Grinnell, with a population exceeding 9,000, is the largest community in Poweshiek County and it is home of - as the name might suggest - Grinnell College.
Grinnell College is a private school and it brings in students from all over the world. Not only do they have an impressive financial endowment but they are regularly ranked as one of the top liberal arts institutions in the country.
Last Friday, I made a visit to Grinnell to meet with some colleagues. We met up at Saint's Rest Coffee House. It's a cozy coffee spot with a deli business in the back. Without a doubt, it's probably a hub for the more than 1700 students and faculty as part of the college.
On this particular day, there was an eccentric truck parked immediately outside the front door.
Next door, there's a bike shop with a great tile design. Quite impressive and probably relative old?
Inside, there's a mix of chairs, tables, and couches. The ceiling is covered in gorgeous decorative tin tiles. I wonder if they are original? It wasn't overly busy on this particular afternoon, but there were several tables of folks enjoying the eclectic atmosphere.
Local art, much of it for sale, adorned the walls. Naturally, some of it was more expensive than others but there were some unique pieces. I especially liked the piece below where the person is sticking out of the laundromat dryer.
Of course, it wouldn't be a college town coffee shop without a bulletin board overflowing with announcements, job posts, events, roommate requests, and more. There were also some books about Grinnell and other Iowa history for sale.
Saint's Rest was also collecting socks to donate to Des Moines' homeless shelter.
The actual menu for the coffee house is quite extensive. I had one of their coffee specials of the day - which was some coffee made from beans that had been roasted with chocolate and cherries - very smooth. It definitely had a Valentine's Day taste to it.
In the back is the 1854 Deli. I did not try any of their offerings, but I am sure it's a great place to find lunch. From the looks of things, they have a nice selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Whether you are a saint or not, this is a great place to get some work done, meet up with someone, or just enjoy a good cup of coffee. I must not be a saint as I didn't feel totally rested upon leaving, but my group did make some progress on what we were working on. That's worth a lot!
After leaving Grinnell, I drove over to Brooklyn and wandered around that community. There is a lot to see in Poweshiek County and I am already looking forward to future visits to Grinnell. I only touched the tip of the ice berg with what is in this great community.
As always, I welcome your suggestion of places to visit and profile in Poweshiek County or in any of the other 98 counties. Please drop me a note on my website.