Part of the plan for tourism in O’Brien County during COVID-19 has been a county “Barn Quilt Tour” It was a brilliant idea when it was presented in the past, and it really came out as a hit to provide alternative social-distancing for people wanting to get outside, enjoy good weather, in the safety of their vehicles, and going on a drive around the scenic parts of rural Iowa, and discovering area barn quilts!

The American barn quilt movement started in Adams County, Ohio when Donna Sue Groves painted a quilt block on her tobacco barn to honor her mother, a master quilter. Naturally, barns are a large part of rural American history, and the mix of trying to save old barns and adding the idea of barn quilts increased the interest and popularity of the two rural American staples – Barns and Barn Quilts! In fact, the idea was shaped into the largest grassroots public act projects in the country! Currently, it is estimated that barn quilts can be found in 48 of the 50 states and several Canadian provinces.


The Country Pilgrim set out this last weekend to check out all the barn quilts in O’Brien County. I was only able to get break the tour down into about 25% of its entirety! However, it was so cool I decided to break my blog post into 4 parts! So…


I hit the SE corner of the county around Sutherland, Iowa. The barn quilts were scattered but were creative in their uses on both barns, sheds, shop windows, and the last one found along the “Glacial Trail Scenic Byway” over by Dog Creek County Park.


Barn Quilt by Dog Creek County Park

The scenery around this part of the county is gorgeous! Look for the barn quilts, but don’t miss the countryside as you approach the Highway 10 area near and along the “Glacial Trail Scenic Byway


Over in the town of Sutherland, you’ll see a few other distinct barn quilts like the one above over on High Street. The entire tour can be found (GPS coordinates included) at  Just go to the tourism tab, hit the barn quilts tab, followed by “unique barn quilts” tab. All the information and addresses are available there!



Plenty more to see with the barn quilt tour as we hit parts 2,3 and 4!!! Look for a video at the end of the tour.

Meanwhile! If you are in the state, and close to the area, come check out this tour! It’s something fun to do, and if you are just passing through, come check out the county and try coming into the communities of Sutherland, Primghar, Paulinna, Hartley, Sanborn, and Sheldon for a bite to eat at a local restaurant. In fact, take something along for the ride and explore rural NW Iowa!

We’ll See You Outside!!!

The Country Pilgrim – Dan


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