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Culture, Coffee &  Wright on the Park
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Culture, Coffee & Wright on the Park

If you are traveling to Iowa in the coming year there are some wonderful opportunities to enjoy one of America’s last architectural treasures. Mason City, Iowa is a small agricultural community between Des Moines and Minneapolis just off I-35 and has much to offer the Iowa explorer that finds it. This community of 29,000 offers wonderful shopping and dining opportunities and a hotel in the downtown designed by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright.

Mason City was recently dubbed as an architectural hotbed by CNN’s Leisure & Travel section. The Historic Park Inn Hotel & City National Bank designed and built under Frank Lloyd Wright in 1910 officially opened in September of 2010 and was funded from public and private funds according to the foundation responsible for refurbishing it. According to the Wright on the Park foundation, the hotel originally had 41 hotel rooms, each 10 feet squared with shared bathrooms between guest rooms. The restored hotel has 21 modern hotel rooms to include two luxurious suites designed for the new hotel by combining two original rooms. Six more rooms were designed in the former office space of the City National Bank building now part of the hotel and serves as a ballroom/banquet hall.

There is an upscale pub for weary travelers to relax and play pool, meeting rooms, a unique lobby with a 100-year-old stained glass ceiling and a restaurant called the 1910 Grille in the hotel overlooking Central Park in the downtown. The 1910 Grille provides an upscale dining experience with meals served ala carte and prepared by Chef Kurt Nyguard, you won’t be disappointed. Like the hotel, the dining facilities offer patrons the experience of fine cuisine surrounded by turn of the century early Prairie School design.

Visitors staying at the hotel are in the middle of a cultural center that includes coffee shops, fine dining restaurants, pubs, a shopping mall and an outdoor plaza area that has live entertainment on weekends. The community is home to the famous composer Meredith Willson (The Music Man) and has a complex, the Music Man Square, adjoining his boyhood home available for tours year around. Across the street is one of Iowa’s most beautiful recently refurbished libraries located next to the MacNider Art Museum: all worth visiting. Tourists will find plenty of entertainment to include the River City Sculpture on Parade Tour displaying unique statues year-round and a local community theater.

The hotel has been busy since its opening and it has generated newly welcomed clientele into the downtown. You won’t regret visiting Mason City if you are traveling on a budget as it has a variety of entertainment that will appeal to most travelers and considering you can stay at the last remaining hotel in the world built by Frank Lloyd Wright for the price of a staying at a conventional hotel, it’s worth the experience. Most of the attractions are free and there are many eating establishments to choose from that will financially fit your dining itinerary.

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