Country Pilgrim (Midwest Small Town)
Midwest Small Town Blogger-Approved Itinerary
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 countrypilgrim.com or youtube.com/@midwestsmalltown.
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.
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!
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.
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!
(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!
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!
(photo courtesy of Flint and Co.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Howitzer - Sutherland City Park
Ths M-115 8-inch Howitzer sits in the City Park in honor of all Veterans in the area.
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.