Lake Ahquabi State Park: Two things I love most about this park: The historic stone shelters and lodge—built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s—offer a compelling sense of history. Plus, the grassy outcroppings of land jutting into the man-made lake let you spread a blanket atop your own little mini-peninsula for a picnic. Even if you don’t score one of these prime spots, there are plenty of well-placed tables all over the 770-acre park, which lies just half an hour’s drive from Des Moines.
The 6 1/2 miles of mostly gravel trails include one 4-mile loop around the lake, plus 2 1/2 miles that wind through the woods.
Funaro’s Deli: Located on the northwest corner of downtown Indianola’s square and now in its second generation of family ownership, this deli serves 20 specialty sandwiches, plus all kinds of build-your-own options. Especially of note are sandwiches served on the hoagie rolls that are freshly baked in-house every morning. To wit: the thoroughly satisfying Italian beef sandwich, with fried sweet peppers, onions and melted provolone cheese. The foil-wrapped sandwich stayed plenty warm during the 10-minute drive to the lake. We equally enjoyed those fried sweet peppers (and the super-fresh bread) with our veggie sub. Be sure to nab some fresh homemade cookies, too.
Funaro’s Deli is 201 N. Buxton St., Indianola, 515-961-7627.