Country Pilgrim (Midwest Small Town)

Midwest Small Town Blogger-Approved Itinerary

Check out Dan's blog, Country Pilgrim (Midwest Small Town) and his YouTube channel Midwest Small Town YouTube Channel.

Dan Cline is transitioning his blog, "The Country Pilgrim" to a YouTube Channel, "Midwest Small Town." He visited several communities in O'Brien County and blogged and/or vlogged about each one. Check it out at or

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Primghar, Iowa

Figure Eight Races

If you’ve never experienced racing – then there is no better way to get your feet wet in the world of racing, than on an old figure-eight dirt track! There’s plenty of dirt and mud flinging in the air – the racing is competitive, and the atmosphere is electric. 

Figure Eight Races in Primghar

Just One More

There’s a secret in Primghar, Iowa – and that secret is starting to get out as locals flock to the local golf course to fuel up on some of the best food around at “Just One More” – don’t be fooled by the scenery – its more than a county club and golf course – it’s an entire dining experience. Bring the whole family – sit back and relax after a round or two of golf and help yourself to a burger and fries! 

Just One More in Primghar

Downtown Primghar

One of the best things a person can do to learn a few things about small-town America is to walk the downtown district. There might be only a few businesses open or around, but if you are lucky, you can experience a little bit of genuine life and country town living in doing so. Primghar is no exception to this rule, but if you wander around long enough you’ll learn a quick history lesson.

Downtown Primghar

The Cobblestone Bar- 133 1st St. SE, Primghar

The Cobblestone serves up some of the best drinks around, but they might be most famous for their one-of-a-kind Old Fashions – the drink is made to perfection!

Cobblestone Bar in Primghar

(photo courtesy of Flint and Co.)

Courthouse and Railroad

Primghar holds its place in history as the county seat of O’Brien, but there was a time when that seat was challenged. Sanborn, Iowa (to the North) had the railroad passing through their town and felt it would be best if they were the county seat – especially when Primghar seemed to lose its traction as a county seat when the railroad didn’t pass through. Read more about the history at Dan’s Blog!

O'Briecn County Courthouse

Bill's Cabin - 3rd St. SE, Primghar

Bill's Cabin is a nice rural destination to check out and stay off the grid for a few nights. Come check it out and stay overnight in a grain bin –it's a fun and unique way to enjoy a nice quiet evening in rural America!

Bill's Cabin in Primghar

(photo courtesy of Flint and Co.)

Sanborn, Iowa

Roundhouse and Turntable Mural - Downtown Sanborn

You DON’T want to miss the Roundhouse and Turntable Mural in Downtown Sanborn. It brings memories back to me as a child when I visited my Aunt and Uncle – maybe a quick visit to Sanborn will begin new memories for you! 

Roundhouse and Turntable Mural in Sanborn, Iowa

Carnegie Library

Sanborn happens to be one of the rare small communities that not only secured a Carnegie grant to obtain the library – but one that literally SAVED their historical landmark – and the best part – you can book a night or two! Wait until you see what they did inside this beautiful piece of history.

Carnegie Library Sanborn Iowa

Miller Park Campground and Cabin

Check out Miller Park in Sanborn – right next to the golf course – they have approximately 18 spots available (no pull-throughs) but all have hookups! You are right next to the golf course – so you can have your nightly entertainment a few steps away! A cabin is also available that sleeps 10 people. 

Miller Park

Miller Park Cabin Miller Park Cabin

Caboose in Sanborn City Park

If you head north down Main Street a few blocks, a park will sit nested against Highway 18 and Main Street – Sanborn City Park, but I like to call it railroad pack due to the beautiful orange/red caboose that dominates the northeast corner of the park and calls itself home. It’s a beautiful standing railroad car piece from the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. You can get up close to the Caboose – and give yourself a chance to soak in a piece of railroad history.

Caboose Sanborn Iowa

Freedom Rock and Veteran's Memorial - Sanborn City Park

On the opposite corner of the park – sits another piece of history – pointing to the story of American patriotism and the veterans around the area that it memorializes. The O’Brien County Freedom Rock – and Veteran Memorial. 

Freedom Rock Sanborn Iowa  Veteran Memorial Sanborn Iowa

Douma County Park - Southwest of Sanborn

Just a few miles southwest of Sanborn – and located just off Polk Avenue – you’ll find a nice, quiet, and pretty park! If you have a camper or RV – this might be the perfect place for you to settle in O’Brien County. There's even a little pond – perfect for outdoor activities including swimming, small boats, and fishing!

Duoma County Park Sanborn Iowa  Duoma County Park Sanborn Iowa

Jay's - 120 West 7th St., Sanborn

You can’t go wrong stopping for a little bite to eat in Sanborn – in fact, if you want to enjoy a nice cup of coffee while filling your plate with a nice hot meal (morning, afternoon, or night) – I’d recommend Jay’s.

Jay's Restaurant Sanborn, Iowa

Locomotion Lanes - 205 Main St., Sanborn, Iowa

Sometimes you might need a fun inside activity – and who can go wrong with Bowling? Locomotion Lanes are conveniently located in downtown Sanborn – and offer both entertainment AND food! If you are in the mood for something quick, easy, and good at the same time – try either a pizza, a burger, or some chicken

Locomotion Lanes Sanborn Iowa

Rails Bar and Grill

You can’t miss this bar and grill – right downtown in Sanborn and hopping with life! You can’t go wrong with a burger here! They have GLOWING reviews – go bold and try this place out – worth it! You’ll love the food, the atmosphere, and the people! Think small-town hospitality – Iowa Nice! That’s Rails!

Sutherland, Iowa

Willoway Complex - 409 Ash St., Suite 15, Sutherland, Iowa

The Willoway has rooms available and I love the progressive idea to save the old high school! Walking around the halls – gives you that old-school vibe – but then you get to witness some of the other cool things they did to the place – LIKE BUILDING AN INDOOR POOL! Not many towns can claim that they saved the old school – let alone claim an indoor pool for the community!

Keep Aim Boutique - 112 W 2nd St., Sutherland, Iowa

There are plenty of places to shop and eat in Sutherland. The cool thing about this town is how progressive they are for a small town! Check out Keep Aim – a stylish boutique with fun fashion and home decor, and much, much more – don't forget their online shop as well! 

Keep Aim Boutique Sutherland, Iowa

Main Market-Hometown Variety - 100 W 2nd St., Sutherland, Iowa

They have more shops around the town – including a local grocery store (Main Market-HomeTown Variety) – but what really grabbed my attention was the shop attached next to it – It had anything you needed – from yarn to bandaids. It was like walking through a small town – LIVE version of Amazon online.

Main Market - Hometown Variety

Rumors Bar & Grill - 107 Main St., Sutherland, Iowa

Rumors Bar and Grill. is a really cool place – with the word on the street that it used to be the old movie theatre? I love it when towns save their old buildings and do something with them – keep the town alive! Sutherland is more than alive – and Rumors is not just some ordinary Bar Food. The food was delicious, and I loved that I could sit down and have locals treat me like I grew up in town.

Rumors Bar and Grill Sutherland Iowa

Sweeney's Clubhouse - 118 Main St., Sutherland

You can enjoy a nice drink and game of indoor golf at Sweeney’s Clubhouse. It’s a perfect thing to do (whether it’s hot or cold outside). They also have the virtual golf to keep you below PAR!

Sweeney's Clubhouse Sutherland Iowa

Prairie Heritage Center - 4931 Yellow Ave., Peterson, Iowa

The Prairie Heritage Center is a great place to enjoy displays, hike the trails, and engage in bird and wildlife watching.

Prairie Heritage Center Peterson Iowa

Howitzer - Sutherland City Park

Ths M-115 8-inch Howitzer sits in the City Park in honor of all Veterans in the area.

Howitzer in Sutherland City Park

Glacial Trail Scenic Byway - Hwy 10 Sutherland

Take a drive along one of Iowa’s best scenic by-ways. The trail is fairly short across 4 different counties of O’Brien, Clay, Cherokee, and Buena Vista, and covers over 36 miles of breathtaking, rolling hills.

Glacial Trail Scenic Byway Sutherland

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