Sometimes we want to go to a resort and spend some time whether it is in the mountains or seaside or desert and other times we want to go to a destination just to enjoy that particular destination. Earlier this year we stayed at the HOTEL PATTEE in Perry, Iowa which is more or less in the middle of Iowa. Perry is actually located about 35 miles northwest of Des Moines and has a population of about 7,000. The very historical HOTEL PATTEE was built in 1913 and the interior is from the Arts and Crafts movement of that era and it is still the same. The lobby and all the rest of the interior of the hotel brings you back when grandeur was what it was all about. Since the beginning of the HOTEL PATTEE the hotel has gone thru a few owners. Jay and Denise Hartz from St. Louis purchased the hotel in 2013 and have done a truly remarkable job. They really enjoy the hotel business and are extremely professional. They live in the town and are there everyday to see that everything is done properly. They offer 22 Classic Rooms, all with different themes like the Gustav Stickley Room, Needlework Room, Irish Room, Quilting Room, Russian Room, Southeast Asian Room, Welsh Room, Williams Morris Room, Woodworking Room, Bohemian Room, Marching Band Room, plus a large variety of other ‘themed’ rooms. 12 Premier Rooms, all with different themes like Perry, Iowa natives and former residents, VT Snick Hamlin, (Creator of the popular comic strip, ‘Alley Oop), Bill Bell, (who was in the John Philip Sousa band and later the Principal Tubist for the New York Philharmonic), Barry Kemp (Television writer and produce known for Newhart, Taxi and Coach) and other motifs like Swedish, Mexican, King’s Daughter, Japanese, Dutch, Chinese, American Indian, Amana Colonies and 1913 Farm House Room. 6 Full and Junior Suites (including the Louis Armstrong Suite, D.J. Pattee Suite, Earl & Virginia Green Suite, Travelers Suite, David Ahmanson Suite for Kids and the George and Agnes Soumas Suite.) They have a wonderful restaurant, called David’s Milwaukee Diner. It was named for David Jackson Pattee, the gentleman in whose honor the hotel was built, and for the Milwaukee Railroad which for over 100 years was the the main employer in Perry. The Diner takes you back to the era when the train was King! The Arrow Room, named for a Milwaukee passenger train is a recreation of an early 20th century railroad dining car, complete with coffered ceiling, wood paneling, and murals showing the countryside near Perry. The Challenger and Hiawatha Rooms, also named for Milwaukee trains are designed in the Arts and Crafts style frequently found in depot hotel restaurants and railroad hotel dining rooms. Their Inter-Urban Lounge, named for the electric trains that shuttled travelers back and forth between Perry and Des Moines through the early part of the 20th Century. The lounge is decorated in the style of the Midwest’s best known Arts and Crafts designer, Frank Lloyd Wright. Known as Prairie Style, Wright’s designs dot the Midwest. Photos of the Inter-Urban, Perry’s railroad history and the people who made the town line the walls. Relax and enjoy drinks while enjoying the nostalgia. They have live music on weekends. In addition they have a wonderful outdoor patio that is within the hotel grounds. They offer a large variety of places for weddings, anniversaries and all types of private parties. This is one of the most LGBT friendly hotels in the country. They offer many amenities including over 130 pieces of original art by more than 30 artists which are on display honoring noteworthy native sons and daughters of Iowa. Your experience will feature oversized beds, wireless Internet access, spacious bathrooms, oversized bath towels and plush robes. Spa and wood-burning fireplaces are available in selected rooms. During your stay, take advantage of their fitness center with sauna, steamroom and hot tub. And believe it or not, they have a bowling alley on the lower lever of the hotel. It has two full-functioning lanes with automated scoring. EVERY member of their staff is extremely professional and friendly. The owners certainly have taught them well. Our favorite staff member, for his ultra professionalism was Josh Riviera, Front Desk Manager. But all of the staff was perfect both in the hotel as well as in the restaurant. Thank you to the owners, Jay and Denise Hartz for returning the historical HOTEL PATTEE to its original grandeur. You and your staff are to be commended for a wonderful job on making the hotel a 5 star stay for your guests. Whether staying just for a couple of days or a week or more, we guarantee that you will be in for a very special experience. In all of our travels from coast to coast, this is the most unusual and interesting hotel we have visited. Check out their website at: www.hotelpattee.com Most hotel websites do not give a lot of details however their website tells you everything about the hotel including photos of all the rooms so before you check in, you can choose exactly which ‘themed’ room you want. They are located at 1112 Willis Avenue in downtown Perry. The phone number is 515-465-3511. The HOTEL PATTEE truly is a destination unto itself! Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone! TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/
Iowa City is a real gem to find. Being a University town, it has everything that most towns do not have. We experienced things that one would only expect to find in Chicago or New York or any other major city in the country. Coralville, Iowa is their sister city and abuts the city limits so be sure and visit both cities when you are there. Their downtown area is where it is happening and you can walk everywhere which is great! You can walk to the University and take advantage of everything that the University of Iowa has to offer. Be sure and visit all of their museums and galleries as well. There is a wonderful bookstore downtown that is located in a very old stone building that has thousands of books, The Haunted Bookshop, www.thehauntedbookshop.com/shop/haunted/index.html There are dozens of places to visit in and around Iowa City. Some of our favorites were:
- Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, www.coralvillearts.org
- Englert Theatre in Iowa City which is home to the performing arts, www.englert.org
- Gazebo on the Green, which is a setting of 14 gardens on 22 acres, www.facebook.com/gazeboonthegreen
- Hancher Auditorium, for the performing arts, www.hancher.uiowa.edu
- Museum of Natural History, www.uiowa.edu/mnh
- The Old Capitol Museum. This was the first capitol in Iowa before it was moved to Des Moines but the beautiful old structure still stands and is open for viewing, www.uiowa.edu/oldcap
- Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, which is a series of bronze relief panels of noted authors. www.iowacitofliterature.org
- Devotay, a tapas restaurant and artisan cocktail bar. It is the finest tapas restaurant in the Midwest. Check them out at www.devotay.net/
- The Atlas Restaurant and Bar, www.atlasiowacity.com/ is another great restaurant and next door to them is:
- Basta, www.bastaiowacity.com/ an Italian restaurant which is a very interesting place to dine.
- About a half a block away is the Pullman Diner and Bar, http://pullmandiner.com/ that is a very fun place.
Iowa City has often been referred to as the “Athens of the Midwest” because of it’s rich cultural and educational offerings. Two of Iowa’s certified cultural and entertainment districts are positioned in the heart of Iowa City. The University of Iowa campus, intertwined with Downtown, showcases the Old Capitol Museum, the Pentacrest Museums and other cultural attractions throughout their community. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Iowa City as the world’s third City of Literature joining Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia. It is THE only city of Literature in North America! That designation provides additional international luster to the community and serves to validate the area’s long history of nurturing the literary arts and those who appreciate them. Pound for pound, this area constitutes the most literate community in the world! Naturally we were very interested in visiting Iowa City and it really is a tremendous place! We were welcomed to the city by Joshua Schamberger, the President of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. In our travels from coast to coast, this gentleman was the most professional director of any Convention and Visitor’s Bureau that we have ever encountered. His assistant, Clarissa McPheron, Director of Creative Services at the CVB assisted in our scheduling and was extremely professional. Our first stop was to check into The Brown Street Inn Bed and Breakfast. It is owned by Mark Ruggeberg and Bob Brooks. They have operated the Inn for more than 10 years. It is located at 430 Brown Street which is just a short walk to downtown. It is located in a lovely two story old home and decorated to perfection. Casual elegance in Iowa City’s historic Brown Street neighborhood. It is a 1913 Dutch Colonial Style Mansion and located on a very quiet street and within walking distance to downtown as well as to the University of Iowa campus. Mark and Bob are fabulous hosts. Their website is www.brownstreetinn.com Their toll free number to make reservations is 319.338.0435. Their email is [email protected] They have 5 rooms and one huge suite. They have a computer for guests as well as WiFi for those who bring their laptops. This is one of the finest B and B’s where we have ever stayed. These gentlemen do EVERYTHING the right way. While we were there we met other guests who had stayed there several times in the past. We can certainly understand that once you stay at their Inn that you would want to stay there again and again and again. The first morning when we were there we met two delightful guests from eastern Iowa who were celebrating their anniversary…. Linda and Henry Neuman, both attorneys from a city in Eastern Iowa. She was the first woman to serve as a member of the Iowa Supreme Court in it’s 150 year history. She and her attorney husband were extremely interesting to talk with over breakfast and both are full of stories of their past. We need more people like that! Congratulations on your Anniversary! Another couple staying at the B and B were Kirsten and Ross Smith from greater Indianapolis. Since we had just been to Indianapolis the month before we had a lot to talk about. That is just one of the many reasons why we love staying at a B and B is that you get to meet such wonderful, exciting and interesting people and many times we run in to them again in our travels. We have stayed in over 100 B and B’s and The Brown Street Inn is one of our very favorite ones. In Part Two of our travel columns on Iowa City we will tell you about the many things to do and see and the wonderful dining opportunities that the town has to offer. For a city this size it is really remarkable how much they have to offer. No wonder so many people from coast to coast love to visit Iowa City! Before going, be sure and visit www.iowacitycoralville.org Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone! TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/
Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.
Welcome to the Historic Hotel Pattee located in Perry Iowa, just North of Des Moines. The hotel was built in 1903 and renovated with over $14 Million Dollars. As an Arts and Crafts designed property, it is a “Destination unto Itself” as it boasts a full service restaurant, Frank Lloyd Wright themed Lounge, a two lane bowling alley, library, self-service and full service Spa, and more!