We arrived in Mason City on Saturday afternoon and had just enough (perfect!) afternoon sunlight to explore East Park, The ridiculously charming park was established in 1924 and boasts a beautifully restored band-shell, two playgrounds, a steam locomotive on display, and a meandering creek with ducks. can you believe those gorgeous trees? Our trip to the East Park alone was worth the drive!
After our visit to the park, we headed over to the Park Inn Hotel for dinner at the 1912 Grille. It’s a fancy schmancy restaurant, but they didn’t seem to mind that we had our three year old with us. Thankfully, he was on his best behavior and thoroughly enjoyed a flatbread pizza while Jesse and I treated ourselves to New York Strips and Cabernet Sauvignon.
We were fortunate to also spend the night in the hotel, which is absolutely amazing. It recently underwent a twenty million dollar renovation and it’s absolutely beautiful. In true Frank Lloyd wright style, the Park Inn doesn’t have a grand entrance. See the little door to the bottom left? It leads to the main lobby. with a simple front desk and low ceiling. The rest of the hotel is full of cozy rooms and lots of passages; it feels a bit maze-like, completely different from your standard modern hotel.
On Sunday morning, we drove around admiring the The Prairie Style homes in the Rock Glen neighborhood. This gem was on the market when we visited, although I’m sure it’s been scooped up by now! After drooling over the picturesque neighborhood, we stopped by the Stockman House Museum. Since it was a Sunday morning, the museum wasn’t open and I was only able to snap photos of the outside. The house was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “fireproof” designs and was commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. Stockman in 1908. The house was moved from its original location in 1989, then restored and turned into a museum.
I really wish we had stayed for a tour, but we were in a rush start back to Omaha. A five hour drive with a three year old requires lots of stops, snacks and patience. We had a wonderful time visiting Mason City and if you live within a few hours, I highly recommend visiting. The town was so quiet and charming and I’m sure we only saw a sliver of what it has to offer!