For a change, the road has brought me to a place I know very well: Denison, IA. I’ve passed through this town on numerous occasions as I’ve traveled to and from Fort Dodge and Eagle Grove to visit my best friend. This small town actually has a touch of celebrity about it as it is the birthplace of the actress, Donna Reed.
This time my purpose in Denison was to visit the Providence Inn, owned and operated by Duane and Kristy Zenk. As I drove on the street where the inn was located, I looked in vain for a sign pointing out the inn. I thought I recognized the inn on my first pass, but blithely passed it when I couldn’t see the sign. On my third go around, a helpful woman on the porch began waving me down. I pulled into the driveway and sheepishly asked, “Is this Providence Inn?” Upon confirmation, I grabbed my laptop and backpack and was welcomed into the inn by Kristy.
The first thing I noticed is that this house is deceptively long. Kristy led me through the labyrinthine second floor to my room, the Chestnut Suite, which was located at the end of the hall.
The suite had a simplistic elegance about it and the soft green paint on the walls really seemed to induce relaxation. After settling in, I set about exploring the inn.
After my exploration of the premises, the rumbling in my stomach told me it was time for a little dinner. I made my way to Cronk’s, a local restaurant at the edge of town where I’ve enjoyed many a meal over the years.
The restaurant was surprisingly empty for a Friday night. I opted for the Chef’s Special Ribeye dinner. While I enjoyed the salad course, I read my novel and overheard a rather humorous conversation between an elderly gent and his son about the quality and types of various ribs.
When the waitress set down my meal, I was surprised by the quality of the cut of meat I had received. I’ve been to gourmet steakhouses that didn’t serve a steak this well cooked. Grilled and seasoned to perfection, I savored every blissful mouthful and marveled that I was only paying $14.95 for this meal. If you pass through this town, stop here for a meal. You will not be disappointed.
After supper, I wandered through the business district and saw the famed Donna Reed Performing Arts Center. I wished a play had been going on so I could have had to chance to explore the inside (and write a review). I later discovered that the center only mounts 4 productions a year, but does have various theatre workshops during the year.
Once I had wandered about enough, I returned to the inn and the confines of my room where I enjoyed a hot bath and spent the evening studying David Mamet’s American Buffalo for a possible audition at the Blue Barn in a few weeks’ time. Once I was good and sleepy, I drifted off to the land of nod.
I had forgotten my fan which I use for white noise to help me sleep, but nature provided nicely when I awoke to a powerful thunderstorm during the night. As I listened to the heavy raindrops splatter against the windowpane, I felt an immense sense of peace and security as sleep gained a proper hold on me.
When I awoke the next morning, I was ready for a rousing breakfast. I walked downstairs to the dining room and found a pitcher of orange juice and a small dish of fruit waiting for me. While I munched on bananas, grapes, and strawberries, Kristy brought out a blueberry crepe stuffed with cream with a side dish of sausage links.
I contentedly munched away as I talked with Kristy about my project, website, and theatre endeavors. After a half hour of food and talk, I made my way back up to my room.
Denison really is a small gem of a town and this inn is truly a gem of the town. If you find yourselves here, you won’t go wrong by getting a room at Providence Inn and exploring some of the sights of this little town.