Labor Day came and went in a flash. I hope your holiday weekend was filled with family, friends and lots of happiness! As I think about Labor Day and how it marks the “end of Summer,” I thought I would give you all a challenge over the next 363 days. I’ve lived in the Storm Lake area for about 4.5 years, including college, and I think I have some tricks-of-the-trade when it comes to entertainment. These 14 “must-dos” are all unique to my experience in the town and are also economically friendly. So, without further ado, I give you my top 14 things to do in Storm Lake (in no particular order…)
1. Visit all Chain Saw Sculpture locations
Jeff Klatt, a chainsaw artist in town, has turned the trunks of dead trees into unusual sculptures around Storm Lake. These include wildlife, Native American scenes, angels, trolls and even comical characters. Each year Jeff creates new pieces of art as the ideas fall upon him (pun intended). As of 2012, there are about 18 carvings around the area. My challenge to you is to drive around town and see them all. What a fun and free activity!
2. Go Mini Golfing
Pirate’s Pointe Mini Golf, located next to King’s Pointe Resort, is my new go-to spot! I’ve never been much of a golfer, myself, but this new course is so much fun. I have already been there 4 times in its short existence and would go every night if I was allowed. There are 18 holes beautifully designed and landscaped to offer a challenging and exciting experience for you and your family – there are even alligators in the water that look a little too real for my liking. At the end of the course there is a chance to win a free round the next time you stop by (hint: don’t put the ball directly in the middle of the ball maze-it scatters everywhere. From my experience, placing it on one of the sides should give you a better shot at a free round).
3. Attend a BVU Basketball game
After attending numerous BV games, matches & meets, it’s safe to say that there is no atmosphere quite like that of a men’s basketball game. The energy in the Lamberti Rec Center is unmatched by any other venue I have been in while in college. Not to mention, the team is always really good and extremely fun to watch. They all play with sound fundamentals and a great passion for the game. The student section will get you hyped up and keep the place rockin’ with cheers & chants. Also, while you’re there, take a quick “tour” around campus. It’s a beautiful place to be and you could see where my home was for the last 4 years.
4. Walk the streets of downtown
My list of “must-sees” would be exponentially longer if I included all the cute little shops in the downtown area; my suggestion to you is to take an afternoon and scope out all the main drag has to offer. Some of my favorites include: Inspired by Time Quilts (I’m a quilt addict), La Juanitas (the tacos are to-die-for), Sugar Bowl Gift Shop (it literally has anything you could ever want), BV Stationery (for the crafter in us all) and lastly, Storm Lake Bakery (I’ll get to that in a minute). All these places are worth checking out, plus there are SO many more. There’s a shop for everyone!
5. Get mini donuts from Page’s Storm Lake Bakery
And I don’t mean just get a few – get at least a dozen! These donuts are mm..mm..good. They’re made fresh each morning, glazed in goodness & practically melt in your mouth. They open everyday at 6 a.m., so the next time you’re in town stop by and pick up a dozen (or 3) for you and all your friends to enjoy. Simply delish!
6. Go to Puff’s during an Iowa or Iowa State game
In my opinion, the town is overrun by Iowa fans. As you might be able to gather, that’s not exactly my cup of tea. I’m a Clone through & through. BUT, Puff’s is the place to be during one of these games, especially when they are playing each other. Fans gather from nearby towns to cheer on their beloved team and, bonus – drinks are sold at a reduced price. Locals also bring food for a potluck each Saturday afternoon, making everyone welcome (even if you are a Hawkeye). WARNING: if you’re wearing an ISU shirt, like me, you’ll get booed when you initially walk in. Don’t fret – they quiet down after State scores the first TD.
7. Participate in the Marathon to Marathon race
Don’t be scared or intimidated. I recently ran a my first half marathon at this site – it was awesome! Well, it was really hard and I could barely walk the next few days, but it was well worth it. Those that ran the full marathon started in Storm Lake and ran ALL the way to Marathon, IA. For those of you that don’t know, a marathon is 26.2 miles, a half marathon is 13.1, and a 5k is 3.1. During this day in June, people are invited to either run the full marathon, the half marathon, a half marathon relay (a group of people each run x amount), a 5K walk/run, or a Tot Trot. Even if you’re not much of a runner, it accommodates everyone & every age group. If I can do it – you can, too! There is even a Storm Lake Running Club to help you get started!
8. Help distribute food at the Methodist Church with The Bridge of Storm Lake
This is something I was happy to be a part of during my last year of college. Each Monday afternoon from about 4-6 p.m., a group of volunteers gathers at the Methodist Church in town to distribute food to those people in need. BV’s dining service, Sodexo, and Pizza Hut donate their extra food to the organization each day. Volunteers then package the food and freeze it at the church until Monday rolls around. On Monday’s anyone is welcome to come get their bag of food for the week, no questions asked. I had a great time participating in this each week and I’m sure they would be happy to have you help!
9. Take a stroll on the trails around the lake
No-brainer! We couldn’t be luckier to live in such a neat part of the state. Rent a bike fromLakeshore Cyclery & Fitness, go for a light jog, or take the dog for a walk & enjoy the scenery. The trails are all paved (mostly flat for you runners out there) and extend for quite a long way. Also, it’s a perfect place to start training for your Marathon to Marathon race.
10. Hit up a few garage sales
I love me some garage sales. Who doesn’t love a good deal? I think I get that from my mom (who is the bargain queen, if there ever was such a title). This also gives you a chance to glance at all the historic homes in the area and meet some people you might not have otherwise. As many of you know, I recently moved to the area – I didn’t have a whole lot of stuff to fill my whole house (which is much different than filling a dorm room). Garage sales not only allowed me to get more familiar with the streets of Storm Lake, but also gave me 2 end tables, a pizza pizzazz, blinds, picture frames, a few kitchen utensils and two brand new pairs of Asics for Dez & I. Score!
11. See all the lighthouses
I think there are 3 of them? But don’t quote me on that. Each one is unique and takes you to a different part of the town. Plus, they’re cool to look at. Check ‘em out.
12. Go to Total Concept Salon!
Probably only for girls..sorry guys. This hair salon by trade just recently started getting the CUTEST clothes and jewelry. I am from Des Moines, so going to the mall was just a quick 10 minute drive in any direction. Now, try going to Storm Lake – not many options for a fashionista like myself. This little boutique is so adorable and you will surely find something for your next big event. The owner probably thinks I have a problem because I am always in there, but stop in – it’s totally worth it!
13. Visit Lakeside
Lakeside: a little town within a town – that’s how I would describe it. Its actual motto is “Best little city by a dam site.” The streets are in alphabetical order (cool, right?) and I live there, of course. There are approximately 600 people in the area. Fun Fact: the speed limit is 20 mph. I wouldn’t know from experience or anything but….DON’T speed!
14. Get gas
Another no-brainer. As you’re leaving town, don’t forget to get gas! Not only is it extremely important to you getting home but it’s probably cheaper than where you’re going. I always make sure to fill up before I get to work because I will save close to 20 cents per gallon! Probably that bargain shopper gene in me – thanks, Mom.
I apologize for the lengthy list, but there are just so many things to do in Storm Lake that you don’t always hear about or see on the internet. Be sure to stop by and check these out. After all, you do have an entire year before the offer expires.
Hope to see ya soon!
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- Alexa Guessford