2022 T-Bone Trail · Grownup Getaways · Iowa Wine, Beer, and Spirits · Southwest Iowa

On A Byway for Juicy Beef, Haunted History & Old Friends in Mills County, IA

*The loops and main roads of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway will guide you into Mills County and the beautiful county seat of Glenwood during your much needed road trip. Our visit to Mills County was sponsored and funded by the Western Iowa Tourism Region. Some of the meals, goods and services were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

You’ll be seeing a lot of these signs all over Mills County. I recommend you follow them for awhile and discover the Loess Hills while you’re here. It’s truly one of the most beautiful natural wonders of in the Midwest.

Mills County, Iowa

Mills County is an area where we’ve become regulars. It started with a trip in 2016 and we make it a point to cruise on in every time we know we’re going to be within horseshoe throwing distance of the area. The scenery and restaurants are a big reason why, but it’s the locals are the biggest reason why it feels so great to show up to these SW-Iowa communities. And we keep making more friends each time we Gallivant Mills County!

Roadside America & History

Mr. Stephen Hunt welcomed TIG into town and introduced me to more of the Glenwood locals during this trip, and we had a fun and entertaining day in the process. He’s the Director of the Mills County Historical Museum and showed me around the vary facility that he’s so proud of.
There are tons of historical treasures to see in this museum, but I was drawn to the Native American artifacts that are housed here. This is undoubtedly one of the most impressive collections I’ve seen in the state of Iowa.
The exhibits supply a countless array of artifacts that just seem to never ending. There’s history, a story, and massive importance with each piece that pulls at your imagination in the Mills County Historical Museum.
I wasn’t exaggerating when I described this Native American collection above. This museum could keep someone occupied for a very long time especially if these cultures are something you seek out and enjoy studying.
The portrait inside is one of the major contributors to the Mills County Historical Museum, and this collection couldn’t have been this impressive without him.

It’s really easy to start straying from where you were planning on going in Mills County. The Loess Hills reminders are everywhere so I recommend penciling in some time to make several unscheduled stops during your getaway here.

Overlook signs a plenty in the Loess Hills. Try to see as many as you can on this path!
Beautiful pastures blend right into the unforgettable Loess Hills horizons and then eventually crashing into those one of a kind Western Iowa skies.

County museums are always an excellent way to learn about local history wherever you travel to. An alternate pursuit of historical knowledge in Mills County is at Malvern Manor in the town of Malvern. Prepare to get the chills when you hear the stories that are coming out of this internationally known haunted building.

Located just up the hill from Malvern’s Main Street district and attracting believes and skeptics alike to this paranormal hotspot. Seen on several TV shows and by plenty of eyewitnesses.
The portrait of the original owner greets the guests of the Malvern Manor. Originally a busy hotel that supplied much needed rooms for folks riding the railroads and eventually turned into a home for folks with disabilities. Watch the video below and get a sample of what the Malvern Manor is all about.
Believe it or be a skeptic. Both are welcomed to the Malvern Manor.
Many of the rooms fit the bill with what could be haunting them. The spirit, who has been documented in this part of the manor, seems to love children’s toys. These are placed to see if any activity can be documented.
Inside the bathrooms are the scenes of the institutional past of Malvern Manor.
Inside another room where it feels like it wasn’t long ago when one of the residents would have resided here.

The past is something that can be retold in several ways, and the history of Malvern Manor is a fascinating one even without the ghost stories. After getting properly frightened, it was time to get back on the road and see more of the county. Obviously with a lot still on my mind!

The little town of Mineola showed itself while I was buzzing around the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway and so did a couple of its roadside attractions. I didn’t check to see if the prices were up to date, but this old hotel appears to have a great deal on water. You can get fresh water and for half the price get used! It’s good to have plenty of options when you travel.
And don’t get out of line in Mineola because the local jail is located directly on Main Street!

Grownup Getaway

Sometimes you need to have an adventure that’s suited for the grownups out there. Mills County is a terrific destination for this sort of adventure and you get all that local scenery to go with it!

Bodega Victoriana Winery is near Glenwood and with a beautiful rural atmosphere. The delicious wine is an excellent perk, too!
Just sitting outside of the Bodega patio when one of their best employees greeted me. Sunny afternoon, wine, Loess Hills splendor and a dog to help me pass the time in Glenwood. This is exactly how you get me to come back again and again!
From the wine makers to the beer makers! Keg Creek Brewing Company has never missed a visit from TIG when we’re in town. One of the fastest growing breweries in Iowa and always supplies an entertaining day when I’ve stopped by.
Hey, look It’s Randy! I love this brewery so much that I stopped in to say hi when we were passing through a couple weeks later. Randy is the owner of Keg Creek and I’m proud to call him my friend. They have always been a fan of TIG, and the feeling is more that mutual. I don’t mind saying that Keg Creek Brewing is one of my favorite breweries in Iowa!

Check-In

Joe Designer is the name and selling some sweet apparel is the game! That and screen printing with a salon in the the back and a wicked awesome Airbnb loft upstairs!

On the town square of Glenwood is a family owned business that seems to dabble in just about everything. Joe Designer is another Mills County business that’s made back on The Iowa Gallivant and for some seriously good reasons. They have some slick looking shirts and hats that I was eyeballing and we needed a place to stay so there’s two great reasons right there!

And look at that pooch! Glenwood is appearing to be a dog friendly community!
Do I have too many shirts and hats from the places I’ve traveled to? Probably, but that’s not stopping me!
Up the stairs to the loft and the unforgettable accommodations it’s home to.
And then……BOOM! This loft made me want to pack up and move to Glenwood’s town square immediately. Historic building with a completely remodeled upper level that called to me with every step I took to get here.
Old brick that creates its own natural artwork with hardwood floors that made me want to breakdance. Lucky for all involved, I do not indeed know how to breakdance. Modern kitchen, inviting recliners and relaxing SW-Iowa vibes all over the loft.
Inside my lovely bedroom at the Town Square Loft. Not one inch of this place went unrecognized with the design and care of this phenomenal Airbnb destination.
The bathroom is wonderfully decorated as well and stocked with plenty of soft towels.
The room was delightfully dark and I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. The loft’s bed was comfortable as were the sheets. That was a genuine early morning smile from a man that had plenty of sleep.

The Town Square Loft is just a few steps to everything in Glenwood’s main business district. Make your getaway a convenient one by parking your car and not worrying about driving much after you make your reservations, and enjoy the square with every lap you take!

Let’s Eat Steak

*We had the great pleasure to work with the Mills/Montgomery Cattlemen and they were the official meal sponsors for our visit to Mills County. Thank you to this association because we had some mouthwatering meals featuring some delicious beef!

Back to Mineola’s Maine Street and into Tobey Jack’s! Time to beef up this Gallivant to Mills County!

Some of Iowa’s smallest communities have the tastiest restaurants. Mineola is in rural Mills County and just south of Council Bluffs. Tobey Jack’s is a popular destination for droves of travelers enjoying the byway, bikers and cyclists. Another scenic area of Mills County and perfect spot for a meet-up with a steak supper!

Here comes the Tobey Jack’s appetizers! Breaded and fried mushrooms to start this Mineola party properly!
The famous Tobey Jack’s onion rings with two kinds of sauces to enjoy with them!
Then I was handed this behemoth! I was told that the Tobey Jack’s Prime Rib would be a great choice by many of the locals. I listened to them and was extremely pleased with their suggestion!
A juicy and tender slice of Mills County at Tobey Jack’s! Click on the video below and get another look at this mighty Prime Rib!

Back to the Town Square

The Town Square Loft is where I was spending the night so it’s where I naturally wanted to spend more time in this district. I’ve gotten to know it very well throughout the years, and I look forward to seeing what has opened up since the last time I was in Glenwood!
One of those places that I had yet to experience was Parea Cocktail Lounge! You’ll see and hear what’s shaking right when you walk in!
The roaring 20s meets….I guess the current roaring 20s at Parea Cocktail Lounge! You can get the old fashioned drinks mixed to order or choose from the list of modern delights that the talented bartenders can prepare at high speed success.
Parea also hosts some live music for the masses. This means you have an evening ready to go for your grownup getaway on the square. Live music, classy cocktails, restaurants and all of it waiting within eye site of the Joe Designer Loft! Click on the video below and hear what else I have to say about Glenwood’s square!
It’s always a good time on the square in Glenwood!

Bonus Beef

Lunchtime in Glenwood and a huge stick to your ribs meal from Tom & Tiff’s!
That smile says a lot at Tom & Tiff’s. The service is as good as the food!
Gravy, mashed potatoes, gravy, roast beef, gravy and fresh bread! And some gravy! Click on the video below and see this hot roast beef sandwich up close!
I became quick friends with this hot roast beef sandwich!
Needing a burger hot off the grill in Mills County? Then C&M’s Café in Malvern is where you can go for this beefy treat. It just got the TIG photo bomb treatment…..
That’s a big burger eating smile on a blissfully happy traveler. I just felt I needed a burger after that tour of the Malvern Manor…..

We have a lot of people in this world we should try to thank more often. Iowa’s farmers rank right up there for me, and the recent Mills County Fair gave me the opportunity to highlight a local cattlemen that has long and strong family ties to area of SW-Iowa!

Brady was an on the spot superstar for this interview! Thanks for helping us have a great evening at the fair!

I find myself missing some of the folks I know in Mills County when I think of the area. It’s been a set of Western Iowa communities that have helped me create a long list of positive and entertaining memories throughout the years of gallivanting. My travels to Mills County have brought me to so much that I’m already familiar with while opening me up to new ways to enjoy the county all at the same time. I can’t think of a better way to spend multiple return trips to a Loess Hills beauty like this. Beer me again, Randy!

Make your reservations for the Glenwood Loft on the Towns Square on Airbnb.

Like the Mills/Montgomery County Cattlemen on Facebook!
Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail-Western Iowa on Facebook!
An American treasure indeed! Mills County is more than ready for your own Loess Hills expedition!

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