This winter I when was doing a cooking class for a travel blogger group in Charles City, Iowa. The first night we were staying at the lovely Red Cedar Lodge, getting to know each other, eating treats that would make any foodie jealous, laughing A LOT and having a little too much wine when one of the bloggers, Theresa Goodrich, author of of “Two Lane Gems, Vols 1 & 2” asked if I was interested in checking out the art display at the local library the next day. I said sure and didn’t think too much about it again — we were having WAY too much fun in this cozy cabin!
The next day we had an inspiring tour at the Carrie Chapman Catt museum (who deserves her own blog) and enjoyed a wonderful time sauntering around downtown, shopping, eating, drinking fabulous coffee, and more laughing. But that is also another blog…
As the time approached for us to head back to the cabin and start our cooking class, Theresa asked again who wanted to head to the library to check out their art collection. I was kind of surprised she was so interested in a small town collection since she was from Chicago and so close to tons of wonderful art, but she touted it, so I was in.
A few of our afternoon stops…
Theresa was so compelling the rest of the group decided to come too, so we all jumped into Katy’s SUV and headed to the library. It pretty standard small town looking library building from the outside, but built with an impressive view of the river. I was not prepared for what I found inside — I was completely shocked !!! This unassuming city library owned an incredible art collection. Not only did the collection feature the works of classical artists such as Dali, Picasso, Rembrandt, Matisse and Goya. OMG — THEY HAD NOT JUST ONE BUT TWO CHAGALLS…AND I adore them. It always takes me back to one of my favorite movies, “Notting Hill”, set in England, where a beautiful Marc Chagall painting turns into an important part of the story.
A little preview…
The Mooney Collection Story…
I love, love, love the story of how this amazing collection ended up in a small town in Iowa. An orphan from Illinois, ends up in Charles City living with a photographer at the age of 8 years old — wow in 1859. This orphan does well, goes to Art College in Minneapolis, MN and eventually becomes a successful executive of the Eastman-Kodak Company. He is very successful and becomes an art collector — with REALLY, REALLY GOOD TASTE IN ART ….
Arthur Mooney, in his old age and upon his death in 1941, leaves the remainder of his art library and print collection to the Charles City Library. It wasn’t until 2000 that the library was able to build a permanent home for the collection. Prior to that many items were loaned out and toured the US.
READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE: https://www.charles-city.lib.ia.us/artgal
Perfect evening in the perfect place…
After our packed fun-filled day, coming back to our cozy cabins for naps, and regrouping was perfect. Nothing is quite as welcoming as toasty fire dancing in the fireplace, a comfortable chair and a book waiting for you to get lost in….
Refreshed from our rests, we topped off our brilliant winter day activities with new and old friends cooking, eating, and sharing a glass of wine together. It was lovely.
I found new meaning in something that Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” said “If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your own backyard, maybe you never really lost it at all.” Don’t forget to look in your backyard for special treasures.
Keep it simple and enjoy!
“Laughter is brightest in the place where food is.” – Irish Proverb
Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Red Cedar Lodge and Charles City. As always, opinions are 100% my own.