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The city of Grinnell was founded in 1854 by settlers from New England, and is best known for its namesake college, which was founded in 1846. This deep history gives Grinnell a unique charm, as does its revitalized downtown area; Grinnell is frequently recognized as one of the "best small towns in America." It is a wonderful place to enjoy a long walk with your pup. You can view well-preserved houses in a range of architectural styles as you amble under the city's stately trees or enjoy a romp in one of the city's many sprawling parks. Grinnell also has three veterinary clinics to keep your pet healthy.
One of the city's gems is Arbor Lake Park. This bucolic 81-acre park in South Grinnell has many expansive lawns where your pup can run and play, as well as wetlands, restored prairies, and wooded areas with mature trees. The multi-use Grinnell Trail curls along the east side of the lake. Changing leaves create a beautiful display in the fall, and in the summer, wildflowers abound. The park offers numerous amenities for your convenience, including bike racks, bathrooms, and water. You will need to bring your own water bowl and waste bags and will need to keep your dog on a leash.
Whether you're looking for history, culture, or the chance to commune with nature, Grinnell is a wonderful place to contemplate your bond with your canine companion.
Grinnell's downtown area is bursting with charm and culture. The recently opened Hotel Grinnell is a perfect example of what this neighborhood has to offer. This boutique hotel was once a schoolhouse and doesn't look like any other place you've stayed overnight. The rooms have an understated luxury and impart a subtle school-days nostalgia. The best part of the hotel is that it's pet-friendly! Not only is your dog welcome to stay with you, you can get pet treats and borrow bowls at the front desk. Hotel Grinnell is only a block away from Central Park, a four-acre park with playground spaces, lawns, and a large shelter where many seasonal events are held. You will need to keep your pup on a leash and bring your own waste bags and water.
North Grinnell features the Grinnell College campus and a historic district with several stately homes. It's a great place to walk to take in local architecture and history. The city even maintains a webpage where you can read histories of individual houses in the neighborhood! Queen Anne, Classical Revival, and Prairie-style homes are among the styles you'll find. Parks abound, including the Lions, Bailey, Merrill, and Van Horn parks on the western side of the neighborhood. Each has unique features, whether playscapes for children, sports facilities, or unique landscapes like restored prairie areas. On the east side of the neighborhood, you'll find the Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park. This sprawling 100-acre complex includes a number of indoor and outdoor sports facilities, playground areas, lawns, and a 1.5-mile walking path. At all of these parks, you'll find plenty of grassy and wooded areas to explore with your pup. You will need to keep your dog on a leash and bring your own waste bags and water.
South Grinnell includes both residential and commercial areas and is where you'll find most of the city's pet-friendly hotels, including a Best Western, Quality Inn, Country Inn and Suites, and a Comfort Inn. There are also many parks. In addition to Arbor Lake Park, you can visit James Miller Park, Summer Street Park, and Tomazin Park. All of these parks have open lawn areas as well as areas shaded by trees. You will need to keep your dog on a leash and bring your own waste bags and water. At the far south end of the neighborhood, you will find the city's only off-leash dog park, the recently opened PALS Park. This dog park is private and requires a membership or visitor's fee.
For adventurous pups seeking a big adventure just outside of the city limits of Grinnell, Rock Creek State Park is a perfect option. You can drive the six miles from the city to the park, or take the multi-use Rock Creek Recreational Trail if you're up for the trek! The 1700-acre state park centers on the large Rock Creek Lake and includes several miles of trails for walking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as for skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. Boating, fishing, and camping are popular activities at the park. It's also a great place to spot wildlife. Bathrooms with showers are available, and there are trash cans throughout the park. You will need to keep your dog on a leash and bring your own waste bags and water.
Drive 18 miles north of Grinnell to find the small town of Montour. This hamlet on the shores of the Iowa River is a great place to bring your dog if you're wanting to treat you both to a great meal. Rube's Steakhouse is a pawsome dog-friendly restaurant with a beautiful, spacious patio area where you can sit with your pup. This grill-your-own steak restaurant sources all of its meat locally, and has been in business for over forty years. If your dog has been a very good boy or girl, you might just have to give them a couple of bites. There's a small unnamed park a block to the west of Rube's if your pup needs to make a quick pit stop before you head back.
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