The Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast
Table Of Contents
Described by the Iowan Magazine as “A George Barber home fit for presidents and fairy princesses,” the Grand Anne in Keokuk, Iowa, is the perfect escape to a simpler time and place characterized by elegance and hospitality.
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast redefines "affordable luxury."
Designed by George F. Barber, the 22-room 1897 mansion is an elaborate example of Queen Anne style domestic architecture. The Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With its surrounding nearly one to two park-like acres, including formal gardens, the Grand Anne is the centerpiece of Keokuk's beautiful Grand Avenue, often referred to as the "Miracle Mile" for its abundance of historic homes overlooking the mighty Mississippi.
While "in earlier years admission to the sacred precincts of the Avenue was through family name and achievement," the Grand Anne welcomes visitors from near and far to this beautiful boulevard.
A leisurely six-block stroll brings our guests to Rand Park's gardens, lakes, fountains and beautiful green hills. Developed in the 1880's, the park boasts one of the most scenic overlooks of the Mississippi and hosts a variety of activities include the April Civil War Reenactment and the December City of Christmas display. Also nearby is plenty of sightseeing, fishing, boating, bicycling, golf and antiquing as well as the Midwest's largest historic preservation site in nearby Nauvoo, IL.
Cassie and Kent Barrett invite you to treat yourself to the quiet elegance of a by-gone era at the Grand Anne Bed and Breakfast. Find out why Time Magazine named it one of the "Top 12 B&B's in the United States" and why Country Inns Magazine has recognized it in 1998 as one of the year's "Top Five Affordable Luxuries".
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Travelers are always looking for memorable and relaxing experiences. Let’s discover more through the words of our innkeepers. Many thanks to Kent Barrett for sharing his own secrets with BBOnline.com! Why do most travelers stay at your inn?
Most travelers stay at The Grand Anne for relaxation and a chance to “get away from it all” and escape the rush of everyday life. Many also stay while visiting the historic sites, entertainment and other activities in nearby Nauvoo, IL.
What are you best known for? What makes your inn unique? What do you love most about your inn?
The Grand Anne is a “…home fit for presidents and fairy princesses.” Not only is it a magnificent example of the elegance of the Victorian era and Queen Anne architecture, but it is the centerpiece of Keokuk, Iowa’s beautiful Grand Avenue, known as the “Miracle Mile” for its wonderful collection of historic homes on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Plus, Rick and Cretia Hesse, our innkeepers, are incredibly accommodating and Cretia is a wonderful cook.
If someone has never been to your city, what is the #1 reason to come visit?
Keokuk has its own amazing history involving, Mark Twain, Howard Hughes, Robert E. Lee plus others and is a beautiful 20-minute drive along the edge of the Mississippi River from Nauvoo, IL, known as the “Williamsburg of the Midwest.”
What’s the best compliment you have ever received about the inn?
The best compliment we get consistently is when guests say how much they will cherish the memories of their visit and then they return to make more memories.
What’s the best kept secret about the area?
Though now a modest river town, when the Grand Anne was constructed in 1897, Keokuk was a boom town and shortly thereafter became the site of U.S. Lock & Dam #19, which was at the time the largest electricity generating plant in the world.
If a traveler is staying at your inn for 4 nights, what should he/she do in the area?
Rick Hesse, one of our innkeepers, offers several local historic tours. Many also enjoy watching the bald eagles in winter and hunting for “Keokuk Geodes, the roundish hollow crystal-filled rocks for which the area is famous, the rest of the year. Nearby Nauvoo, IL requires 2-3 days to fully experience.
Is there anything within walking distance of your inn?
Rand Park’s elegant flower gardens, lake, fountains, green hills, play equipment, new outdoor amphitheater and one of the most scenic overlooks of the Mississippi River are just a leisurely six-block stroll from the Grand Anne. About the same distance in the opposite direction along the bluff will bring guests to overlooks of U.S. Lock & Dam #19, where they can watch river barges pass through the locks.
What is your favorite restaurant/food in the area?
The best food in town is probably at the Hawkeye Restaurant, offering a wide variety of menu options. (The owner lives just a block from The Grand Anne.).
Any good area guides/websites that travelers could reference?
You can find links to websites describing the history of Keokuk as well as many local sites and events, including the Civil War Reenactment, Bald Eagle Appreciation Days, International L-Bird Fly-In, Rollin’ on the River Blues Festival and Historic Nauvoo, IL and the spectacular outdoor Nauvoo Pageant.
How many rooms does your inn have?
The Grand Anne offers 5 spacious suites and an unusual amount of common areas for guests to enjoy including two formal parlours, music room, billiard/ballroom and office as well as covered front porch, screened side-porch and formal gardens all set on 1-2 park-like acres of land.
Do you accept pets?
Unfortunately, we are not able to accept pets. There are a variety of local options for pet boarding, including nearby Krichel Animal Hospital, which refers to itself as “kinda like a doggie hotel…”
We invite you to enjoy the delightful four course gourmet meals served in an elegant candlelight setting. Menus range from Grand Anne's own Butter Pecan French Toast to Grand Anne's various egg casserole recipes served with sweetened or mustard bacon, buttered and peppered ham or homemade sausage.
Various choices of muffins, along with yogurt bowls, fruit bowls, coffees, teas, hot chocolates, and Grand Anne's own special orange juice blend complete the breakfast cuisine. Guests from around the world enjoy the many topics of conversation during the nostalgic and peaceful breakfast hour.
About Our Accommodations
The beautifully restored interior combines the original finely detailed oak, cherry, pear and birds-eye maple woodwork with period brass light fixtures, ornate ceiling medallions and Bradbury & Bradbury wall coverings.
Beautifully furnished with fine antiques, Persian rugs and other elegant appointments, the Grand Anne offers our guests the perfect getaway to a more simple and elegant era.
The extensive main floor common areas of the mansion have been maintained according to their original design for the use of our guests, so the bedchambers are found on the second and third floors.
Each bedchamber features attached private bath, queen-size bed, cable television and DVD player. Telephone and refrigerator are available in one of the main floor parlors
Free wireless internet service is provided to all our guests. A four-course gourmet breakfast is served in the dining room each morning. Gift Certificates are available throughout the year.
While in the area, you may also consider a stay at our sister inn, the Nauvoo Grand-A Bed & Breakfast Inn. This turn-of-the-century two-story brick home has been restored to its original splendor on an acre of ground surrounded by the vineyards and orchards of Illinois' oldest winery in Nauvoo, a gorgeous twenty-minute drive along the Mississippi from the Grand Anne.
Reception Hall and Grand Staircase
The reception hall and grand staircase as seen when you first enter the inn with view through to the music room and adjoining side porch.
The Grand Anne's main parlour features a turret sitting area, fireplace with apple wood mantel and pear wood mouldings. The bird's-eye maple parlour with view through the reception hall and grand staircase to the dining room.
The magnificent dining room where a sumptuous four-course breakfast is served each morning.
Music Room/Library and Second Floor Guest Office
The music room and library which has access out to the side porch overlooking the lawns and formal gardens.
Third Floor Billiard and Game Room
Attention To Detail
Eagle Appreciation Days
Enjoying one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles, Keokuk celebrates the third weekend in January with staffed observation areas, spotting scopes, hourly seminars featuring live bald eagles, lectures, exhibits, films and other special events.
Civil War Reenactment
Named Iowa's Tourism Event of the Year four times and also named one of the top 100 Events in the United States, Keokuk's award-winning reenactment of the Civil War's Battle of Pea Ridge is held annually the last full weekend in April. Events are held six blocks from the Grand Anne in Rand Park and include a band concert, tea and style show, military ball, pancake breakfast, memorial and church service, campfires and two battle reenactments. Free of charge.
City of Christmas
Rand Park also plays host to over 100,000 lights and 100 displays by local artist and volunteers. Approximately 30,000 vehicles pass through the park each December to view the spectacle which is free of charge.
Lock & Dam 19 & Hydroelectric Plant
The hydroelectric plant, lock and dam on the treacherous Des Moines Rapids were an engineering marvel when constructed in 1913. The lock was replaced in 1957 by the 1200 foot structure seen today. Visitors can watch boats lock through 24 hours a day and tour the hydroelectric plant.
George M. Verity Museum
The Verity, one of the first steamboats to move barges on the Mississippi, is open (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) daily Memorial Day through Labor day and Friday through Sunday during April, May, September and October.
Samuel F. Miller House Museum
Open Friday through Sunday (1-4 p.m.) from Memorial Day through Labor Day or by appointment, the museum provides the opportunity to see the elegant home a Supreme Court Justice appointed by Abraham Lincoln.
This 1920's opera house in downtown Keokuk has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur and is used for live entertainment, conventions and other events. Tours are available; call 319-524-5599.
The largest historic preservation site in the Midwest, this small American village offers more than 20 restored homes and businesses from the 1840's along with a magnificent Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reconstructed in 2000-2001 as a replica of the original which overlooks the historic area. Rudy Maxa ("The Savvy Traveler") has referred to Nauvoo as one of America's best kept secrets and has described the setting as follows:
"Today, this richly restored community is still filled with beautiful brick homes surrounded by white picket fences, sitting on enormous, immaculately shorn lawns. The interiors of the homes are exactly as they were in the mid 1800's-complete with antique furnishings, clothing, place settings and utensils. Guides, dressed in authentic period costumes, give informative tours about the lives and times of the settlement's residents."
Additionally, a large Visitor's Center and adjoining memorial gardens are available along with several live musical productions. All of the historic sites and theater productions are free of charge.
How to Find Us
Keokuk is easily accessible via Highways 61, 218 and 136, 170 miles northwest of St. Louis and 266 miles southwest of Chicago:
- Once in Keokuk, follow Highway 61 Business Route/Main Street into downtown Keokuk
- Turn East onto North Fourth Street
- Fourth Street bends sharply to the left at the top of the hill
- At the first stop sign, turn right onto Grand Avenue and proceed four blocks to 816 on the West side of the street
- Please pull down the driveway to the gravel parking area