Grownup Getaways · Illinois · Southeast Iowa · The Mud Belt-Traveling the Mississippi

Part 2 of 2 w/ New & Old Friends in Pet Friendly Fort Madison

Fort Madison, IA: Lee County

You saw a lot in Part One of this trip down Fort Madison memory lane. If you haven’t then click on that Part One link and see for yourself and join us back here as we do another round in one of the most historic cities on Iowa’s Mississippi River banks! It’s time to get to know the locals over a huge breakfast. How’s that hit’ya?


Not too far from town and far enough to give it that roadhouse feel is The Boonies Bar and Grill! They made breakfast happen for us and you may want to do the same. Fluffy pancakes with plenty of juicy blueberries and refills of hot coffee. That’s not allll. Their Haystack dish with your choice of potatoes, choice of meat and choice of toast or biscuit and all topped with creamy sausage gravy took center stage and all my attention. Temporarily, of course. That’s how you start a day in Fort Madison! Coincidentally you can end the day here too. I know you. You’re ready for some shopping!


You never know what you might find in a quality consignment store and downtown Fort Madison has a huge one. Three levels of clothing, shoes, toys, jewelry, and a lot more. If you love vintage, retro, and collectible then you will want to stop here while you’re in town and dive right in. But not from the level I took the picture from. Swim at your own risk. Shopping is hard. I think I need a short drive and discover a land not too far from Fort Madison. A little place called Illinois.

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I’m a history buff and the expansion of the United States can not be accurately explained without a lesson on the Mormon Pioneer Trail. Nauvoo, Illinois is a very short drive from Fort Madison and is also one of the most historic towns on the Mississippi River. The temple towers over the banks and the town itself and can be seen for miles. The trail begins here and you can follow it into Lee County and all the way to Utah. So many times you see the roadside signs telling you what historic path you’re on but it’s not often you can step foot on the beginning. This beautiful town also has great shops, including the Nauvoo Mill & Bakery. Just try to get back across the river without those Butter and Sorghum cookies and would you turn them down? There’s another historic hallowed “hall” waiting for us back in Iowa….


One of the masters in the classic ice cream shops is Hall’s, and the Fort Madison faithful love this landmark and they convinced us to make a stop and we’re glad we did. A Cony Dog dripping with chili and chopped onions meets a turtle sundae. That is the happiest marriage I can think of, so lets wish this couple decades of further matrimony. Now, let’s get back to another unique store and the biggest of it’s kind in Iowa!


There’s niche traveling for ANYTHING you can think of. This includes the world of dollhouses, and Fort Madison has the biggest store in the great state of Iowa when it comes to this hobby. And for some, their profession. Dollhouse Dreams prides itself in the vast variety of what you need for your collections and craft while teaming up with Megan’s Old Fashion Ice Cream Parlor to give your experience an even more memorable one. Stop into this store no matter what your interest is, because who knows when you’ll see another one like it. We have another famous in Fort Madison combo ready to go!


Hi, there! I’ll take a glass of Merlot, a bouquet of daisies, oh-oh; and a bottle of cold Iowa craft beer, a succulent in a little pretty box, and some wonderful company. This request can be fulfilled at the historic Hill Side Inn and it has become one of our favorite places for an adult beverage in our travels. We even got a visit from a happy dog on a Saturday stroll with its human. Live music is also a tradition here and the woodwork mixed with the period photographs make you feel like you’re in the glory days of the busy riverside boom towns of old. Like Fort Madison for instance. That’s a good one! Let’s check on a group that we know quite well and they just happen to be an award winner.


A few years ago we launched a sandwich barrage on The Iowa Gallivant and one of the awards was up to our readers and fans of the restaurants we went to. Sub Arena had thousands of their most loyal fans’ vote and won the award above. They are known for having fresh bread piled high with sliced meats, tons of freshly prepared veggies, soups, and some of the best potato salad you’re going to have. This is all done by one of the friendliest groups of workers you’ll find in the area which is the top reason we come back year after year. This trip would not have been complete without a meal from this wonderful crew.

One more shot of this little gentleman in the arms of my wife.

*Our stay at the Kingsley Inn was complimentary and the views expressed are of our own. Let’s get back to Gallivanting!

Little Chewy has made another appearance and you can see why. Him and the rest of the staff at the Kingsley Inn made our return trip to this pet friendly lodging partner of ours another memorable one. We will see you all again and we urge anyone to check into this historic hotel when you make your plans for this beautiful region. Click here to see our post on this unforgettable inn. Until we Gallivant again, Fort Madison!

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