Tag Archives: summer

Just Enjoying a Day in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

15 Jun

Sometimes I can drive miles and not see anything that catches my eye or interest. And I try to stay observant while listening to some jazz cd’s traversing some back roads in Siouxland. When driving the gravel roads I am not in a hurry. Dust is flying and I generally keep my windows open, so going fast just creates more dust in the car.

But it’s the slow driving that allowed me to see something in the distance. And while I was not fast enough, I was able to catch a late morning deer having breakfast, or maybe brunch, in a field. Until he spotted me and decided it was time to leave.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lone deer runs through a newly planted field beginning to grow in the Loess Hills region of rural Monona County in northwest Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing History in Siouxland, Marcus Historical Center

3 Oct

When I attended a fair earlier this summer at Marcus, Iowa I also stopped in at the Marcus Historical Center.

The Marcus Historical Center sits across from the Marcus Community Fairgrounds in Marcus, Iowa Saturday Aug. 12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most small communities have their own museum, or at least a place that is a repository of historical information about the community. It’s a great place when visiting somewhere new to learn more about the history of that place and get a better understanding of the community and area. At the time I was in the museum there were more older people looking and reminiscing about the “good old days”. Which to me always seems to be a matter of perspective and what side of the divide you happened to be on during that earlier period.

But there were some families there with children in tow. Taking a break from the fair and “seeing” some history. And every place has different items and events to tell. Many have yearbook photos from early and later days as well as newspaper clippings depicting certain memorable events that took place.

Visitors of the Marcus Historical Center look over exhibits in Marcus, Iowa Saturday Aug. 12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The old saying of “If you don’t know where you’ve been so how do you know where you are going?” always comes to mind when I visit these museums. A lot of smaller communities were more robust in their early years when the railroad was first making its way across the nation. Communities sprang up, thrived, and then began to scale back a bit as businesses ceased and residents left and larger communities started attracting younger people who moved for opportunity. And in some cases, the railroad left as well, leaving behind memories but no clear direction of where the community would be headed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Small town Siouxland fairs, Marcus

21 Sep

In August I spent part of a day at a small community fair in Marcus, Iowa. The community has about 1,000 residents give or take. But it prides itself on providing this summer time venue along with a parade that runs through the downtown area of the community.

A bright sunny day for the Marcus Community Fair in Marcus, Iowa Saturday Aug. 12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Emergency vehicles and local school students are part of the Marcus Community Fair parade in Marcus, Iowa Saturday Aug. 12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Residents, present and former come out to enjoy the day and spend time with family and friends. I missed the earlier activities involving 4-H and the showing and exhibiting of animals and crafts. Fairs in small towns these days seem a lot smaller to me now that I am older than when I was a kid. Remembering trying not to get lost at the fairgrounds my parents took us and during the 4-H events that were held there.

It’s just time nicely spent. No hurry and enjoying the memories from my youth and seeing others enjoy their day and making memories as well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


Summer Fading in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

19 Sep

Summer has faded in Siouxland, with days growing shorter and the feel of fall creeping in. On a visit to the Iowa Lakes Region during the week, it became evident that fewer people were rummaging about and those there were enjoying those fading remnants of summer. Especially on a lake where everything revolves around the water.

The summer livin’ is easy in Arnolds Park, Iowa August 18, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer boating in Arnolds Park, Iowa August 18, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the fall’s crisp days and colder evenings begin to settle into the area, people can wistfully think about the languorous summer days and how they spent them and dream of the following year and what adventures might await them for their next trip to the lakes enjoying the moment away from cares and daydreaming of those summer days as children.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the waning days of summer in Arnolds Park, Iowa August 18, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lawn chairs on a dock in Arnolds Park, Iowa August 18, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Surprises in Siouxland, Lake View

16 Aug

One Sunday driving around southern Siouxland I stopped by the community of Lake View and was pleasantly surprised when I found a carnival and small annual festival the town holds every year. It was a day I couldn’t spend a lot of time since I was headed to another destination, but am always happy when I find something unexpected of a pleasant nature popping up when one leasts expects it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spending Time at the Lakes in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

14 Aug

As summer winds down in Siouxland the area up around the lakes near Arnolds Park and Okoboji and others will begin to take on their fall demeanor. The trees turn color and it becomes very pretty, but the life begins to slow much like sap running through a tree. The lakes are a summer “thing” and people will begin to pursue other avenues of entertainment away from the lakes, except those who live there and others who like the fall.

The recent day I visited I had the chance to ride the Queen II and enjoy a cruise around West Lake Okoboji and learn more about its history. This was during the week. And while there were people about, the morning was pretty quiet as I made some photos and enjoyed a walk about.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Cruising Siouxland on the Queen II, Okoboji

2 Aug

On a recent visit to the lake region of Iowa in Siouxland which includes the communities of Arnolds Park, Okoboji and Spirit Lake, I finally was able to take a cruise on West Lake Okoboji on the Queen II. When the lakes region around Arnolds Park and Okoboji became a resort area, a boat named the Queen brought visitors out onto the lake and showed off the region. The Queen II continues that history.

The Queen II prior to leaving for a cruise around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A passenger gets a better view of West Lake Okoboji from the Queen II during a cruise at Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The cruise gives a nice background history to the immediate lakes region and for those wanting to know more they can visit the Maritine Museum in Arnolds Park.

Capable of holding about 200 passengers, the skipper this day, Lance Freed, gave some general introductions then played some canned information that was informative and effective.

Lance Freed skippers the Queen II during a cruise around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017, something he has been doing for 17 years. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Originally owned by farmers, the non-tillable area was sold off to various individuals who began selling plots of land to those who wanted a place on a lake. The then cottages, although still called that, were modest and small. Now some of them are multi-million dollar vacation homes, one is estimated to be worth $12 million. And the land itself around the lake, depending on which side, east or west, can run from $10,000 a square foot to $17,000 a square foot. Not your granddaddy’s little summer getaway.

Passengers taking a cruise on the Queen II around West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday July 24, 2017 can see mutli-million dollar homes, euphemistically referred to as cottages, which line the lake shore. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But for the average Joe and his family, people can bring their boats, fish, waterski and pursue other summertime activities on or around the water and still enjoy a nice day out. I personally like being near the water but am not exactly a water person and not one to get in it and splash about. But on a warmish day with a breeze, it is hard to beat and just fun to learn a little more history about the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City,

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