I had two older siblings that went to the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and one older sibling who went to the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Growing up, when my parents and I traveled from O'Brien County to visit them, we traveled by Highway 3. That particular route would take us through a number of small towns - including Goldfield in Wright County.
In Goldfield, there's an iconic stop on the west side of town that has been serving locals and travelers since 1968 - more than 50 years! I have many fond memories of stopping at the Goldfield Cheese Mart on those cross state trips of my youth and on a recent Saturday, I popped back in for the first time in years.
On this particular Saturday morning, which was a bit unseasonable for early January, there was quite a few cars in the parking lot.
Unfortunately, I must have missed the 2019 Cheese Party. It was apparently unforgettable!
Their website says their mission is to offer, "A warm friendly atmosphere where there is always a fresh cup of coffee, lots of home-baked goodies, and of course, a wide variety of gourmet cheeses!" On this particular morning, that mission was clearly playing out as there was a nice crowd of local folks enjoying each other's company and a hot cup of coffee.
There is also a long refrigerated display with numerous types of cheese and meats.
During the holiday season, they offer Camp Courageous Fruit Cakes. My mother is a big fan of these fruit cakes and we get her several for Christmas every year.
You can also buy other food products - from canned goods to candies.
They offer a wide array of gifts and other decorations, too.
If you have never stopped at the Goldfield Cheese Mart, you are truly missing out on an Iowa icon. Make sure to stop next time you are headed through the area - they are open six days a week.
Of course, there is more to Goldfield, population of about 600, than just the Cheese Mart. After grabbing a cup of coffee during my stop there, I spent about a half hour exploring the town. On the east side town on Highway 3, there is a sizable ethanol plant that was completed in 2006.
Downtown, there is a more than 90 year old log cabin that was built in 1926 by boy scouts and then restored in 1976.
I also found one of those "little free libraries" near a bench by the bank.
In addition to a big blue water tower, there are a few businesses in the downtown area. I found a number of unique buildings in various conditions and stages of use.
I found a nice city park that I am sure looks much greener in the summer than it does in January.
On the northwest corner of town, after going over a white bridge that spans the Boone River, you will encounter River Park.
There are a couple of different churches and a funeral home.
Clarion-Goldfield School District has one of their school buildings in town.
There are a lot of houses of varying size. I found a couple absolutely gorgeous houses near each other.
Back on Highway 3, I spotted a Casey's General Store (a staple of rural Iowa) and a few other businesses.
However, Grama Beth's Kitchen appears to no longer be in business, unfortunately.
Goldfield is a nice tight-knit community with a nice quality of life. It's a few miles down the road from Clarion, but also not too far from Eagle Grove and Humboldt. If you have never been, I'd encourage you to stop through and visit. There's always more happening than you might think. If it's been awhile since you've been there, stop back soon. Walking back into the Cheese Mart was certainly a rush of nostalgia for me.