The DM Register has a good profile of the new owner of the Hotel Pattee – a one-of-a-kind gem of a boutique hotel in Perry, Iowa, about 45 minutes west of Des Moines. Here’s hoping he succeeds! In another Register section is a story about the Whiterock Conservancy – a developing tourist attraction about 30 miles west of Perry in Coon Rapids that will offer trails for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding (more below – it would be great to visit on a perfect fall day like today in Des Moines where the autumn foliage is spectacular this year!). Put these two together and maybe there’s a successful weekend travel package (which has been part of the issue with the Hotel Pattee…since there are limited things for tourists to do there).
In 2000, when I wrote a story for the NYTimes travel section Historic Hybrid in Iowa, NYTimes 11/26/2000 about a stay at the historic Garst Farm in Coon Rapids (which now falls under the umbrella of Whiterock Conservancy and is still a lodging option from what I can glean from the website whiterock conservancy website ) we went on a very memorable 2.5 hours horseback ride with our kids. They were very little (ages 8 and 7) to be riding on such big horses by themselves so I was a bit of a wreck but they survived. I ended the account of our trip with a visit to the Hotel Pattee. It can be done!
Another good activity option near Perry is the High Trestle Trail with it’s awe-inspiring 13-story high bridge, hidden in the middle of nowhere, spanning a glorious river valley.
WHITEROCK, CROSSING A THRESHOLD
Next summer Whiterock will embark on the construction of our long-planned 35 mile backcountry trail!
The entire new backcountry trail will be open to walkers and hikers as it meanders among the forested slopes above the Middle Raccoon River. Sixteen miles of the trail will be a winding single track designed specifically for mountain bikers. Another seven miles will be for equestrians.The final twelve miles will be double track shared by all users, including those using low power vehicles to allow those with mobility restrictions the opportunity to enjoy nature. Trail users will also be able to access nine miles of other existing trails which connect to downtown Coon Rapids and many more miles of river upstream.