Nauvoo Grand - A Bed & Breakfast Inn
Table Of Contents
Just up Parley Street from the Midwest's largest collection of restored historic preservation sites, nestled behind a canopy of 145-year-old trees, sits an unexpected historic treasure, the Nauvoo Grand. Please call today and make your reservation to enjoy the best of Nauvoo in an intimate historic setting surrounded by idyllic orchards and vineyards!
This turn-of-the-century home was built in1905 by Cecil J. Baxter whose family had come to Nauvoo with the Icarian movement in 1855. The Baxter home was built over an old Mormon homestead that was originally on the site. The basement walls display a number of stones salvaged from the original Nauvoo Temple that is located just a few blocks away.
Today, the Baxter home has been transformed by Cassie and Kent Barrett into Nauvoo's only luxury accommodations, offering the grace and intimacy of Victorian times. Perched on a gentle rise, the Nauvoo Grand is still surrounded by the Baxter family vineyards and sits directly across the street from Illinois' oldest winery, owned and operated by fifth generation of the Baxter family, Brenda & Kelly Logan.
Travelers are always looking for memorable and relaxing experiences. Let’s discover more through the words of our innkeepers. Many thanks to Cassie and Kent Barrett for sharing their own secrets with BBOnline.com! Why do most travelers stay at your inn?
Most travelers stay at our bed & breakfast while learning about Nauvoo and Mormon history, researching their family histories, or just simply looking for a quiet getaway.
What are you best known for? What makes your inn unique? What do you love most about your inn?
The Nauvoo Grand is unique in that it provides visitors with a luxurious suite in a home that was built in the 1904 and has many original features such as the pressed tin ceiling, hardwood floors, and stained glass windows.
If someone has never been to your city, what is the #1 reason to come visit?
Nauvoo is located along a scenic part of the Mississippi River and is steeped in history from the early days of Quashquema and Sac & Fox Indians to the early days of the Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saint movement to the French Icarian society. Nauvoo is an educational resource along with a great place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of city living.
What’s the best compliment you have ever received about the inn?
We consistently hear how wonderful the breakfast that Brenda makes each morning is!
What’s the best kept secret about the area?
Nauvoo is also home to a 148-acre state park that has walking and hiking trails along with a small lake – this park is a gem that is 4 blocks away from the Nauvoo Grand.
If a traveler is staying at your inn for 4 nights, what should he/she do in the area?
A four night stay at the Nauvoo Grand would give one enough time to indulge in the over 30 restored homes in Nauvoo, a visit to the Nauvoo Fudge Factory and to the oldest winery in Illinois – Baxter’s Vineyards, which is located directly across the street from the Nauvoo Grand. We would also recommend seeing our two historical society museums in Nauvoo, the Old Fort in Ft. Madison, Iowa and taking a visit to Carthage, Illinois and our wonderful Kibbe Museum.
Is there anything within walking distance of your inn?
Baxter’s Vineyards & Winery is located directly across the street from the Nauvoo Grand, the Nauvoo State Park is just a short 4 blocks from the Nauvoo Grand. The reconstructed Nauvoo Temple is approximately 1.5 miles from the Nauvoo Grand.
What is your favorite restaurant/food in the area?
The Hotel Nauvoo provides visitors with an outstanding dinner experience!
Any good area guides/websites that travelers could reference? How many rooms does your inn have?
We have 5 rooms.
Do you accept pets?
We do not accept pets, however, year-round boarding services are offered by our local veterinarian clinic, the Hancock Veterinary Clinic, located just 13 miles south of the Nauvoo Grand in Hamilton, Illinois.
Tour the Inn...
As you approach the Nauvoo Grand, you will note the exquisitely detailed brick and the elaborate Victorian trim under the eaves and around the front and side porches. After stepping through the carved front door, your eyes will immediately be drawn to the dramatic copper-colored pressed metal ceilings in the entry, which extend throughout most of the main floor and complement the restored copper door hardware found throughout the home.
In addition to your private bedchambers, all of our guests enjoy access to our main floor library, where you can sit in comfort with a good book or good friends beneath the beautiful copper-colored tin ceilings and exquisite antique chandelier and look out to the vineyards and orchards to the south and north.
Each of our bed chambers is furnished with beautiful antiques and offers private bath, cable television, DVD player and radio/CD. Wireless Internet is also available free of charge for our guests.
One bedchamber, "Esther's Garden," is located on the main floor at the back of the house on the foundation of the old Mormon home and features a private attached bath with jetted tub. The elegantly detailed wood banister accompanies you up the center staircase to the second floor, which features three antique-filled bed chambers, each with private bath (one not attached) and beautiful views of the one-acre grounds and surrounding vineyards and orchards. Two of the baths feature jetted tubs. From the second floor another staircase takes you to "Eleanor's Attic" which encompasses the entire third floor with a queen size bed in one sleeping area, two twins in another and its own private bath.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to this small village (population 1100) each year, drawn by the abundance of attractions, many of which are free to the public...
- Weld House Museum
- Rheinberger Home & Museum
- Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo
- Nauvoo Brass Band Concerts
- Just Plain Anna Amanda
- High Hopes & River Boats
- Sunset by the Mississippi
Historic Nauvoo consists of a large number of restored homes and buildings on the flats staffed by tour guides in period clothing, including several private homes, meeting halls and businesses (bakery, brickyard, gun shop, blacksmith, wheelwright, drug store, school, printing office, tin shop, land and records office), as well as a large visitors center and memorial gardens.
The Joseph Smith Historic Center offers guided walking tours of the Joseph Smith Homestead, Mansion House, Red Brick Store, Nauvoo House and Smith Family Cemetery.
Nauvoo State Park
The 148-acre park directly across from the restored historic flats includes a 13-acre lake with mile-long shoreline and offers fishing, boating, camping, and hiking along with 20 acres of playground and picnic areas.
Baxter's Vineyards Winery
Illinois' oldest winery features complimentary tasting, tours, hand-made gifts by area craftsmen and specialty foods (including Carol's homemade pies and sweet breads).
History of Nauvoo
Perhaps nowhere else can a town of 1100 inhabitants boast such a varied and tumultuous past or such a bright and exciting future. In Nauvoo, the mighty Mississippi bends around an eight-mile curve of fertile farmland ("the flats"). About a mile inland, the land rises about 60 feet up to level grasslands ("the bluff") which extend eastward to the horizon.
Tradition has it that this one-time Indian village of 400 to 500 lodges called "Quashquema" was traded for two hundred sacks of corn in 1824 to Captain James White, who ran a ferry and traded with the Indians. In 1830 a post office was established for the tiny settlement under the name of "Venus," which was changed not long thereafter to "Commerce."
The incredible transformation of the area began in 1839 when Joseph Smith, Jr. purchased 170 acres for a settlement of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After having been driven out of Ohio and Missouri, the "Saints" descended upon what was a mosquito-ridden swamp and began to build a city named "Nauvoo," a Hebrew word suggesting "a beautiful place." Soon wagons and tents gave way to log cabins, then frame houses and, finally, brick homes and businesses. Within five years, the population had swelled to 12,000, nearly as large as Chicago, with grist and lumber mills, potteries, tanneries, foundries, brickyards, bakeries, a slaughter house, comb and match factories and dozens of shops, stores and other businesses.
The crowning centerpiece of the settlement, however, was the magnificent Temple constructed on the edge of the bluff...
During the five years of its construction, men gave every tenth day to cut, haul and place wooden timbers and limestone blocks. Women donated their fine china to be crushed to add sparkle to the exterior. Said to be the finest building in the west at the time, the Temple measured 128 feet by 88 feet and featured an 82-foot octagonal tower.
In 1844, Joseph Smith was martyred in nearby Carthage and in 1846 mob violence forced the Saints to begin their historic trek westward to the basin of the great Salt Lake. After the exodus, the activity of the town moved to the bluff and the flats began a long period of decay. In late 1848, an arsonist destroyed all the wooden parts of the Temple, and the blackened walls were further damaged by a tornado in 1850. The City Council finally ordered the ruined remains removed in 1865.
In 1849, an orderly and industrious group of French communists known as Icarians arrived in Nauvoo and were able to buy vacated properties for little or no more than back taxes. The Icarians planted orchards and vineyards and operating numerous industries, including a sawmill, large flour mill, numerous shops, a brewery, distillery and wineries. A few years later the communal way of life proved unworkable and the colony dispersed.
In the latter half of the 19th century, German, Swiss, English, Irish and Scottish immigrants found their way to Nauvoo. German culture and language became dominant and remained so until World War I. The soil and climate were so favorable for raising grapes that by 1866 the town had over 500 acres in vine and numerous wine cellars. The wine industry continued to grow in Nauvoo until the days of prohibition. Much of the grapes grown in Nauvoo were shipped to Northern markets until much of the vineyards were converted to corn and soybeans crops. Old cellars were converted to house Nauvoo Blue Cheese, thus the rise of another famous industry in Nauvoo. Each Labor Day weekend, the Nauvoo Grape Festival celebrates these two Nauvoo industries with a pageant which observes the old French rite called "The Wedding of the Wine and Cheese."
The Catholic Church also has deep roots in Nauvoo. The Sisters of St. Benedict came from Chicago and opened a school (later known as St. Mary's Academy) for the advanced education of young women in 1874. A new monastery was built in 1954, a new high school in 1957 and other additions in 1962 and 1967. Although no longer standing in Nauvoo, this complex continues to have deep ties to Nauvoo’s residents.
During the latter half of the twentieth century, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has returned to Nauvoo and rebuilt the ruins of many of the original buildings on the flat. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with the Community of Christ (which owns the original Joseph Smith home and several surrounding buildings), have created the "Williamsburg of the Midwest" with two visitors centers and numerous restored and furnished homes and shops which are open all year round for free guided tours. In addition to free musical theatre productions held daily on the flats, a spectacular outdoor pageant, "The Nauvoo Pageant" has been held annually since 1976 (in July).
The latest chapter in Nauvoo's history began in 1999, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans to reconstruct the original Nauvoo Temple. Completed and dedicated in the Spring of 2002, the exterior of this amazing $25 million dollar edifice is virtually an exact replica of the original. The interior has been crafted with the finest materials, replicating the original where possible while accommodating the needs of modern-day Latter-day Saints who now travel to Nauvoo year-round to perform sacred ordinance work.
Meet the Owners
Cassie and Kent currently reside in Columbus, Ohio, where Kent is the Senior Managing Director for Veris Consulting, LLC, a boutique firm providing forensic accounting and expert witness services. Cassie holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University but has been a "stay at home mom" for the couple's seven children. Also, Cassie has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Houston with honors. Kent has Bachelors and Masters degrees from BYU in Accounting and spent nine years as a CPA with Ernst & Young and 12 years as a financial executive in the insurance industry, before joining Veris in 2003. Over the past 30 years, the couple has resided in Provo (UT), Overland Park (KS), Jacksonville (FL), St. Louis (MO), Franklin (TN), Houston (TX), Keokuk (IA) and Columbus (OH).