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Keokuk: Round 2-Honored Leaders & The Grand Anne

Keokuk, IA:  Lee County

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.

Angelini’s has been making quite a name for itself ever since it opened for business and they are helping to attract more and more travelers to Lee County all the while assisting with community events all year long.

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….

The Supreme Calzone! Perfectly seasoned and served roasting hot. Great work all around, Angelini’s!


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.

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Located in the middle of keokuk’s mansions is one of Iowa’s most beautiful B&B’s. Check out their website and take the tour! *Our stay here was complimentary. The opinions expressed on this blog post are of our own. 

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.

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A photo-op with some of the presenters for the Spirit of keokuk Awards. These folks and many more pour hours into the betterment of Keokuk. They know how to host a party and show a kid from Johnson County a great time!

The award ceremony is an annual event that is hosted by four very hardworking community organizations- Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism BureauKeokuk Area Chamber or CommerceKeokuk 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.

On the Grand Anne’s fine China was our delicious breakfast. An Egg Souffle and tender Sausage Patties. Fresh fruit, yogurt, and all the coffee and orange juice you could want.

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!

Look at that happy guy! (Photo taken from personal Facebook page when I posed inside a giant kangaroo pouch at petting zoo. I’ll get you, Shelley!)

And now for a few very special thank yous……

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To Shelley Jayne Oltmans. You and your associates did a great job and provided me with a truly memorable stay in Keokuk. Can’t wait to get back!


To Cretia and The Grand Anne family. Thank you for putting me up in your historic B&B. Hope to see you again!

Thanks for reading -Team Goodvin

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