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West O Brewery

West O Brewery in West Okoboji

West O Brewery is the best place to go for your microbrews is Okoboji. All beer is made with natural spring water from West Lake Okoboji and are big partners in Keeping Okoboji Blue. You will definitely have a favorite brew with 15 tap options from ciders ranging to IPA's to stouts. Also, West O is known for its amazing Brick Oven Neapolitan pizzas!

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O'Farrell Sisters

O'Farrell Sisters in Okoboji

The O'Farrell Sister is a historic Okoboji Tradition that one must check out for breakfast and lunch!

'Farrell Sisters History
The O'Farrell Sisters restaurant was born in 1949 at the bridge on Hwy 71, between East and West Lake Okoboji. Edna Mae and Arlene O'Farrell bought the business from Ike Kissinger who was running for Sheriff of Dickinson County.

In the early years the girls were open seven days a week and had a booming business in no time. The fried chicken dinners on Sunday evenings were especially popular. There were times when the line waiting to get in was so long they'd have to lock the door and would often run out of chicken!

In 1959 Arlene married and moved to Tallahassee, Florida with her husband Furman Henderson. Edna Mae and Ferne continued in the restaurant, moving to its present location that same year. This spot had a garden and chicken coup, which was moved to the house across the street.

Ferne died in 1974 and Edna Mae in 1978. Arlene sold the business to nieces Joyce Gapinski, Jo Ann Anderson, Charlotte Sarvie and Cheri Petersen (these are married names). The nieces successfully ran the restaurant from 1979 through 2003. After losing Jo Ann in 1997 and Cheri in 2002, Joyce and Charlotte decided to sell after the 2003 season.

The rest is to be continued...

Emerald Hills

Emerald Hills in Arnolds Park

Emerald Hills Golf Course is one of the premier golf courses in the Iowa Great Lakes. Golfers throughout Okoboji will tell you that compared to the rest of the golf courses around, Emerald Hills is probably the most challenging. When I grew up as a kid, we lived just a half block from the back side of the course. We would sneak on with a couple short little clubs and balls we found walking the course and sometimes spent more time being chased by the sprinklers than trying to hit golf balls. Emerald Hills was owned by Gordy and Bette Benit many years ago and they can be credited with growing this course into the masterpiece it has become. Later purchased by Randy Rohlfsen and a few others, Emerald has flourished as one of the best courses around. If memory serves me right, Randy has been there since the early 1990's and has always had a strong conviction to help young golfers. He has taught and coached numerous high school teams, and they also put on a 5 day junior camp every year which has been a tremendous hit. I grew up on this course and can honestly say, you better be hitting the ball straight!

The West Lake "Tie Up"

The West Lake

For most leisure boaters in the Iowa Great Lakes, there are 2 main hot spots to go throw an anchor, sit back, and just relax. Sometimes this will result in numerous boats tying up to one another (you may not even know your neighbor), and sometimes it results in a little more privacy where you can chill just by yourself. Every weekend, boaters make the trek across the deepest parts of West Lake to either Gull Point (North AND South side) and Miller's Bay. Thought there are many other great areas to throw an anchor, relax, and swim, these are the two hot spots. If you aren't sure where to go on a Saturday afternoon or wonder where your friends might be, these two spots would be a good start.

Campus Redemption Center

Campus Redemption Center in Milford

Have a bunch of cans piling up needing to be recycled? Look no further than the Campus Redemption Center in Milford, Iowa. Some may remember the old location as “Campus Video.” The owner Tom, has quite the set up and will pay $.04 for Iowa deposit containers that come in any bag whether sorted or un-sorted; these will be counted while you wait and there is a 500 limit per day. You’ll be paid $.05 for Iowa deposit containers IF pre-sorted and counted in clear redemption bags. Bags and boxes can be purchased inside. They do not accept glass of any kind. So the next time you’re thinking about tossing out those used cans, think recycling; think Campus Redemption Center at 1904 Okoboji Ave., Milford, Iowa. Hours are Monday - Thursday 12pm -5pm, Fridays CLOSED, and Saturdays 10:30am - 2:30pm.

Arrowood Resort

Arrowood Resort in Okoboji

Arrowood is a year-round conference center and hotel with over 100 guest rooms, whirlpool suites and a "Great Room" for hosting group events and hospitality suites. Formerly known as Village East, the resort offers an outdoor pool, deck, playground, volleyball and croquet courts and a heated indoor pool area. Hotel goers can also enjoy an on-site salon, Minervas Bar and Eatery and lit parking. Located on Brooks National Golf Course, Arrowwood Resort offers some of the finest lodging around. Years ago, Brooks Golf Course clubhouse was actually housed on the rear side of Arrowood, but since then, the course has been converted to 27 holes with a a new separate clubhouse. Also, the Racquet Club was a part of the facility, offering workout facilities, racquet ball, and tennis. However, with the addition of the YMCA, the racquet club was unsustainable and converted into retail.

SpudNutz

SpudNutz in Okoboji

Spudnutz is great

The Market Scratch Kitchen

The Market Scratch Kitchen in Arnolds Park

New to Okoboji is The Market Scratch Kitchen. They proudly offer salads, sandwiches and grab 'n go options made with fresh ingredients and prepared daily. Ask about the 'Vacation Mom' meals featuring nutritious and nourishing take-and-bake dishes ready to serve you and your Okoboji vacation family. The community is excited for a healthy food option choice in our area!

Picket Trail

Picket Trail in Fostoria

This unique antique shop located right off Hwy 71 in between Milford and Spencer in Fostoria, Iowa has so much to offer. Lots of home decor, up-cycled furniture, an Amish grocery store, jewelry, bath soaps and neat -dated antique furniture and decor. Their open hours are Wednesday - Saturday at 10am. The owner, Cathy, is very kind, knowledgeable, and has the place decorated tastefully! This is a MUST see; I bet you don’t leave empty handed!

"The Tressle"

"The Tressle" bridge used to carry the old railroad that traversed the area. Now the tressle is home to some of the areas best fishing. Served as a hot spot for fisherman, and a trail for walkers and bikers, the tressle is a classic structure of the Okobojis. We spent days jumping off of the tressle doing cannonballs, preachers, flips and the like. I know in my life my friends and I have caught literally tens of thousands of crappie and blue gill off the tressle bridge.

Terrace Park

Terrace Park is located in Brown's Bay on West Lake, Okoboji. It is one of the largest public beaches on West Lake and has entertained beach goers for many years. Next to Terrace Park is Boys Town out of Omaha, Nebraska. I remember as a kid spending entire days at terrace park, either riding bicycle or taking a moped (yes a moped) down to meet with friends and playing king on the dock. In 2010, the morning after "the storm", Terrace Park was carnage. Boat were stacked on top of each other. Trees were uprooted, and hoists were tossed around. Boats and other water craft were found in Terrace Park that belonged to owners on the North end of West Lake.

 

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