Frank Lloyd Wright in Mason City

Months and months and months ago, I read about a hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright reopening in Mason City. This delighted me for a number of reasons. Some of them follow: Frank Lloyd Wright (duh), Mason City isn’t far away, it’s a hotel (I’ll take any excuse to travel), it looked fancy, and it’s the only remaining hotel designed by that master architect. Thankfully, my mother’s favorite singer, Wynonna Judd, was coming to Mason City for a show, so we stayed at the Historic Park Inn. Good idea, isn’t it.?

So, after work, we hopped in the car and started driving. You know what I hate? Cars. They’re uncomfortable. I don’t even like riding in them to work and that only takes ten minutes. I feel cramped and unhappy. So, imagine my delight when I was in the car for a little over two hours. One was not amused. I did eat fried cheese along the way, so that was a momentary reprieve from my woe. I eat more cheese than is good for me. When I eventually go vegan, I’m going to be pissed all of the time. Then, once I get over my cheese issue, I’m sure I’ll be happy, but getting there will NOT be pretty.

Finally we arrived at the Historic Park Inn. It was attached to a mall. I was delighted. Then I went to the mall and walked right out. It made the Southridge Mall look like a well-stocked, highly varied shopping center. If you’ve been to the Southridge Mall, you’ll understand just how lame this mall in Mason City was.

On the other hand, the hotel was lovely. It was darker and more oppressive than I thought it would feel, though, which seemed odd, seeing as how Frank loved open floor plans. The lobby was obviously an example of his love of space compression, my hair brushed the ceiling.

We were on the top floor, which I always prefer. When I’m in a building, I have a natural tendency to rush to the top. I like being high up among the clouds, probably because I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. Someday I’ll get my pilot’s license and I’ll fly to work each day, that’ll be more fun than riding in a minivan. I wonder if my workplace will put in a runway? Why not?

Very comfortable bed, I approved. Gorgeous room, I would like an apartment in this style.

Every mirror is an opportunity to appreciate just how beautiful you are.

The windows opened easily. I like a hotel that lets a person easily commit suicide if they should choose to do so.

The view was reason alone to commit suicide. I mean, really? I heard a hundred good things about the lovely views of the park and I get this shit? At least the sun set soon and my eyes didn’t have to ache all night.

Penny tiles in the bathroom. Yes.

Then Ma left for her concert and I roamed around looking like an elegant waif. I like to think I did anyway. My cavernous stomach growled so loudly that it reverberated around the lounge, so I hurried over to the restaurant, called the 1910 Grillé. I didn’t understand the name. Grillé is French for either grid or grilled in the past tense. I think they were probably just going for a fancy variation on grill. I think I’m probably the only person who gets annoyed at things like this.

The restaurant was reservation only, but there was room at the bar for me, so I slid onto a stool and ordered a cocktail. I asked for something citrusy and the bartender made me a drink called an X-Rated Martini. I should have asked for the recipe, cause that thing was freaking delicious.

If I lived in Mason City, I’d probably get slizzered on these each weekend. Truly excellent.

For my main dish, I ordered the mushroom risotto and a lovely fresh baked flatbread.

This did not photograph well, but tasted lovely. I’ve made risotto several times at home, but haven’t been impressed enough with the end results to take the time it takes to cook. Risotto is a rather labor intensive dish and I don’t have time to spend 30 minutes in front of the stove stirring vegetable stock into arborio rice. I need to waste my time online. If I were able to calculate the amount of time I’ve spent online in my life wasting time, I’d probably hate myself. I kind of hate myself just thinking about it. Will I stop? Never. The Internet is such a wonderful world of delightful variety and excitement. Think of all the things you can easily learn with the Internet that we couldn’t do in the past. I love the future!

I asked if there was a chocolate dessert, and there was! I was already well filled, but who am I to deny myself chocolate? Yes, I eventually want a perfect body, but I’m also well aware that I will probably die some time in the far distant future, so why deny myself? I actually don’t plan on dying for hundreds of years. I’m convinced that by the time I’m aging, science will probably be able to keep me going until I’m tired of life. I can’t imagine being tired of life, but old people seem to get bored. Probably because their bodies are weak and their money is being poured into a stinky nursing home. If I ever move into a nursing home, I’m pulling my own plug. No thank you.

I am not a fan of strawberries. In fact, I regularly tell people that I don’t like them. Perhaps I was wrong? They were delicious in this! I never knew. I’m not going to walk around munching on strawberries now, but I’ll probably buy some fraises des bois seeds. I have long been intrigued by those tiny, wild strawberries. My Martha made the most gorgeous cupcakes on her show Martha Bakes. Best cooking show ever, by the way.

The bill wasn’t as high as I’d expected and cheerfully, I set off to explore the rest of the hotel.

I loved the glass in these doors. So, so, so pretty.

And the ceilings! Gasp!

The bathroom mirrors had televisions built into them! I didn’t really understand why, aside from cool factor. You couldn’t watch them from the urinals, so what’s the point? I’ve long been curious about mirrored televisions, though, because in general, televisions aren’t chic. I want to frame my television and disguise it as a lovely mirror.

Digital player piano on the bridge.

The Lady’s Lounge is where breakfast was served. Lackluster breakfast, though.

A lovely spot to read a book, preferably something in the Amelia Peabody series (read them) on the second floor.

Rather chic Ralph Lauren shoes on some rather chic carpet. Generally, I hate carpet. It’s an ugly dirt collector. I’d much rather have lovely hardwood floors, preferably in a herringbone pattern. There’s nothing better than herringbone.

A lovely balcony to look at the park. There was a little festival going on, it was lame. People weren’t very chic in Mason City.

The meeting room was called the Law Library. It was very pretty. I wanted to have a meeting.

Here’s a glimpse of the hotel’s exterior and a picture of my future ride. I love the idea of riding around in a limousine. Obligatory Dolly Parton break:

Let’s have another, shall we?

I’m not religious at all, but this song gives me life! That gospel choir does things to me.

Want to burst into spontaneous, unstoppable tears?

Ok, enough Dolly for now. (There’s never enough Dolly, by the way.)

Ma came back from her concert and we went out to Perkins for a late dinner. I was still stuffed from earlier, so I just had a slice of lemon meringue pie. It was effing huge. I could only eat half. Now that I make my own lemon tarts, I can hardly stand the taste of commercial lemon pies. That might be why I only ate half. Being a professionally trained pastry chef makes life so hard. (Underhanded brag.)

I stood in the shower for a good long time and then went to bed.

Next morning, we checked out early and then went out on the town.

That festival was still going on, even though it was freezing. IT WAS SO COLD. I had dressed all cute, but then it was flipping cold. I had to wear big ugly gloves just to stay alive.

The peasants in the park kept looking at us, I don’t know why. There was a John Dillinger robbery recreation…which I had no interest in seeing. We were making our way to the Bumbleberry Bakery for breakfast.

Along the way…I can barely speak about it. Along the way…I saw the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It looked like it was transplanted straight from the French Quarter. I’m still dying over it. Prepare yourself.

If I could ever own something like this, I would be so happy with my life. I wouldn’t want anything more out of life. I would every day walk with a smile. I would never think poorly of humanity again. Every day would be the best day of my life. I can’t wait to find my dream building. (My dream building is actually currently being stolen from me. Le sigh…that’s my tragic life.)

We soon arrived at the Bumbleberry Bakery, which was very easy to miss–no signs. That’s just stupid. The first rule of business is to advertise. I was not impressed at all when I walked inside. It isn’t pretty.

I am not into kitschy things at all. I’m not into plastic covered tables. I’m not into dropped ceiling tiles. And I’m not into fake plants. But the people were lovely and the breakfast we had was decent. I had an omelette, that I swear was made with a dozen eggs. It was alright. The hash browns were really good. They were red potatoes that were freshly grated. Yum. For dessert, I had one of their cupcakes. I usually hate cupcakes, but these looked beautiful.

Many flavors looked good, but I went with the pink champagne. I love pink champagne, so elegant, reminds me of An Affair to Remember. Someday a handsome stranger will buy me a glass of pink champagne…preferably on a transatlantic cruise.

It was a great cupcake, too. The frosting was delicious. Simple buttercream, but the best buttercream I’ve had in a long time. If I go back, I’ll have the orange, the chocolate mint, and the chocolate. I’m going to be fat someday.

On the way back to the car, this gorgeous thing started barking at me. I want it.

Next we went and looked at another Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, the Stockman House. It was very pretty. We didn’t go on the tour, but from what I’ve seen online, it looks much more welcoming than the Historic Park Inn.

I didn’t take pictures for the rest of the day, but I had a great time!

First we went out to eat at a place called Pita Pit. I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t expect a wonderland of culinary delights! It’s not a four star restaurant or anything, it’s a chain restaurant, it’s like Subway–BUT BETTER! Instead of traditional bread, you get pita, and instead of boring toppings, you get everything! I had the most delicious falafel made with spinach, baba ghanoush, black beans, feta, tomato, sprouts, onion, tahini, black beans, and a number of other things I can’t recall. It was heavenly. They also had that new drink machine that has hundreds of combinations. Such fun. I was so happy to find out that there are Pita Pits in Ankeny and Ames! I need a frequent diner card.

After this, we went to Farm & Fleet. I wasn’t excited at first. I proceeded to be blown away by the enormous variety of goods for sale. We barely scratched the surface and I shopped ’til I (metaphorically) dropped. I bought the chicest heater! I know! It’s a flat panel that mounts on the wall. It’s so discreet, it blends right into the decor. I currently have it sitting on a base, but I’m going to work on hanging it on the wall. I’m so excited. I get unreasonably excited by heating. I’m always frozen. In August, I’m shivering.

I also bought bags of potting soil and rooting hormone and embroidery patterns, and other things I can’t recall.

Next up was Staples where I got myself a new hard drive. It’s so cute and little when compared to my old one, which is dying. I also bought a few things made by Martha Stewart. She makes the most gorgeous things. I love her.

Finally, we went to Target, which was like the biggest/nicest Target ever. I never wanted to leave. I bought tons of clothes and had the time of my life. Mason City is fun for shopping. I got the nicest sunglasses on clearance. I was loving myself sick.

Then it was time to go home. We stopped and saw a friend’s massive new house. I was jealous of all the space she has to store things.

We left, stopped in Boone for some Mexican food (and cranberry margaritas) and then finally back home.

Lovely trip.

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