Hotel Grinnell:  Former junior high school earns an A+

Hotel Grinnell: Former junior high school earns an A+

Once a junior high school, Hotel Grinnell is a chic and modern luxury hotel that has earned an A+ in our grade book. Located just an hour’s drive east of Des Moines, Iowa, Hotel Grinnell melds its literal old school history with innovative designs and amenities for today’s contemporary traveler.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa desk and blackboard

Each room comes with a desk, blackboard, and chalk. The hotel encourages guests to use them.

A visit to the principal’s office

We had the pleasure of being hosted for a complimentary night by Hotel Grinnell. We met owner/operator Angela Harrington in the lobby when we arrived for our tour and stay. The former principal’s office was our first stop. Having been a principal himself, Steve found this bright and cheerful room a far cry from the stressful space where he spent his days reviewing school budgets and disciplining ill-behaved middle schoolers.

Once the principal's office, this guest room is now chic and modern.

Once the principal’s office, this guest room is now a chic and modern retreat. We just loved the locker room bench at the end of the bed.

Featuring a king-sized bed with a modern steel frame the former principal’s office is now a luxurious place to relax and unwind. Harrington salvaged the maple floors throughout the hotel and, while refinished, they still show signs of students’ foot traffic and scratches from moving desks.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa hallway

Wide hallways that once held slamming locker doors and excited tweens are now calm, serene places to sit and relax.

Old school theme

We made our way down the long, wide hallways visiting several of the 45 guest rooms. Harrington shared the history of the building and her dream of making it a hotel. She moved to Grinnell in 2009 to lead the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. When she arrived, she made her first objective to attract a hotel and event center to town. With this project, she made it happen, while preserving the history of this iconic building.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa bunk room

Each of the former locker rooms has been turned into a bunk room that sleeps 10. They are great for travel sports teams or a a fun retreat for birthday slumber parties and bachelorettes.

There are nods to the building’s school history throughout. Guests receive room keys in a “hall pass” sleeve and neck ties serve as do not disturb signals on the doors.

Hotel guests are given their room keys in a "hall pass" sleeve as a nod to the building's history as a school.

Hotel guests are given their room keys in a “hall pass” sleeve as a nod to the building’s history as a school.

The Periodic Table at Hotel Grinnell

A space appropriately named The Periodic Table serves as the hotel’s bar and small plates eatery.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa Periodic Table

The Periodic Table is a comfortable place to sit, relax, and unwind.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa breakfast area

The breakfast area of the Periodic Table in the Hotel Grinnell.

The on-site bar is a far cry from what once was the cafeteria. The Periodic Table now offers a full bar and unique, handcrafted cocktails like a “Kinetic Energy” and “Spontaneous Combustion.”

Hotel Grinnell Iowa games

A large Scrabble board is just one of the fun games available in the lounge area of The Periodic Table.

Indoor seating and lounge space abound. Guests and the public also have access to an outdoor patio space featuring a small stage for live music and fire pits.

History of Hotel Grinnell

Built in 1921, the building served as a public school until the 70s when it was closed and gifted to the City of Grinnell. For years, it housed city offices but much of the building was underutilized. In 2012, Harrington had the idea of purchasing the old school and turning it into a luxury hotel. It took her five years to secure funding and architectural plans but once she did, it took only 11 months to renovate.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa Penthouse Suite seating area

The seating area in the Penthouse Suite is sleek, modern, and comfortable.

Hotel Grinnell opened in September 2017 and has quickly become a popular destination hotel. It has also attracted dozens of brides, grooms, and wedding parties. Its sexy and sophisticated penthouse suite has a private dressing room and salon that is perfect for the big day.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa Penthouse Suite

Inside the sexy and sophisticated penthouse suite at Hotel Grinnell. The room features a canopy bed and an oversized bath with a heated soaking tub for two.

Gymnasium now a ball room

A step inside the former gymnasium that now serves as a ballroom brought back memories of junior high school for me. I could easily envision my classmates and me lifting parachute or gliding across the glossy wooden floor on scooters.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa ballroom

The hotel’s ballroom is in the former gym.

The old school’s auditorium got a facelift as well. It now sports new, black seating and a center aisle which make it a perfect place for a conference speaker, concert, or wedding.

Eco-friendly and lots of amenities

We should also note that Harrington thoughtfully designed guest rooms and public spaces to be comfortable and eco-friendly. Fresh air is piped into rooms continuously from the outdoors and beds are dressed with Egyptian Cotton luxury sheets from Parachute.

Our room at Hotel Grinnell used to be the junior high school library. We loved the huge window and comfortable bed.

Our room at Hotel Grinnell used to be part of the junior high school library. We loved the huge window and comfortable bed.

Hotel Grinnell has taken care of little details to make your stay special. They provide handy charging stations on each bedside table and counter-high desks that can be used for work or dinner. They also have bicycles available to tool around town.

The folks at Hotel Grinnell thought of everything when it comes to amenities and cleverly display them in a "primer" notebook.

The folks at Hotel Grinnell thought of everything when it comes to amenities and cleverly display them in a “primer” notebook.

The wide array of art that adorns the walls also impressed us. Harrington told us that there nearly 300 pieces of art displayed in the hotel and no two are the same.

Angela Harrington tells Steve about the unique art she selected for each room.

Angela Harrington tells Steve about the unique art she selected for each room.

As travel writers, we spend dozens of nights in hotel rooms each year and Hotel Grinnell has certainly been one of our favorites. In addition to the uniqueness of the building and luxurious guest rooms, the staff at Hotel Grinnell are at the top of their class. With hearts like teachers and friendly smiles, they take great care of their guests and are a big reason Hotel Grinnell earned an A+ in our grade book.


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Hotel Grinnell in Iowa


While our one-night stay at Hotel Grinnell was complimentary and we were compensated for this post, the opinions are our own. To book your stay at Hotel Grinnell, CLICK HERE or call 641.236.9250

True confession: We’ve slept around Pawhuska, Oklahoma

True confession: We’ve slept around Pawhuska, Oklahoma

When Ann and I were married, we took vows to forsake all others and be faithful to one another. That being said, I have a confession to make: We’ve both slept around Pawhuska, Oklahoma. All around. And we’re not too shy to admit it was wonderful! Now don’t get too excited. It was just the two of us, by each others’ side every night. (Smile)


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Places to stay in PAWHUSKA, OK-5


Turns out, The Pioneer Woman’s hometown of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, is also home to a number of great bed and bath properties and we have done our best to spend the night at as many as possible. While each property is unique and provides an individual experience, every place we’ve stayed has been exceptionally clean, managed by friendly people, and the prices have been reasonable. If you’re planning a visit to Pawhuska, we encourage you to book a place in town instead of settling for a chain hotel in another city. Staying right in Pawhuska gives you the real experience of small-town life in Osage County and the hospitality there is second to none.

Here’s a rundown of the many wonderful places we’ve slept in Pawhuska.

The Grandview Inn Bed and Breakfast

Stephen and Tiffany Poe are owners of this stately home located just up the hill from The Mercantile on Grandview Ave. This house, formerly owned by Ree and Ladd Drummond, has been beautifully restored and decorated and is absolutely charming.

Grandview Inn Bed and Breakfast in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Grandview Inn Bed and Breakfast in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

We enjoyed our stay in the Peacock Room at the Grandview Inn B&B in Pawhuska.

We enjoyed our stay in the Peacock Room at the Grandview Inn B&B in Pawhuska.

Guests are welcome to hang out in the living room and watch TV or head to their well appointed, comfortable accommodations upstairs for a good night’s rest. Each room is uniquely decorated and in the morning, you’ll come down to wonderful aromas wafting out of the kitchen promising a fresh, hot breakfast.

Steven Poe's eggs Benedict was delicious.

Steven Poe’s eggs Benedict at the Grandview Inn was delicious.

We loved sitting at the dining room table, sharing a delicious breakfast with other guests while chatting with the Poes. If you want to stay there you should know that some of the rooms have a private bath attached, while others share one. Ann and I stayed in one of the “shared bathroom” rooms, and it was never a problem. Plus, the Grandview has an on-demand water heater meaning that everyone gets all the hot water they need. This inn is also popular with large groups traveling together as they can share the whole house. See their website for more information.

What we enjoyed most: Visiting over a delicious breakfast with Steven and Tiffany Poe and their adorable children. 

The Flamingo’s Nest

Lauren and Cody Garnett, who are also proprietors of the World Famous Buckin’ Flamingo, own this whole house B&B property located just around the corner from Handy’s. This home can sleep up to 13 people, but Ann and I enjoyed the space just for ourselves, as well.

The Flamingo's Nest is a perfect place for a large group of people to stay.

The Flamingo’s Nest is a perfect place for a large group of people to stay.

A great place to bring your family or a group of friends, the Flamingo’s Nest offers a full kitchen, dining room, pool table, living room with entertainment center, as well as three bedrooms and three bathrooms. It also has covered parking behind the house which was great for keeping us out of the sleet as we unloaded the car one cold night.

The Flamingo's Nest is such a fun place to stay, especially with this pool table.

The Flamingo’s Nest is such a fun place to stay, especially with this pool table.

Thank you, Lauren and Cody, for the complimentary night in your wonderful property. We slept really well!

What we enjoyed most: Having an entire house to ourselves! 

The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

With eight unique rooms in a totally renovated building only two doors down from The Merc, The Pioneer Woman Boarding House brings “cowboy luxury” to life with amenities like custom-made coffee brought straight to your room each morning, and a wine and cheese reception each evening.

The Prairie Room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

The Tack Room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

In addition, guests at The Boarding House enjoy valet parking, room service, and even get reservations so they can skip the line at The Merc. This may all sound too good to be true, but it is all very real.

The bathroom in the Emerald Room features a claw foot tub and a walk in shower.

The bathroom in the Emerald Room features a claw foot tub and a walk in shower.

Add those VIP amenities to the huge, spacious rooms with genuine Tempur-Pedic mattresses and luxurious bathrooms that have to be seen to be believed, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a beautiful, relaxing place you won’t want to leave.

What we enjoyed most: Visiting with staff and other guests over complimentary wine and cheese. And, of course, the his and hers toilets. 

Redbud Cottage

The Redbud Cottage is a charming house located on 7th street. This whole house rental offers three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached double garage.

There is a large living room and open floor plan at Redbud Cottage in Pawhuska.

There is a large living room and open floor plan at Redbud Cottage in Pawhuska.

It also has a full kitchen (with Pioneer Woman dishes and pans), dining room, living room, sunroom, and fenced-in backyard complete with a gas grill which makes it a perfect getaway for a family or for a group of friends hoping to explore The Merc, Pawhuska, and Osage County.

Redbud Cottage is a perfect place for a girls weekend getaway.

Redbud Cottage is a perfect place for a girls weekend getaway.

We took our moms there and loved the flexibility we had being in our own house, able to make coffee (it’s provided!) when we wanted, and even prepare a full meal. Plus, being just a couple of blocks from downtown, the house is super convenient to so many amenities in Pawhuska.

What we enjoyed most: The water pressure. Seriously, one of the best showers I’ve ever had. 

The Million Dollar Inn

Overlooking downtown Pawhuska and across the street from the site of the Million Dollar Elm and the Osage Nation Museum, sits this charming bed and bath property that has been fully renovated. Owner Cheryl Potts has decorated each of the four guest suites in the house with heirlooms from her family that show her unique style and personal flair.

A sunny sitting room at the Million Dollar Inn in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

A sunny sitting room at the Million Dollar Inn in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

The house boasts a common area with a TV and large windows that offer a lovely view of downtown, making this property a nice one for groups traveling to Pawhuska together. In addition, each suite is equipped with its own kitchenette and full bathroom.

The Million Dollar Inn in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

The Million Dollar Inn in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

It is definitely worth noting that our bed was super comfortable. We spent a lovely evening visiting on lawn chairs outside with Cheryl and her husband who were a real pleasure to get to know. We’d like to thank them for the complimentary night we spent in this great property.

What we enjoyed most: A very comfortable bed and soft, luxurious bedding. Oh, and the view. 

The Prairie Cottages

We stayed in one of these on a recent trip to Pawhuska, and were among the first to do so as these newly built cottages just opened in the spring of 2018. Two cottages occupy what had been a vacant lot on Main St. next to the Prairie Cottage store and are conveniently located about 89 steps from the Merc.

The Prairie Cottages are located just 89 steps from The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in downtown Pawhuska.

The Prairie Cottages are located just steps from The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in downtown Pawhuska.

The inside of the Prairie Cottage in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

The inside of the Prairie Cottage in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

One of the cottages has two queen beds, while the other features a king bed. These cottages both have all the modern amenities you’d want in a hotel room (including coffee and a coffee maker) while still giving you the privacy of your own building. We were there soon enough after they’d opened that they didn’t have WiFi, yet, though the owner told us it was to be installed soon.

What we enjoyed most: The location. I’m pretty sure I could smell Ree’s chicken fried steak from the front porch. 

The Historic Whiting Bed and Bath

This hotel, built in the 1920’s, is about two blocks up Kihekah Ave. from The Merc and offers some of the most unique rooms in town. Located above the Osage Square Mall, the rooms were originally efficiency apartments for newlyweds and oilfield workers. Over the past 30 years, the apartments have been renovated into unique rooms that retain a historic feel, some with the original Murphy bed frames from the 1920’s.

French room

The French room at the Historic Whiting Bed and Bath. Courtesy photo.

The Whiting Bed and Bath has so much character and history.

The Whiting Bed and Bath has so much character and history.

With chairs to take outside onto the shared balcony, you can spend time watching the comings and goings in downtown Pawhuska. Some of the rooms have only a large, antique clawfoot tub with no shower, so ask when you make your reservation if that makes a difference to you. No matter which room you choose, however, it is sure to be clean and comfortable. This property is also excellent for large groups traveling together.

What we enjoyed most: Ann loved bathing in an old fashioned claw-foot tub. 

Places we haven’t slept, yet

Even though we’ve really gotten around, there are still a few more places we’d like to try. The Little Rainsong Loft, located right on Kihekah Ave., is definitely at the top of our list. It offers, among other things, a yard with a fire pit and sleeping accommodations for a group of people. Then, there’s the Maybelle, another old Pawhuska mansion that has been turned into a B&B that we’ve heard is absolutely beautiful. The Wah-Zha-Zhi house, located close to downtown, has two fully renovated efficiency apartments that are available for rent. JJ’s Place, Park Place Bed and Bath, Gray Haven, and Haven on the Hill are all full-house rentals in town. Finally, the Lodge at Taylor Ranch is a bit out of town, but it is located on a championship disc golf course and offers a lake view.

There’s also a new hotel set to open later this summer. The Frontier Hotel will include 20 rooms in what is known as the Triangle Building just across the street from The Mercantile. We’ve anxiously watched the renovations over the past year and can’t wait to see the finished hotel.

The Triangle Building in downtown Pawhuska will soon be the Frontier Hotel.

The Triangle Building in downtown Pawhuska will soon be the Frontier Hotel.

With this many options when you plan your next trip to Pawhuska, make sure that you try to stay in town. You’ll be close to the action, which in a small town is refreshingly little, and you’ll be the first one downtown for a Pioneer Woman breakfast in the morning.


Have you slept in Pawhuska? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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Places to stay in PAWHUSKA, OK-5

Places to stay in PAWHUSKA, OK-5

Claude and Kathy’s unexpected night at The Pioneer Woman’s Boarding House

Claude and Kathy’s unexpected night at The Pioneer Woman’s Boarding House

If you like The Pioneer Woman, or have ever dreamed of spending a night at her new Boarding House in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, you have got to see this video.

Now, here’s how we met this adorable couple.

Earlier this week, we made an impromptu trip back to one of our favorite places, Pawhuska, Oklahoma. As you may know, Pawhuska is a small town so word typically travels fast there. We’d only been in town a few hours when someone mentioned that there might be a few rooms available at new The Pioneer Woman Boarding House for that night due to a last-minute cancellation.

Steve and Ann at the PW Boarding House

We were super excited to get a room at the boarding house on a recent visit to Pawhuska.

Now, you should know that when this cowboy luxury hotel opened for reservations this spring, they booked every room available (for months in advance) in about an hour. From the moment it was announced, Pioneer Woman fans from all over the world anxiously awaited the opening of the Food Network star’s new boutique hotel. Since opening, reservations there have been nearly impossible to get. Take a look at this picture from The Tack Room and you’ll see why.

The Tack Room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

The Tack Room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

So when we called someone at The Boarding House Monday afternoon and discovered that a few rooms had indeed unexpectedly become available for that night, we jumped on it before they were booked. We arrived at the front desk in about four minutes (you can do that in a town the size of Pawhuska). We were so excited for the rare opportunity to check in and enjoy one of the eight luxurious, themed rooms.

Photograph Room bed

Like all beds in the PW Boarding house, the bed in the Photograph Room is king-sized, has a Tempurpedic mattress and amazing bedding. If you’re anything like us, you’ll sleep well.

We unpacked our suitcase in The Photograph Room, which was beautifully decorated with white wainescoting, charcoal gray walls, and photographs taken by Ree Drummond herself.

Fresh flowers at the PW Boarding House

There are always fresh flowers in every room at the PW Boarding House.

Photograph Room picture

A picture of one of the Drummonds’ beloved dogs in the Photograph Room.

A little after 5 p.m., we joined a few other guests for complimentary wine and cheese in a common area and got to talking about anniversaries and what brought each of us through Pawhuska.

PW Boarding House social hour

Jessye pours wine during the social hour at the PW Boarding House.

One couple from Oklahoma was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary while our soon-to-be friends Claude and Kathy were there to learn more about Osage history after reading the book, “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann.

After having supper at the newly opened P. Town Pizza (you must have the Not Knots if you go), we went back to the hotel where ran into Claude and Kathy again outside on the balcony overlooking Kiheka Avenue.

Not Knots at P-Town Pizza

The menu at P-Town pizza calls the Not Knots “life changing.” After trying these savory morsels, it’s safe to say the menu is correct. These are the stuff dreams are made of.

It was then that we learned more about how they came to stay at The Boarding House that night, despite knowing little about Ree Drummond or having ever watched even one episode of The Pioneer Woman’s popular TV show!

Claude and Kathy were a hoot. We ended up showing them around The Photograph Room and they invited us to see The Prairie Room in which they were staying.

Photograph Room bathroom

The bathroom in the Photograph Room has beautiful black and white tile.

We got such a kick out of this couple who was married 50 years ago on the same day of the year as we were – August 27! Their story and lively personalities were just too good not to share, and they happily agreed to allow us to interview them on video.

We hope you enjoyed their uplifting story as much as we did. It certainly made for a memorable stay for all of us.

-Ann & Steve


Note: The Pioneer Woman Mercantile is inviting you to put your name into the hat for a free night’s stay at The Boarding House in 2018! Simply sign up at the link below to subscribe to The Merc’s email newsletter and each month for the rest of 2018 they will draw a random winner.

https://www.themercantile.com/pages/boarding-house

(Note: If you are already a subscriber, your name will go into the hat as well!)
*Dates subject to availability

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The Pioneer Woman Boarding House hotel in Pawhuska, OK, is stunning!

The Pioneer Woman Boarding House hotel in Pawhuska, OK, is stunning!

We were at the right place at the right time this week when we rolled across the windy plains of Oklahoma into the small town of Pawhuska for the seventh time in nine months, excited to see if there was any progress on the Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

As you know by now, we adore this historic town that is coming back to life, in part due to the entrepreneurial spirit of The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond and her husband, Ladd.

We pulled into Pawhuska Wednesday and walked by the Drummonds’ new cowboy luxury hotel on our way to The Merc for dinner our first feeding.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile building in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

It wasn’t open yet, but the stunning lobby caught our eyes and we peeked through the door for a better look. One of the front desk attendants, Leslie, saw us and invited us in for a personal tour of The Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

These swinging wood doors were original to the building and lead to the lighted themed rooms upstairs.

These swinging wood doors were original to the building and lead to the lighted themed rooms upstairs.

The lobby is amazing — and it’s not even completed yet! The Drummonds kept the original tile floor and also preserved the steps and swinging doors that lead upstairs. Constructed in 1920, Leslie told us the building originally housed the Indian Silk Shop and was later a clothing store and J.C. Penney department store.

The light coming into the Butterfly Bed made the room light up.

The sunlight coming into the Butterfly Room made the room so refreshing and relaxing.

Rooms at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

Each of the eight rooms has its own unique theme and name — Tack Room, Prairie Room, Ranch Room, Butterfly Room, and more. Leslie said Ladd designed the four rooms on the third floor while Ree created the four on the second floor.

The Drug Store Suite was amazing! The uncovered mural, the apothecary jars, oh, my!

The Drugstore Suite was amazing! The uncovered mural, the apothecary jars, oh, my!

The Drugstore Room was one of the first rooms we visited and I’ll admit our jaws dropped about as far as the time we first laid eyes on Ree’s chicken fried steak. It was incredible. The largest feature of this suite is a huge Puryear’s advertising mural on the south wall. There are also wooden shelves that display apothecary jars filled with penny candy.


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Everything was just all so well thought out with careful attention paid to details that bring relaxation and luxury.

All of the beds have luxurious bedding with embroidered pillow shams

All of the beds have luxurious bedding with embroidered pillow shams.

Amenities at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

Each room has a king Tempur-Pedic bed topped with soft, fluffy bedding and decorative blankets. There is a stocked mini fridge and basket of unique snacks and fresh fruits in each room. In addition, they have provided not only a hair dryer, but a curling iron, as well. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Each of the rooms includes a basket of fresh fruit and unique snacks (like wax lips and Smarties) for purchase.

Bathrooms at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

Oh, and bathing will be an experience at this hotel. The rooms have showers that are walk-in (many from both sides) and some have claw foot tubs. These aren’t the tiny, curl-up-your-knees and contort your body claw foot tubs, either. I’m talking stretch-out-your-legs, lie back in bubbles and soak-for-eternity claw foot tubs.

The Boudoir is decorated in burgundy velvet and glossy black paneled walls. Can you imagine soaking in this claw foot tub with a chandelier hanging above?

The Boudoir is decorated in burgundy velvet and glossy black paneled walls. Can you imagine soaking in this claw foot tub with a chandelier hanging above?

Every room was strikingly beautiful but the Emerald Room really caught my eye. Featuring emerald green tile throughout the huge bathroom, this room just makes you feel like you’re in a completely different place and time.

Each room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House has luxurious bedding, an accent blanket, and a stuffed animal from The Mercantile.

Each room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House has luxurious bedding, and an accent blanket.

This emerald green bathroom has a large clawfoot tub in addition to a walk in shower with floating glass doors.

This emerald green bathroom has a large claw foot tub in addition to a walk-through shower with floating glass doors. I know I’m in the reflection in the mirrored tile, but I just had to share a picture of this amazing room!

I also loved the Photograph Room. The charcoal plaster walls are decorated with stunning photographs from the Drummond ranch, all taken by Ree. The bathroom has marble countertops and the entire room is ADA-accessible.

This Photography Room is ADA compliant and filled with photographs taken by Ree Drummond.

The Photograph Room is ADA compliant and filled with photographs taken by Ree Drummond.

Everything in the ADA-accessible room is so well thought out. The closet is open and includes a lower bar for hanging clothes.

Everything in this ADA-accessible room is so well thought out. The closet is open and includes a lower bar for hanging clothes.

The Photograph room in filled with Ree Drummond's photography.

The Photograph Room in filled with Ree Drummond’s photography.

The staff at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House

There’s no doubt in our minds The Boarding House is going to be a destination in and of itself for people who want to escape, relax, and unwind. Not only are the rooms and amenities some of the best we’ve seen in all our travels, the people who work there are committed to one thing – making people happy.

Our tour guide Leslie, who is from nearby Hominy, was a wealth of information about the history of Pawhuska and Osage County. And like everyone we’ve met in Osage County, her gift of hospitality made us feel right at home.

Our tour guide, Leslie, was so sweet and full of great information about the history of the town and the building.

Our tour guide, Leslie, was so sweet and full of great information about the history of the town and the building.

We can’t wait for The Boarding House to open and look forward to sharing much more about the additional perks and services provided to guests. The spicy cowgirl coffee delivered to your room. The outside terrace overlooking Kihekah Avenue. The wine reception. The turndown service each evening complete with chocolate truffles. We’ll share it all with you, soon.

In fact, we’ve got a room booked the first week in May and we can’t wait to check in.


Thanks again to everyone at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile and The Boarding House for your incredible hospitality. We can’t wait to check in. 

As always, thanks for sharing and pinning!

The Pioneer Woman Boarding House in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Nebraska’s Nicest #1 – Innkeeper Jeanne Goetzinger

Nebraska’s Nicest #1 – Innkeeper Jeanne Goetzinger

I met Jeanne Goetzinger several years ago, when my daughter, Meghan, and I were exploring northwest Nebraska. We saw a lot of interesting things on that trip, but none was more memorable than the straight-talking, curly-haired woman who greeted us in the parking lot of the historic Olde Main Street Inn and encouraged us to step up to the bar and enjoy a refreshing Sarsaparilla after a long day’s drive. She was unlike anyone else we encountered on our week-long, annual trek across our home state. She was a kindred spirit, but tough as nails and I couldn’t wait to introduce her to my husband, Steve, when we decided to spend a night in Chadron this summer.

Checking in to the Olde Main Street Inn in Chadron, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Checking in to the Olde Main Street Inn in Chadron, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

We arrived at the Olde Main Street Inn mid-evening and Jeanne, a second-generation innkeeper, came down from her second-floor apartment to unlock the front door for us. First, she introduced us to her companion, an American Stag Hound named Grace, whom she rescued two and a half  years ago, even though she suspected (by the look in her eyes) that the dog was pregnant. In fact, the dog gave birth to 10 puppies three weeks later and Jeanne says Gracie was responsible for making 10 families very happy. After introductions, she kindly invited us to take a seat at the empty bar, asked what we’d like to drink and then poured herself a glass of wine. While her glass sat practically untouched, Steve and I sipped our cold beers and listened to Jeanne reminisce about the historic hotel and the many characters who have graced its doors.

The bar at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

The bar at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

She told us about the room where General Nelson Miles stayed when the hotel was his headquarters during the Wounded Knee Massacre in the 1890s. She explained how her mother, Evva, purchased the hotel and restaurant in 1969 and managed it until Jeanne took over in 1990, retiring her mother to what she calls “Grande Dame status.” And she was most excited to name drop the authors, artists, and celebrities (Dick Cavett and Woody Harrelson to name a few) who have spent time at the Olde Main Street Inn over the years.

Today, the inn serves as a bed and breakfast and the bar is open Wednesday through Saturday. According to Jeanne, it attracts quite an eclectic group of locals and travelers that make thought-provoking conversation. We were there on a Monday, so the inn was pretty quiet — just us and few construction workers. We asked her if the bar attracts many of the college students who attend Chadron State College up the street. She said, “Just the really smart ones. I don’t serve Red Bull. And I don’t serve Jägermeister. Whoever thought an energetic drunk was a good idea?”

After our welcome drink, she walked us up two flights of steps and down a wide hallway to our third-floor room.

It was fun to think about the cowboys, Generals, and celebrities who have also walked these wide hallways. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

It was fun to think about the cowboys, Generals, and celebrities who have also walked these wide hallways. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Because all of the rooms have full beds (just like in the 1800s) and my 6’4″ husband and I would not fit well in one, we chose to stay in the Railroad Room, as it had two beds and a small bathroom. The room and its railroad-themed contents were dated, but Jeanne made sure the bathroom was clean, the sheets were freshly pressed, and it met our needs after a long day of exploring Western Nebraska.

We stayed in the railroad-themed room at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Steve Teget for postcard jar.com)

We stayed in the railroad-themed room at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Steve Teget for postcard jar.com)

As we walked back to the hotel through the alleyway after having dinner at Maria’s around the corner, we were greeted again by Jeanne and her 88-year-old mother. They were outside, enjoying Jeanne’s garden area behind the hotel and they graciously invited us in. We explored her potted flowers and herbs and admired the clematis and hens and chicks she had planted herself. The garden was a respite for the two women and apparently, for anyone else walking by who needed a break or a quiet and relaxing place to rest.

Jeanne tends to her garden behind The Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Jeanne tends to her garden behind The Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

When we came downstairs the next morning, Jeanne was ready and waiting with a cinnamon roll and a strong cup of coffee. We visited about our plans for the week and she told us more stories about the inn, the people of Chadron, and the eclectic collection of decor and art work that encompasses the entire building. She even took a few minutes to tell us about how she first became interested in spinning yarn and then even demonstrated her craft for us. Click here to see Jeanne spinning yarn!

She walked us through what used to be a formal dining room and showed off her daughter, Lorri Meng’s paintings. Jeanne’s love and appreciation of art was evident. She told us she was even going to open the dining room this summer for a special exhibition called “Au Naturale:  A Celebration of Art and the Human Body.” The free exhibition would give local artists like Don Ruleaux, Robin Smith, Lorri Meng, and Bob Zillig an opportunity to display their art in one-of-a-kind fashion — perhaps a first for rural Nebraska. 

As we prepared to leave the Olde Main Street Inn, Jeanne asked if she could fill our cooler with ice and gave us each a bottle of water for the road. When my husband extended his hand to thank her for her hospitality, she brushed it aside and said,”I’m a hugger. Always have been.” She gave us each a warm hug, wished us well, and sent us on our way. As Steve and I walked to the car, we smiled at each other and didn’t even need words to express what we were both thinking. It’s people like Jeanne who make Nebraska especially nice.