Central Iowa · Grownup Getaways

Go West, Monie & JayJay-Scratching the Surface of Grinnell (Part 1 of 2)

This day in Grinnell is brought to you by Emily Counts and all the great work done by the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce. Let's do this! http://www.grinnellchamber.org/
This day in Grinnell is brought to you by Emily Counts and all the great work done by the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce. Let’s do this!
http://www.grinnellchamber.org/

Grinnell, IA: Poweshiek County (Our 14th County!)

“Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles.”
Josiah Bushnell Grinnell [3]

Good ole Josiah eventually took this famous advice way back in the mid 1800’s. He would go on to be the founder of a central Iowa town and later create a renowned college in his name. And Team Goodvin is very thankful he did. Monie and I jumped on to HWY 6, in Tiffin, and cruised our way in to town. We passed by towns that we may be visiting in the future like Ladora, Montezuma, Marengo and Victor. The Iowa Gallivant will be making another trip down “6” again, but Grinnell was the mission today. And Emily had the entire afternoon set up for us. It’s go time…..Grinnell style! We start at the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce headquarters, which is in one of the most historic buildings in the state.

Formally known as Merchants National Bank in Grinnell, Iowa is now home to the offices of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce.  https://twitter.com/GetIntoGrinnell
Formally known as Merchants National Bank. Now home to the offices of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce.
https://twitter.com/GetIntoGrinnell

Legendary American architect and mentor of Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan designed this national historic piece of architecture for the old Merchants National Bank. This is a “Jewel-Box” style and is only 1 of 8 in existence in the Midwest.

From the inside of Merchants National Bank in Grinnell, IA. Original everything! What you see is what their customers saw everyday in the mid 1920's. https://www.facebook.com/GrinnellChamber
From the inside of Merchants National Bank in Grinnell, IA. Original everything! What you see is what their customers saw everyday in the mid 1920’s.
https://www.facebook.com/GrinnellChamber
Some of the states best stained glass work is housed in the old Merchants National Bank Building.  1-800-700-1723
Some of the state’s best stained glass work is housed in the old Merchants National Bank Building.
1-800-700-1723
Bob Anderson, a Grinnell chamber volunteer, asks visitors
Bob Anderson, a Grinnell chamber volunteer, asks visitors “what they see” when they gaze at the design on the stained glass. The original artist never left an interpretation of their work. Well….what do you see?

When Emily said she worked at a “Jewel-Box”, we had no idea that she literally meant it. The afternoon was young and it was time for lunch. Emily knew just the place for us- an establishment that prided was proud to be a Grinnell establishment and served meals with local ingredients and Iowa craft brew. We dine at the Prairie Canary!

Right in the heart of of downtown Grinnell.  http://www.theprairiecanary.com/
Right in the heart of of downtown Grinnell.
http://www.theprairiecanary.com/

Just a short walk, and everything in downtown Grinnell is a short walk, from the chamber HQ is one of Iowa’s premiere restaurants. The city held a very meticulous competition to attract a group that would open a restaurant that would showcase themselves along with the proud town of Grinnell. After a long process, the winners of this national contest were the restaurateurs that brought us Prairie Canary. And one look at the menu, you can see why they chose these culinary bad-asses!

I give you.... the Dirty Canary. A burger with cheddar cheese, BBQ pulled pork, bacon and a fried egg! And by its side is the best soup I've ever had in the state of Iowa. A Bayou Potato Soup with Crawfish tails. Geaux seek this out! https://www.facebook.com/prairiecanary
I give you…. the Dirty Canary. A burger with cheddar cheese, BBQ pulled pork, bacon and a fried egg! And by its side is the best soup I’ve ever had in the state of Iowa. A Bayou Potato Soup with Crawfish tails. Geaux seek this out! https://www.facebook.com/prairiecanary
Chef Paul Durr is the mastermind behind Prairie Canary's amazing menu.
Chef Paul Durr is the mastermind behind Prairie Canary’s amazing menu.
Grilled cheese with jam. You heard me right! Emily and Monie ordered to same meal and out came a duo of the best grilled cheese sandwich we've ever had. The house made jam was an amazing addition to this classic. Worth the drive to Grinnell from any direction! https://twitter.com/PrairieCanary1
Grilled cheese with jam. You heard me right! Emily and Monie ordered to same meal and out came a duo of the best grilled cheese sandwich we’ve ever had. The house-made jam was an amazing addition to this classic. Worth the drive to Grinnell from any direction!
https://twitter.com/PrairieCanary1
In the spirit of competition, The Prairie Canary opened the opportunity to its biggest fans to come up with a name for their new lounge in the basement of their restaurant.
In the spirit of competition, The Prairie Canary opened the opportunity to its biggest fans to come up with a name for their new lounge in the basement of their restaurant. Out came the Canary Underground!
Couches, high top tables, flat screen TVs and a full bar. What else do you need? The Canary Underground in Grinnell, IA.
Couches, high top tables, flat screen TVs and a full bar. What else do you need? The Canary Underground in Grinnell, IA.
Emily takes advantage of getting a photo op of Monie and JayJay in front Bikes To You in downtown Grinnell, IA. http://bikestoyou.com/
Emily takes advantage of getting a photo op of Monie and JayJay in front Bikes To You in downtown Grinnell, IA.
http://bikestoyou.com/

Emily led us to an absolute Grinnell staple. Bikes To You is one of 10 official RAGBRAI bike shops. Iowa is known for its ample amounts of biking enthusiasts and Bikes To You attracts these hardcore peddling warriors from all over the country. Not only do they know their way around one of Iowa’s most well known party’s on wheels, they are also the authority when it comes to gravel road biking. As Grinnell is in fact considered the defacto gravel road capital of Iowa, this is a key place to stop for all level of cyclists.  You need to stop by Grinnell and pick the brain of Craig Cooper at Bikes To You. But, not literally. Craig and the crew are experts with bikes. Not zombie tendencies. Or maybe they are….

Craig Cooper and his crew getting after some sweet bike maintenance. Keep an eye out for him and the Grinnell Bikes To You crew during RAGBRAI. They'll be all over the route assisting the riders and being the damn fine ambassadors to that state of Iowa that they are!   https://www.facebook.com/bikestoyou https://www.facebook.com/bikestoyou
Craig Cooper and his crew getting after some sweet bike maintenance. Keep an eye out for him and the Grinnell Bikes To You crew during RAGBRAI. They’ll be all over the route assisting the riders and being the damn fine ambassadors to that state of Iowa that they are!
https://www.facebook.com/bikestoyou

So you think you know Grinnell? Well, no you don’t! At least not in the way we know this fine town. We got to know it so much we decided to break this sweet blog post up in to two parts. Let’s pick up on Grinnell next weekend, shall we! Can’t wait that long? Then get your trip planned out and get to Grinnell, pronto! And bring me back a grilled cheese sam’ich! I know a place…….

This Great-Great Grandma will be waiting for you on Grinnell part 2. We'll see you next time. Don't let her down!
This Great-Great Grandma will be waiting for you on Grinnell part 2. We’ll see you next time. Don’t let her down!

Be sure to read Part 2 of our Grinnell trip!

Thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Go West, Monie & JayJay-Scratching the Surface of Grinnell (Part 1 of 2)

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