2022 T-Bone Trail · Family Adventures · Iowa Food · Northwest Iowa · Outdoors All Year

Reubens, Chops, Chicken & the White House: Get Your Calendars Filled Up with O’Brien County, Iowa

*There’s a chunk of NW-Iowa that can provide an entertaining getaway for everyone, and it comes with a uniqueness in scenery you don’t see all over the state. Our trip to O’Brien County was funded and sponsored by the Western Iowa Tourism Region. Some of the goods, services and meals were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s gallivant!

A simple field in the background, but follow the signs because the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway will lead you to some beautiful scenery in O’Brien County and throughout its whole path!

O’Brien County, Iowa

It’s a nice feeling when you get stumped on how many times you’ve enjoyed multiple road trips somewhere. We made another gallivant to O’Brien County and we realized how much we love being regular visitors to this piece of Northwest Iowa, and we’re still discovering more and more in these communities. Here’s another round of O’Brien County!


The Main Street marquee greets everyone to the Gem of the Prairie! Back to Paullina where our most recent O’Brien County expedition began!
Hosting our stay was the beautiful White House Inn. An easy walk to everything on Main Street and beyond in Paullina! 227 North Main Street 712-448-3782

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is when it comes to staying at wonderful guesthouses like the White House Inn. Find time immerse yourself into this property and set your schedule to relax mode. Paullina, Iowa is a special place that can help you unwind within a friendly small town atmosphere.

This incredibly inviting and historic home has a perfect location. Check-in and take your stroll through the neighborhood and into Paullina’s business district just a short walk away.
The parlor of the White House Inn creates the first impression that you can’t forget. Stepping back in time to an O’Brien County era in a memorable modern day Paullina that provides a getaway you can enjoy all year round.
Several rooms and several ways to relax at the White House Inn. We’re pros at this!
You’re constantly reminded how historic this house is with every beautifully designed turn you take.
Past the collection of antique figurines and up the long staircase was the suite we were eager to see at the White House Inn.
I kicked off the top blanket and went right into nap time in Paullina! A gentle Western Iowa sunlight creating the comfort we needed and I curled up like lazy cat for a quick snooze.
Semi surrounding the main room in this large suite is a long sectional couch. Paullina could be your place for a gathering you’ll always be thankful for!
This White House Inn suite comes with a bar, microwave and refrigeration to keep the party going with cold beverages!
Shiny rainbow reflections welcome you into this suite during the afternoon hour. That’s a nice touch right there!
Do you like to drink Moscow mules? Then you’ll love this copper tub! But don’t mix your drinks in this tub…Just take a bath in this thing and maybe mix yourself a mule and get back to relaxation mode again.

Mary was the gracious host at the White House Inn with her hospitality shining throughout the entire property. The stay here was memorable, beautiful and the welcoming we received will be one we’ll always cherish. Get yourself to O’Brien County and see how you can enjoy a getaway in Western Iowa old world style. I love places like these anytime of year, but there’s something about a wintery getaway to the White House Inn that sounds extra snuggly.

Shop Paullina

Stay on foot and walk the business district of this entertaining O’Brien County community. Time to shop small and support rural Iowa businesses this season!

Broadway Market Place is just off of Main and your supplier of some gifts and treasures you know you’re going to need!
Seasonal outfits aplenty in Paullina!
You know you have someone in mind when it comes to these garments. Or splurge on yourself! Go ahead and wear a piece of Paullina when you go out!
Fantastic clothing needs some fantastic jewelry. Stay fashionable at Broadway Market Place!


The Main Street gallivant of Paullina gets a massive sandwich treatment at Junior’s Bar & Grill! Click on the video below and see one of the biggest moments we had on the T-Bone Trail in Western Iowa! They call it the S.O.B and you’ll se why….
Open wide in O’Brien County, Iowa!
Everything you like on other sandwiches is added to one very large mouthful at Junior’s!

Stay Active

O’Brien County is blessed with several county parks and public land for all of us to enjoy. Get you camper, RV, tents and whatever you need to enjoy the great outdoors in NW-Iowa!

Near Sanborn is Douma Park with plenty of ways to enjoy a day in a rural setting on the lake.
Douma Park features a rural rec area and a quiet atmosphere if you’re looking for a camping opportunity. Get those summer plans ready because it’s never too early to start penciling in your calendar!
Near Primghar is a small oasis known as Tjossem Park that has a perfect prairie touch.
Tucked inside the surrounding pasture and grassy prairie is a little slice of O’Brien County’s natural beauty. A few campsites are available and it’s ideal for a peaceful getaway.
You’ll feel and hear the prairie breezes with the grassy scene surrounding you. So peaceful a butterfly garden can flourish here at Tjossem Park.
A rec area we know really well and we always stop by when we’re in O’Brien County. Dog Creek provides some stunning views especially at sunset near Sutherland.
Up in the hills of Dog Creek are campsites and cabins you can reserve for an extended visit in O’Brien County. This might be the best view we’ve ever had with a grill full of chicken legs.
Just outside our traditional county park cabin is this overlook at Dog Creek. Across the lake are two bin barns that this county park system is incredibly proud of. They’re two of the most unique cabins you’ll find anywhere in the state and they’re more than useful for a large gathering.
You can’t hide from another picture, Gigi! Even when you’re hiding behind a plate of chicken at a Dog Creek picnic!
Our cabin for the night at Dog Creek and it has a wonderful view from the patio and front yard. Click here and see more info about all of the O’Brien County parks and call 712-295-7200 for cabin availability!
Another unforgettable Western Iowa sunset. Dog Creek will always be a special place during our gallivants to O’Brien County. Click on the video below and see how much I love it here.
Get your summer plans ready now for O’Brien County parks!
We took a loop around Sanborn’s City Park and couldn’t miss the O’Brien County Freedom Rock.


You just saw a lot of Paullina and a few other wonderful communities in O’Brien County, and now it’s time for another incredible meal. This time in Hartley, Iowa!

Hartley’s Stoplight Lounge is a restaurant that makes you feel apart of the neighborhood. A historic building that’s been renovated into an incredible NW-Iowa restaurant!
Beef was our goal and the Stoplight had a juicy sandwich that fulfilled this need. If you’re a Reuben fan then Hartley needs to be your destination! They prepare their corned beef in-house and then whip-up their own sauce on rye with plenty of kraut!
We happened to show up on a day when the Stoplight was showcasing their thick-cut and juicy broasted pork chop! The flavor was unbelievable and we made sure to save room for those giant Jo-Jo potato wedges and creamy coleslaw!
From broasted pork chops to broasted chicken! The famous dishes of the Midwest are cooked with love and care at the Stoplight Lounge! Click on the video below and see what was juicy, crunchy, meaty, sauce and hot in Hartley!
Chicken, beef and pork…That’s the whole barnyard at the Stoplight Lounge!

Bonus Beef

The farm tour we took on the T-Bone Trail was a memorable and incredibly important feature during our Western Iowa travels. Click on the video below and see Leng Farms of O’Brien County!

Mr. Leng was made for the camera!

We’ve had some great visits to O’Brien County during different seasons of the year and I strongly encourage you to get this area on your calendar. O’Brien County for a summer packed with hours and day on the water. Fall colors on the byway with crisp hikes on the prairie trails. Springtime for vibrant green pastures and wildflowers appearing along the gravel roads. A winter getaway for small-town shopping with a trip into a comfortable Victorian atmosphere on Main Street. O’Brien County is always gearing up for visitors all year long!

Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail-Western Iowa on Facebook!
Hold your horses! We’re not getting out of O’Brien County without one more meal! Beefy Mexican food with tons of queso at La Pasada in Sheldon!

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