the husband + I take every opportunity we can to travel + explore new places. it was much easier when it was the two of us. he’d pack his suitcase. I’d pack mine. we could leave for a weekend with only a duffel bag in hand. the amount of luggage we take for a weekend getaway has significantly increased over the years, but we made a promise to each other to show our little ones the world. no matter how many times I yell “what am I forgetting?” while packing (and then actually forget 2+ important items), or how the ‘snack + toddler distraction bag’ takes up more room than my clothes, or that I am the worst at unpacking .. it is always worth it!
so, when we were invited to visit hotel grinnell, we started packing! our toddler went to grandma + grandpa’s for the weekend. while the husband, baby + I had our own little weekend getaway. (turns out baby two gets MUCH less undivided attention than I realized. – says a first child). we drove one hour east of des moines to the town of grinnell, iowa. we stayed at the thoughtfully-created hotel grinnell. it was once the town’s junior high and has since been beautifully transformed into a boutique hotel. they gave this structure a new life, while keeping all of it’s charm. the gymnasium and auditorium are now event spaces. the former locker rooms are a bar + restaurant, with an outdoor patio. the classrooms are the hotel’s guestrooms. the wood floors are original and the vintage black + white tile is perfect. each room has a locally-made iron furniture, the coziest bedding, a waterfall shower, chalkboard + a “not now” tie to hang on the door if you’d like to sleep in.
what do you do in small town iowa while staying at a former school house? have the absolute best time! after settling into our room, we went in search of dinner + drinks. the hotel’s bar is called the periodic table + the outdoor space is amazing, if it wasn’t 100° F+ we would’ve been out there. instead, we grabbed a sofa across from the bar. we ordered cocktails, spinach + artichoke dip, and two japanese noodle bowls. everything was delicious. although, we could’ve sat there all night, I wanted to see the town. let me tell you the best part: the hotel is within walking distance of main street. so, we explored on foot. we wandered past local shops, restaurants, coffee shops + a movie theater. our last stop for the evening was peace tree brewery, where we each had a craft beer there + took a growler with us.
despite my best intentions to get up and go to the free yoga class in the park just across the street.. we all slept in. (each guestroom has two yoga mats). it was magical to sleep in + slowly start our day. once ready, we ventured to the cutest coffee shop + continued our walk around town.
this is a small town iowa gem. I highly recommend a visit.