housed that bad boy!

Very fresh, cooked to a wonderful medium-rare, and great company to share it with. How fresh is this steak? We’ll get to that in a bit, but I’d start making plans for your own visit to The Shop!

Even char-marks while exuding its beefy flavors, aroma, and perfect texture. It was so juicy that the beer neon was reflecting off of it!
Tearing into right away. That was quite an invite to Arcadia for lunch!

We didn’t stop with the Shop Bar & Grill when it came to huge and memorable steak moments in Carroll County. We still had supper to prepare for and we went big back at the camper in Manning!

Pop up camper and grill provided by the locals of Manning, Iowa! This was a complete example of showcasing a community in a very proud way. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated everyone that joined us.
Look at the size of that T-Bone! Grilled right next to our campsite picnic table. Devoured under beautiful Manning skies on a perfect day to be having a steak supper outside. Where did we get that freshly thick-cut T-Bone? We’ll be getting back to that too…

Roadside Attractions & History

Just where are we? According to one of Manning’s most popular roadside attractions, we’re in Iowa! Make sure you stop here and get a pic of your own because you don’t want miss Milwaukee Trestle Park!

Wowzzerz! Manning is one of Iowa’s premier cities for roadside attractions! They are everywhere and the range of styles are all over the place. Public art, murals, historic, interactive, and….well, let’s just get to pictures…

Some may not look at a waterpark as a roadside attraction, but we sure do! One of the best ways to stay active and cool off when you’re on a road trip and it’s right next to the beautiful City Park in Manning. This town also has one of the most historic water towers in Iowa. You may have seen this style of water tower in many places, but their are only two still in operation with Manning’s being one of them. And always keep an eye out for the multiple statues depicting children having the time of their life. Manning’s annual Kinderfest is always a good reason to get the family packed up and heading to Carroll County!
Look at mama’s little angel! And then there’s my daughter, Gigi….Another reason to take a stroll through Manning’s City Park.
One of the biggest and proudest attractions in Manning and Carroll County. This area has held on to their strong German heritage and this authentic Hausbarn is the centerpiece of their cultural masterpieces. Originally built in 1660-Germany and later dismantled, in 1996, for its forever home in Manning. This is centuries of history that’s preserved by the hardworking folks that keep this beauty renovated and kept up for all us history buffs to enjoy. The German Hausbarn is not be missed when you find yourself in Manning.
When you’re permitted to touch something, at an extremely historical building, by all means give it a feel. The historic energy of 4 centuries of German farmers can be literally felt all over the Hausbarn.
This isn’t a picture of some funny looking shrub or collection of antique straws. This is a closeup of the Hausbarn’s roof. The architecture of this structure will amaze you when it’s just inches from your eyes.

The German Hausbarn was just a short walk from our campsite and it provided an amazing look into 1600s-Europe. Being in awe of how it was all put together was the constant feeling I had here. A very pleasant way to take a walk while camping in Manning. The Hausbarn isn’t the only attraction that’s a short jaunt from the nearby campground.

Leet-Hassler Farmstead gives you a glimpse of how farming in Carroll County was like in The early 1900s.
Original structures still standing on the old farm in Manning.
Ag and antique aficionados will love a morning, afternoon, or evening constitutional around the grounds of the Fleet-Hassler Farmstead.
Inside the house is another look at Manning’s history. From the opulent rooms of the eccentric original owner of this farmstead, to the humbled staff quarters. And look at that bust of one of Manning’s contributors to keeping the area’s history alive!
Our walk around the campsite isn’t done! This was another incredible story of relocation. Trinity Lutheran Church was originally built in the countryside and now has its hillside home in the German Hausbarn grounds.
Did you think that was everything we saw on our walk? Just down the lane from our camper is the Carroll County Freedom Rock. Check this one off my list!

Let’s keep up the good times and history here in Carroll County! Time to get on the blacktops and drive to Templeton!

Bootlegging Western Iowa! Templeton, Iowa helped to keep the 1920s roaring and still supplies whiskey lovers with the good stuff into the 21st century!

We had the pleasure of getting a full tour of Templeton Distillery by Keith Kerkhoff! His family’s history goes deep into the Templeton lore and goes back for many-many years in this region of Iowa. He knows this distillery better than anyone, and he was the perfect guide to show us around.

The story of Templeton Distillery is a genuinely fascinating one. The conjoining museum of this larger than life complex is just as great as the spirits that get produced here on a daily basis. Mark me down for having my gravestone available for hiding bottles of hooch as well! Kieth, can you help make that happen?
The old homestead is depicted here at Templeton Distillery. Hiding hooch was a clever business, in the 1920s, and you had to come up with several ideas to keep the bottles and the still hidden. Fence posts, graveyards, pig pens, and under your loved one’s dresses were just a sample of all the ways Templeton’s bootleggers avoided the law. Let’s just say it didn’t always workout for them.
Is that evidence of Templeton’s bootlegging activity in Keith’s hands? Get over to Carroll County and see for yourself! The legendary stories that this little Western Iowa town has produced will keep going through your entire time in Templeton.
You knew this was coming! The tasting room was open and there was no way I was turning down samples of Templeton’s aged masterpieces that can be poured in your own glasses at home. You just got some holiday gift ideas, didn’t you!

The blacktops kept going all over the county! This included classic road trip material for the roadside attraction lovers that we are!

Where do your local creeks and rivers eventually flow to? Thanks to this Carroll County nugget of knowledge, we can finally get that answered!
The corny side of this county. Rotating corn on the cob in Coon Rapids!

Let’s Go Shopping

It’s time to shop local! The City of Carroll was more than opened for business. It was a vibrant day for the county seat when we arrived. Now is the time for a good reminder that you may want to pack an empty cooler for your own Gallivant to Carroll County!
If you love meat then you are going to love Carroll County. Remember that giant T-Bone from earlier at our campsite? Bordenaro’s Meat Market in Carroll is where you can pick up yours!
Look at this meat counter! Freshly cut and ready for your grills, skillets, campfires, and anyway you prefer to cook marbled beauties like these. And you won’t have any trouble finding some interesting spice blends while you’re here.
Awesome cuts of pork is their specialty as well. The best of many worlds can be found at Bordenaro’s. This includes delicious salads, sausages, and much more.

The meaty train through Carroll County continues! Remember that glistening Ribeye from The Shop Bar & Grill? It was brought over from a well known meat locker that’s right across the street from the kitchen it was cooked in!

Arcadia Meats has been a staple in the town of Arcadia for generations. Their family history is in full display here at the locker!
Another full tour of a proud family business. Iowa’s lockers are an important part of any community’s history and they are more relevant than ever as we keep moving into the future of local processing.
Dedham Bologna is absolutely legendary. Many people have made the drive to Dedham, Iowa just for this taste of pure Bologna bliss, and Kitt’s Meat Processing is where you’ll find it!

In my eye there is no better way to shop small, buy local, and support Iowa industries, farmers, and families better than heading to local lockers and meat shops. There’s someone you know that would love to receive meaty gifts from places you just read about. You’ll be making some great folks very happy on many levels and the mileage of the revenue your purchases go a long way at these establishments. But hey! Bundles of steaks, sausages, Bologna, and jerky isn’t the only gifts you can wrap up in Carroll County. Let’s head back to Manning and see what we can find….

Main Street-Manning is where you find plenty of ways to shop small and buy local this year and beyond!
The Market Place is another way to support Iowa’s entrepreneurs. They have a wide range of clothes, gifts, jewelry, soaps, decorations…I could keep going for a long time…
It’s a market for him, her, and the little ones! That hat didn’t leave Gig’s head all weekend after snagging it from The Market Place. Get your travels planned out for this Main Street district and find some new ways to stuff those stockings. Small-town Iowa has some amazing shops and this is a captivating one in Manning!

Bonus Beef

Meet me on the corner in Manning and you might just find us at Deb’s Corner Cafe on Main Street!
Hot roast beef sandwich and a juicy cheeseburger at Deb’s! That will be one of the best strawberry pies you’ll ever encounter as well. Just look at all that rich gravy….I could go for another round of that classic beefy meal.
Let’s take a scenic drive to an amazing farmstead that is home to an incredibly hospitable and gracious Carroll County family. Wiese & Sons Herefords gave us the beef industry education I was seeking with a stunning sunset to go with it. Watch the video below and see what I’m talking about!
Talk about a pro when it comes ton interviews! These farmers know their beef!
There was nothing like it the whole day. The Wiese family treated us like longtime friends and I left missing their farm before I even got back to our campsite. This was a beautiful capper to our day in Carroll County.

Morning came to Manning and we exited the Greving family camper with so much to be thankful for. Shelly with Emerge Marketing Solutions sent us on a wonderful excursion throughout these proud communities and still left us wanting more. These days on the T-Bone Trail gave back to us in ways we can’t fully describe in words. Which is why we, as a family, need to make efforts for return trips to Carroll County and Western Iowa. The folks that showed us around provided more proof to how spectacular it can be traveling in Iowa. So hop on the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway and you’ll find yourself in Carroll County at some point. The area can provide so many great moments for you and your road tripping crew, and I truly hope you bump into some of the locals that made our trip a fantastic one. But I feel like I need to head back to Templeton for some reason….

That’s right! Huge omelets and pancakes at Waspy’s! Throw me into the sausage gravy and dip me in syrup cuz this breakfast was on point!

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See everything we’ve covered on The Iowa Gallivant in the West Central Region of Iowa!

What a view from Great Western Park in Manning. We may have to get that pop up camper ready again!

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