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A Typical Day in Clear Lake? Never!

Clear Lake sunset


Clear Lake sunset

By Jenny Doughty

As the water slowly laps around my feet, I feel the warmth of the sun above and hear the welcoming cries of the sea gulls. Overhead, wispy cotton candy clouds drift lazily in a brilliant blue sky.  I reflect on the day ahead and wonder what excitement awaits. Gazing down Main Street an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and boutiques await my exploration each offering something unique – delectable tastes, fabulous gifts, clothing, collectibles and more. The park beside me in the heart of town will soon awaken with the laughter of children as they climb to the top of the slide and swoosh down its length while a family sits nearby sharing a picnic lunch. A couple sits in quiet conversation on a nearby bench sharing smiles and meaningful looks. Tonight, as the sun goes down offering a brilliant back-drop to the band shell, music will fill the air while people gather to enjoy.

You Knew Me When

Behind me Clear Lake reminds me of all it has to offer with its great expanse and shimmering beauty. Folks begin gathering on the docks, fishing lines cast in hopes of catching “the big one”. Others launch their boats for deeper waters or the fun and excitement of tubing, skiing or sailing. Nearby, the Lady of the Lake excursion boat begins to hum, the spray of water glistening like diamonds as her paddlewheel turns while music and laughter fill the air. Someone walks their dog on the brick path winding along the waterfront while folks begin laying out their towels for the day’s swim and basking on the beach. Fun, food and relaxation seem to be the order of the day.


Strolling past downtown I wander towards the Central Gardens its beauty revealed in a rainbow of color, scents and textures beckoning I stroll along its path. Stopping by the local brewery I share a flavorful flight of hand-picked brews and my stomach reminds me it’s been ignored far too long. What will I enjoy today – steak, deli sandwiches, Italian fare, fish, BBQ, Mexican, broasted chicken, pizza, farm-to-fork creations or??? The options seem endless!


Looking at the week ahead I marvel at all this community has to offer for no day is typical in this idyllic town! With all that it offers, my family and I can create an experience that’s as varied as each family member. We can explore, create, play, celebrate, laugh and enjoy; captured by the beauty and rhythm that is Clear Lake.

Connect with Jenny
Blog: My Thought’s Imaginings
Twitter: @LootByLouise

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Food, Family, Friends & Good Times – Great Food Places in Clear Lake, Iowa

By Featured Blogger Mary Lovstad of Farm Girl Cookn’

One of my favorite Irish proverbs is “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.” We bond around food, whether it is around the family dinner table, a campfire, a potluck, an elegant restaurant or the local truck stop. Food brings us together; it not only nourishes the body, but the soul.

Part of planning a trip for me is finding those local spots that not only have great food, but give me the essence of the place that I am visiting. Clear Lake, Iowa is a charming, lake town that has just those kinds of places that can create warm memories and lots of laughs.

Lunch’n with the Ladies
Taking time to connect with your girlfriends or maybe a nice lunch with your daughter home from college is a special treat. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Starboard Market – A darling, little deli with scrumptious selections – really wonderful soups, sandwiches that you can build as you like or try their signature combinations, pasta and fruit salads and decedent desserts. This is the perfect place to sit with your bestie, laugh and savor the flavors. Come early or after the rush if you want a seat and time to chat!
  • Cabin Coffee – A local coffee shop, turned local chain, that not only has excellent coffee, but a nice assortment of breakfast and lunch options. I really appreciate the warm cabin appeal and sipping a light raspberry latte by the fire with my posse.
  • The Lady Bug Cafe – A grand place to gather, giggle and eat the daily special. Not only is it a café, but a greenhouse, bakery, wellness center and spa. The fork to table experience and sitting outside in the screened in rooms on a sunny day really is hard to beat.
  • Sevens by Rookies – On a cold winter day, a pub lunch experience, maybe fish and chips, or a sweet chili chicken wrap is just the ticket. Its inviting atmosphere fosters great conversation.
Fish and chips 7s (1)
Fish & chips at Rookie’s

Family Night Out
Finding something that everyone in the family agrees on can be a challenge and maybe even more so when you are away from home. Camping food is fun, but sometimes you just need someone else to do the work! Unlike my mom, who used to go into a restaurant and ask them to say they only had orange pop and hamburgers before she took our crew in – today’s families are used to choices. Here are a few that I’m sure will please:

Date Night
I don’t think there is anything more romantic than dinner with my handsome husband by the lake. My two favorite places in the summer are The Landing – On the Lake and The Tiki Bar. Both have great food and an enchanted summer setting. Sunset on the lake, a glass of wine with someone you love – magic! Winter visitors will find these nice choices for an evening out:

Favorites of the Locals

  • For dinner, I like the Anchor Inn.  They have a great menu and I do like the atmosphere.
  • The Landing in the summer, mostly because of the outdoor, lakeside deck atmosphere, as well as PM Park.
  • For lunch right now, I do like Seven’s many different types of sandwiches & Back yard Deli.
  • One of my favorites is Starboard Market.  Fun names for their signature sandwiches, great variety of salads, and scrumptious desserts (with zero calories, I’m sure).
  • My daughter and her friends like Shao Ting Guo.  She loves the egg-drop soup.
  • Cabin Coffee because it serves yummy coffee, great sandwiches, and soup.  I really love the atmosphere at Cabin Coffee.  Especially the area back by the fireplace.
  • I like Cancun for my Mexican fix. It’s not too expense and I always get full.  Free chips and salsa is always a bonus.
  • Azzolina’s Hole in Wall – Grinder on Garlic Bread….YUM!!

So whatever reason you find yourself in Clear Lake, I hope you find that the “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.” For links to the restaurants and their menus,visit the Clear Lake Convention & Visitor’s Bureau here.
Visit Mary’s blog: Connect with her on Twitter: @farmgirlcookn