Tag Archives: summer

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,

Seeing Lands West Siouxland, Bushnell, NE

10 Jun

Earlier this spring I helped a friend move to western Nebraska far removed from Siouxland. She is excited to start a new chapter in her life and to return to a landscape more to her liking, as well as a dryer climate. While there I stopped into the small community of Bushnell, NE. Like some towns in Siouxland which sit at the western most border of Iowa, Bushnell sits at the western most border of Nebraska. The Wyoming border is only 8 miles away. Because of time constraints on my part, I wasn’t able to explore the region very much, but enjoyed it immensely for its change from what I see daily in Iowa. It reminds a lot of areas in west Texas when I lived there as well as New Mexico.

The community of Bushnell is a small place, like many in Siouxland. There are few residents and the town provides a place to reside which the locals enjoy. Far removed from larger communities, but near enough by car to larger places like Cheyenne or Scottsbluff to “get out of Dodge” for a day to shop or enjoy a change of pace.

The early morning light during my walk around was hard and directional. ‘Tis the season with summer here but like west Texas it illuminates the landscape and its occupants well. Like a lot of small Siouxland communities a few small businesses anchor the downtown area and a multitude of trains regularly pass by. It was a nice visit and maybe down the road I can explore more of the surrounding area without any time constraints.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s Summer Fairs, Woodbury County

24 Aug

Summer fairs continue with a celebration that is still somewhat grounded in honoring agriculture. Midways have been added with rides, talent show contests, but still the fairs are comprised in a large part by 4-H clubs exhibiting their animal and other projects. The Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa, is no different and it gives young people a chance to show skills and learned activities other than sports in school.

But mostly it is a time to celebrate another year and look forward to the next.


Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Backroad Delights in Siouxland, Plymouth County

20 Aug

These days of what feels like dogged days of summer with high humidity and heat, I am not driving about as much as in spring when traversing the backroads in northwest Iowa in Siouxland when it’s much more pleasant. Windows rolled down, a light wind and looking for interesting sites. And sometimes when you find a place, it strikes you as unique in that time and moment but then you think about the best way to visually record the scene and to share with others. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder its said, and sometimes what is seen and what is recorded can vary. Because when viewing a scene all the senses are working. Sight, smell, touch and hearing. The scent of spring flowers, birds chirping, a light breeze and a beautiful scene. But when sharing, one can only provide the scene and hope the other aspects might somehow present themselves to the viewer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City

Siouxland Celebrates History, Hospers

15 Aug

A number of communities celebrated their 125th or quasiquicentennial this summer in Siouxland, and Hospers, Iowa was one of them. A number of small communities are still in existence if not exactly thriving as they once did when more people lived in rural Iowa and rural America for that matter.

Pride is still evident in these small towns and its a joy to visit and see everyone enjoying themselves seeing friends and family again and remembering past times. And the parades are always great.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: