|“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 |
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.
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.
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!
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!
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….
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…….
Be sure to read Part 2 of our Grinnell trip!
Thanks for reading!