Adventures in western Iowa, part 4: Le Mars

I spent a weekend in northwest Iowa recently with two main goals: Drive the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway and hike in the Loess Hills. But I had some other adventures along the way. Here is the last of a 4-part series:


I wrote what was probably a snarky post back in June 2013 about Le Mars’ “Ice Cream Capital of the World” claim to fame. Let’s just say I was not impressed during my first visit there.

But I needed a place to stop for the night during my weekend in western Iowa, so I decided to give Le Mars another chance.

I spent the night at another off-brand motel, the Amber Inn, 635 8th Ave. SW. It didn’t look too promising on the outside, and the location was bad. But my room was very comfortable and didn’t have an odor, so it was better than the Sail lnn in Storm Lake the night before. (And the free breakfast the next morning was not half bad.)

After I checked in, I went downtown and got an ice cream cone at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor & Visitors Center (hey, when in the Ice Cream Capitol of the World, right?) I have to admit that it was a darn good ice cream cone. I ordered a single scoop of butter pecan in a waffle cone, and it was pretty much heavenly. Yes, I know it’s just regular ol’ Blue Bunny ice cream that I can probably get at my local grocery store. But it was so huge and drippy and yummy that I actually just called it dinner and didn’t need to find anything else to eat that Saturday night.

I also found another (and maybe better) reason to travel to Le Mars: the alley art. I knew a little bit about this from the Iowa tourism book, and I thought it sounded cool. It was actually really fun. I walked around the downtown area and was completely entertained every time I found more murals tucked away in alleys and parking lots – areas that otherwise would be eyesores  – all produced by local artists. What an awesome idea! Take a look:











After viewing all the art I could find, I got completely turned around on the way back to the hotel. The streets in this town are ridiculous. Good thing I brought the city map from my room or I’d still be there, driving aimlessly.



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