Approaching Perry, IA we stopped for the obligatory town sign photo. This was a nice big one, with flags and landscaping. The town has around 7,500 residents, and the median income is a little higher than most of the Perrys we had visited further south.
I could fill today’s page with just photos of the various shops named Perry we saw, and I will add those at the end. There were many, and some were really unique and fun.
But today also was the first day we did a press junket. Okay, I lied. It wasn’t a junket. But we did meet the editor of the local news, The Perry News. And he took our picture. We also met some other wonderful characters in this town.
We spent about an hour and a half in the dynamic and historic downtown of Perry. Von parked us on a major street and we walked around, taking photos. We had heard from Jim Caufield (editor of The Perry News– see I am name dropping again!), about a local hotel that he said we should see.
After wandering the streets a bit we walked into the Hotel Pattee. An Arts and Crafts style grand hotel built in 1913, the Hotel Pattee could fit in well in any major city, and be solidly booked, commanding prices over $600 a night. Here in Perry, prices start just over $120 for a night. Over the years it has been renovated several times, most recently and notably by Roberta Green Ahmanson (Southern California people will recognize the name-Ms. Ahmanson was born in Perry, but now lives in Newport Coast). Her husband’s family has connections to the midwest, and she and husband Howard are noted philanthropists.
Each room in the Hotel Pattee is themed, and although we didn’t tour those, we did spend time in the beautiful library. Here is the hood cover to the fireplace in the library, gleaming copper. The library is full of books and comfortable seating. I would have loved to spend more time there.
Also, we didn’t see it because of our time constraints, but there is a bowling alley in the hotel!!!
Here is a link to the hotel which offers some great photos. Anyone want a destination wedding in an off the radar spot? This would be a great choice. www.hotelpattee.com
Shortly after we arrived in the hotel Jim Caufield arrived, and we chatted about the hotel, and some of the art we had seen downtown. On one of the main streets we had wandered into an art studio that was teaching classes. It turns out the GM of the Hotel Pattee is the owner of the Atelier 1109, the studio we had visited. The front of the studio was decorated with knitted and crocheted decorations and a large sign proclaimed Fiber Art Fair:
Jim introduced us to Jenny Eklund, GM of Hotel Pattee and booster of the arts. She told us about several artists in the local community. One is a young man who is losing his sight, but after being encouraged to paint, she was able to curate an exhibit of his work and he not only sold his work but also was able to let the outside world see the world through his eyes. The other person she noted was the man who does print making at her Atelier store (I wish we had taken a photo because she has all the old wooden and engraved tools for print making) is an individual who has CP, and fulfills his desire to create by doing the print making. She was very enthusiastic about both the art at the hotel, and the many arts installations in town, as well as www.artontheprairie.org an arts festival that sponsored the Fiber Art fair I mentioned before.
When we left the hotel, we went to the site of two major bicycle paths that come into Perry. Jim mentioned to us that many avid cyclists come to ride one or the other of the routes, coming from Des Moines, and that the city leaders want to have them converge right in Perry. It could allow bicyclists to overnight at the Hotel Pattee before continuing on the other trail.
As we left the bike trail area we ran into a local character, who shared stories from the past. He enjoyed having an audience and eventually Jim excused us, and we went and took some final photos in front of a giant bicycle.
Here are some other random photos we took, enjoy!
A long post, but I had so much to share. I hope you get a feeling for our few hours spent in Perry, IA and think about a visit yourself!