Finding The Perfect Picnic Pairing

The Italian beef sandwich (left) and the veggie sub (right) are headliners on Indianola’s Funaro’s Deli menu.

Writer: Wini Moranville

No doubt about it: September and October offer some of the year’s best picnic weather, as long as it warms up and stays dry! On one of those days when, in the words of Albert Camus, “every leaf’s a flower,” consider a getaway to Lake Ahquabi State Park to take in the changing tree-scape. And as temperatures head lower, warm sandwiches from a deli in nearby Indianola will especially hit the spot.

Lake Ahquabi State ParkTwo 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.

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