Let’s go back to September 2014. Our blog only had a few posts and we still had no idea what was about to become of it. We make a little day trip to southeast Iowa and the next thing we know is we have Keokuk to thank for helping our blog grow more and more. Thousands of views later, our All Roads Led To Keokuk post is one of our most viewed to date. Fast forward to February of 2016 and I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the 26th annual Spirit of Keokuk Awards. Once again, Keokuk did not disappoint. First stop….Fill up at one of Keokuk’s most popular restaurants.
The lunch rush was on, but Lisa, serving tables, was kicking some butt. She was taking orders while running food and drinks and still had time to chat about Keokuk and her favorite places to frequent. Always a refreshing conversation for travelers. We rely heavily on the locals and Lisa knew right where to steer a history hound like myself. Also there was Owner John Mason. As a major donor to the local United Way, John received one of the communities top awards that evening. John and the Angelini’s crew awarded me with this tasty creation….
After absorbing more of Keokuk’s historic neighborhoods and Main Street, it was time to check in to another building dripping with its own history. Just across the street from Mississippi River bluffs is the Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast.
Cretia, the caretaker for the Grand Anne, greeted me as I arrived.Maintaining a B&B that was built in the 1800’s is no small task. However, Cretia had the place looking amazing and made me feel right at home. My room was in the judges quarters. Not as intimidating as you might think. I took in as much of The Grand Anne as I could in my short stay. I went from parlor to parlor reading up on the house and the community and practiced my speech in my room. Good times were on the horizon.
The award ceremony is an annual event that is hosted by four very hardworking community organizations- Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau, Keokuk Area Chamber or Commerce, Keokuk Economic Development Corporation, and Main Street Keokuk, INC. We gathered for drinks prior to the catered meal prepared by the staff of Meyers’ Courtyard and then turned our attention to the reason we all were there… to honor this great city and reward some of its greatest leaders. Booming applause echoed through the old medical facility, now turned banquet hall, with every award given out. Well deserved achievements to Keokuk folks that kept it modest and held back a few tears too. From all of us at The Iowa Gallivant, we raise our glasses over and over to John Mason, Dan Long, and George Morgan. I enjoyed your stories and meeting you all along with all your colleagues and associates. Keep up the amazing work! The night was young for all of us and we celebrated at a little establishment called Lucky’s. The only difficult part of my whole day was here when I tried to buy my own drinks. The Keokuk evening was everything I though it would be and more. Time to get back to the judges quarters.
My breakfast companions were a couple from Ankeny, IA who traveled down to Keokuk to experience the Grand Anne, Bald Eagle watching, and the historic side of this town as well. The short trip to Keokuk yielded another great visit to SE Iowa. Many insisted that we come back and we’re glad to announce that there will be a round 3 this summer. Your achievements are showing, Keokuk. We’re looking forward to seeing what else you have in store for Team Goodvin and all the other travelers of the world!
And now for a few very special thank yous……
Thanks for reading -Team Goodvin