Even though it may feel like your options are limited, there are still tons of things you can do this weekend in Pottawattamie!
1. Buy your flowers locally and get those flower beds, gardens, or planters filled! Blossoms and Sue’s Country Garden are both located at Oakland and EZ Greenhouse is in Minden with Guyers Greenhouse being the newest addition in Avoca (only open till May 31).
2. Grab some wine! Why not relax this 3-day weekend? And if you are needing an outing, head to the wineries. Prairie Crossing in Treynor and Breezy Hills in Minden are both known for prize-winning wines.
3. The last season of the Farmall-Land USA Museum starts on Saturday! If you haven’t been, it’s implement heaven and it’s your last chance to go. They close in September forever.
4. So the Avoca Library is offering curbside service and the Eckel’s Memorial Library in Oakland is open by appointment. Make your calls and get some reading in on these rainy days!
5. Botna Bend Park in Hancock is a nice shady venue with walking trails and my fave, the buffalo and elk. Definitely something to keep you entertained for an afternoon!
6. Nothing like a golf outing for getting a little exercise, a little frustration, and maybe a few drinks! Check out the Oakland-Riverside Course or Treynor Recreational Area. Neola and Avoca also have courses.
7. Check out the bronze eagles. There’s one in every town in Pott. Co. They are each different and honor the true American heroes: our military. Definitely perfect for this weekend!
8. So if you didn’t see my last blog, it was all about how you can use this weekend to do a cemetery tour and scavenger hunt! Go here to get all the details!
9. We have lots of trails for you to check out! I can’t even name them all! But I recently did one about the Stone Arch Trail in Shelby you might want to read about or Hitchcock is one of the most well-known out in Honey Creek, and it is HUGE! Plus, everything is in bloom!
10. Head to the Nishna Heritage Museum! They are back open for the holiday weekend. You may tour through from 1 to 3pm Saturday, Sunday, or Monday or you can call or text ahead 402.680.8912 for an appointed time if you prefer to be alone.
11. And, of course, here’s your chance to eat your way through the county! I have included a flyer of all the local rural eating establishments and it is updated as of today on what is available for eating in or grabbing and going!
Just when you thought there was nothing to do, there really is! Keep loving where we live, Pott. Co-eds!
So it’s Memorial Day Weekend and it sure doesn’t look like the usual. It’s always been the entrance to summer with picnics, vacations, weddings, etc. and a few people taking time to use Memorial Day for its purpose: to remember those who came before us. Well, life is different this year and here is your chance to remember those who came before us: the ones on covered wagons, the ones that served in World Wars, the ones that made our families happen. And I have fun ways to do it (they would even qualify as homeschooling for history and if you walk the cemeteries, it’s PE, too)!
Seriously, you won’t believe the recon I did to make this happen! If your family gets as much entertainment as I did finding these places, it will be totally worth it! I have created a cemetery tour! Yes, that’s right! A cemetery tour!
Grab the kids, the fam, or the dog and venture out for this one-of-a-kind tour!
Yes, I’m sure you all know where to find the in-town cemeteries in Pott. Co. If you don’t, go to this list. See them all if you want, but my tour is a little off the beaten-path!
Where are you headed? On an adventure!
What can you have your kids do to make it fun?
Please honor those on the scavenger hunt with utmost respect. With everything going on, we sincerely hope this brings you a breath of fresh air and a chance to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day.
May your memories be blessed.
May your weekend be unexpectedly better than planned.
And May you love the ones you're with…
My COVID-Safe location of the day: the Nishnabotna River, or the Nish, as it is often referred. So I admit it, I’ve spent my whole life driving over it, but I haven’t exactly gotten up close and personal with it other than some unfortunate flood waters. But guess what? There’s no time like the present to see it!
With outdoors being one of the best places to be in the midst of the pandemic, why not get a little closer view? There are actually access points for putting boats, kayaks, canoes, and tubes in the water all along the Nish whether you want to check out Botna Bend in Hancock and then the river, or check it out in Chautauqua in Oakland, next to the Rodeo grounds in Carson, or at Old Town Park in Macedonia. For all the water levels and inside scoops, the Friends of the Nish has you covered!
Now, the weather is supposed to get nice so maybe tubing or tanking are calling your name! Floating down the river sounds relaxing, right? Or grab that kayak or canoe and get a little exercise paddling, too!
Another fave: rubber duck races! The folks at Macedonia started this, but it’s perfect for family fun, too. Get your rubber duckies painted or numbered and set them free off one of the local bridges and head downstream to see who comes in first at the next bridge!
Personally, I'm a big fan of the island party! The Nish has a few sandbars that are calling your name. Pretend your on that Carribean vacation - grab the picnic basket, the cooler, and the beach towels! Lounge in the sun on the sand!
Not so much a fan of being in the river? NO problem! You can fish the Nish! There’s even a # for it! (Just make sure you have a fishing license though please.) Hey, they call fishing a sport, too!
Not a sports person? Again, no problem! You can feed the ducks, geese, fish, turtles, whatever you find! Make sure you get those pieces of bread crumbled up good or order some fish food! I promise you something will pop up to eat your food!
You might also want to take your binoculars! Do a little bird-watching or maybe we should call it wildlife-watching because you can always check for the West Nish Monster (related to the Lock Ness Monster, of course), too! I happen to know there’s an eagle nesting near the Oakland bridge waiting for you spot it!
What else can you do on the Nish? Well, I, personally, love to grab my camera or my phone and get some pics! Take those selfies. Find some birds or wildflowers or whatever you see and have a little fun with your camera. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? So stop and smell those… wild roses or fish or Canadian geese!
There really are lots of options of how to enjoy the river, get in your home-schooling, and just appreciate nature in general. Sometimes, we forget that we have fabulous resources sitting right next to us and here is a perfect example!
Take on the Nish, my friends!
But whatever you do – don’t forget your life-vest! Stay safe, Pott. Co-eds!
There’s a hidden gem I hesitate telling you about because I love it so much: the Rock Island Stone Arch Nature Trail in Shelby!
The Stone Arch Trail is 4 miles long and actually runs from the interstate where the giant cornstalk is located, all the way through Shelby (and through their park), and out into the country in a beautiful area of farmland. It is an old railroad bed and tracks still run parallel in some parts of the trail. It’s truly spectacular!
And it’s like the best kept secret!
Why do I love it so much? Lots of reasons, but one is that it’s mostly flat which is really nice when you have a kid with training wheels and you’re old like me! Did I mention that almost all of it is paved? Oh, yeah, that’s nice, too! Also, it has a ridiculous amount of shady areas which are a dream come true when it gets hot and humid outside as it always does in Iowa! At one point, I thought I was in a scene straight out of “Dirty Dancing” – it was shady, deep green and woodsy, and a tree branch was crossing the brook that runs literally right by your side for part of the trek! My other reason: it’s picturesque.
It’s peaceful and yet there’s plenty to see. You can find bird houses scattered throughout the trail, and they are especially to attract purple martins. So if you are a bird-watcher, this place is your haven! This time of year, trees are blooming and berries are starting to grow. There’s just so much to notice! Also, the brook babbles nearby and runs along your course for a good portion of the trail. It really works all your senses. Plus, the Rock Island train car and depot (with restrooms that in non-COVID-times would be open) can be spotted along the trail (Littles love it!). And then there’s the architecture of the old Stone Arch Bridge: it’s gorgeous (you just have to go under the trail to find it!) and the viaduct is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places! (Get that homeschooling history lesson in, too!)
Normally, I’d tell you that the kids should check out the A-MAZ-ING play area, too, but obviously, that’s not an option currently, but the park is fabulous with a ridiculous amount of kids play equipment in a tree-covered area!
The City of Shelby obviously takes pride in their trail, and they should! They've done a rockstar job of preserving it! It’s well-maintained and has benches for resting or simply taking it all in.
In a hard time like COVID-19, it’s a great place to get away and forget your worries for awhile. It’s that stay-cation escape! Be sure to check it out!
It’s National Tourism and Travel Week which is ironic because people have been discouraged from traveling due to COVID-19! So maybe you have to stick a little closer to home, but it can still be done!
You always hear about stay-cations. So you maybe can’t go into all the businesses or spend time in the fabulous museums, but the outdoors in Pottawattamie are worth the time and so is the food!
Often times, we forget to appreciate what’s right in front of us! And let me tell you, Pott. Co. is amazing! My job has given me the opportunity to see all of the county up close and personal. It’s so impressive, quirky, and fun, and so few of us travel around from town to town because we are caught up in the daily grind.
I’ve included a video about the beauty of Pottawattamie. Whether you want to fish on the Nishnabotna or hike Hitchcock or whether you want to check out the buffalo at Botna Bend or do the mural tour in Walnut, there really are lots of things to see and do.
Need tips about a recipe for a staycation, check out some of my recent blogs from the COVID-19 era for all the details!
No bags to pack! No uncomfortable beds to sleep on. No loud adjoining room with crazy kids in it. Hit the open road. Use your lemons to make lemonade and have a stay-cation week in Pott. Co. instead!
#SupportLocal #SmallTownLifeIsTheBestLife #PottCounty
So Mother’s Day may not look the way it usually does, but we have tips to help you make it happen! Since it might take a little more arranging, start early! We wanted to get you on the right track to do so which means we are posting early, too! We have found as many ways as possible to help your mom have a perfect day despite the COVID-19 restrictions! Check them out!
Option 1 – Start mom’s day off right with breakfast in bed. The Bar’N and Grill in Carson will let you order mom breakfast and throw in a free pint of mimosas for her! (Preordering is encouraged!) Let her sleep in then lounge with breakfast and some Netflix binge-watching or a family Disney favorite.
Option 2 - Set up a special dinner for mom. Get that special vase of flowers for the centerpiece from Avoca Flower Shop or Blossoms in Oakland. (FYI: Avoca Flower Shop has 8 different arrangements to choose from and $25 hanging baskets and Blossoms has patio planters, garden décor, gift cards, special mom gifts and will be open on Mother’s Day!)) Buy some ribeyes to grill at Gress Locker or some filets at Minden Meat Market. Pick up some votive candles at the Country Store in Carson to light. Use placemats and fancy dishes. Have the kids make cards for her to read and have a jar of questions for the family to answer at the table while you eat.
Option 3 – Create a patio relaxation plan. Set out the lounge chair or the hammock. Order her that margarita from El Sol in Oakland or Garcia’s in Underwood and download that book from the Council Bluffs library or a free one if you have Amazon Prime. If she doesn’t have quite that much time normally, get her a magazine subscription to Real Simple (Meredith is an Iowa company!) or Our Iowa (best state mag ever!). Very inexpensive and it will remind her to relax once a month. Have the kids pick out some wacky sunglasses to order online and have shipped to her for laying in the sun.
Option 4 – Let her have that peaceful bubble bath! Pick up some of those bath fizzes at Blossoms in Oakland, B ReStored in Walnut, or an essential oils one from a local person. Grab that bottle of wine from Prairie Crossing Winery in Treynor or Breezy Hills Vineyard in Minden to have a glass or five while she soaks. (Breezy Hills is even offering buy a bottle get a Winerita free – their famous wine slushy and Prairie Crossing is doing gift baskets to purchase with local products, winery merch, and gift cards.) Have Alexa play some relaxing music or break out the radio. And get a couple candles out for mood lighting.
Option 5 – Make it a family trail outing! Get the bikes out or just use those feet. Head to one of my favorite hidden gems – the Stone Arch Trail in Shelby or Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek. If you want to see the animals – Botna Bend will be open with buffalo and elk. You could probably even make a date to go fishing in the Nish! Just be sure you have a fishing license!
Option 6 – A family picnic with take-out! Check our list of take-out places and order to go! Have a picnic in your backyard or in Old Town Park in ‘Donia or ask a neighboring farmer if you can use their pasture! Dairy Queen in Oakland is offering a free small blizzard for mom that day so swing by there, too.
Option 7 - Canvas painting for the whole fam! Grab some canvases and paint! Use stencils or straws to blow the paint or check out the Quirky Canvas website! And if you do it outside, a little mess won’t hurt a thing! Or make mom a painted flowerpot and give her a plant! Head to EZ Greenhouse in Minden on Friday, May 8th from 5-7pm and let your littles paint pots and pot a plant for her! $2 covers it!
Option 8 – You can never go wrong with jewelry (if she likes jewelry)! The Painted Camel in Macedonia is going to open by appointment just for you! Head in to get homemade jewelry or pottery made by Paul (he’s doing a 10% Mother’s Day discount on all his pottery) or a print for your wall! Just call 712-310-4534 to make a date at the coolest art gallery around!
So it may seem like Mother’s Day can’t be as planned, but it can still be something special! Here’s your chance to show mom all her efforts lately are appreciated and she is loved. (While still supporting local!)
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms (and those that step in for them) out there!
Keep current with Southwest Iowa happenings here.