Best of the CRANDIC 2019: Health & Recreation

The results are in! Browse the winners of Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards in the Health & Recreation category, representing voters’ favorite outdoor destinations, care providers and outreach organizations in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area.

Best Place to Experience Nature

Macbride Nature Recreation Area

2095 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, Solon

Not only can you meet some raptors up close and personal, but you can enjoy several trails right on the lake!

— Kaitlin S.

David Conrads, the associate director of outdoor recreation and education with University of Iowa Recreational Service, holds gyrfalcon Zorro of the Iowa Raptor Project. — Zak Neumann/Little Village


City Park, Iowa City

“I’ve always loved being by water. I’ve spent many hours sitting by the river, recharging my spiritual battery.”

— Harold S.

Hickory Hill Park

“This place packs a lot into a small space: forest, fields, wetlands and streams, all within a stone’s throw of downtown Iowa City. It’s my go-to spot for birdwatching.”

— Michael Z.

Indian Creek Nature Center

“Such a rad organization and a true taste of Iowa beauty.”

— Sam C.

Lowe Park

“Marion’s best-kept secret.”

— Sydney B.

Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center

“The kind and loving Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have successfully put a conservation on the 70 acres of woodland and prairie that has evaded development as Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha have grown together.”

— August S.

Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

“Paths, water and more! Just a short drive from downtown.”

— Jenni H.

Best Bike Trail

Cedar Valley Nature Trail

It’s a great hard-surfaced trail created from a railroad bed, so people of all ages can ride.

— Janet F.

Best Picnic Spot

Macbride Nature Recreation Area

2095 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, Solon

Best Campground

Kent Park campgrounds

2048 US-6, Oxford

Best Gym

Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

309 S Madison St, Iowa City —

The UI Rec center is head and shoulders above everywhere else locally for its broad variety of available activities, and quality and amount of equipment. Now, if it just weren’t for the college kids using it all the time…

— Nick K.


Jazzercise, Iowa City

“Zero meat-market atmosphere, ALWAYS supportive and ridiculously fun.”

— Angela L.

Orangetheory Fitness, Cedar Rapids

“Motivating coaches, friendly members and a great atmosphere to get fit!”

— Emily E.

Best Fitness Instructor

Megan Robertson, Muddy Feet Yoga

1705 S 1st Ave, Iowa City —

She is very knowledgeable and encouraging.

— Amanda B.

Q&A with winner Megan Robertson
Megan Robertson — courtesy of Muddy Feet Yoga

Shortly after becoming a certified yoga instructor in 2013, Megan Robertson began leading outdoor yoga retreats under the name Muddy Feet Yoga. That enterprise became a studio in October 2018, when Robertson purchased the space in which she was trained as a teacher, Shala Hot Yoga (formerly Zenergi), and reopened it as Muddy Feet. Co-owned and -operated by Robertson and Emily Uhl, the studio offers daily hot yoga classes as well as 200-hour teacher trainings.

Why did you decide to go from a yogi to a yoga instructor? I’ve been doing yoga since 2001. I always wanted to be a yoga instructor, but I never thought I was good enough; I thought I had to be super fit and only drink green smoothies and green tea. There was just this sort of inherent barrier between yoga teacher and yoga student that I thought I would never get past. And then one day the lady that built this yoga studio [Lisa Scaglione] said I should take yoga teacher training. “It’s just in your bones,” is what she said. I signed up the next day. I just needed someone, apparently, to tell me I was good enough.

It’s called “Muddy Feet Yoga,” but it’s obviously very clean in here! What was Muddy Feet before it was a studio? It was a mobile yoga business where I did yoga retreats, [with activities like] camping or river tubing. Basically, we’d get down and dirty outside and do yoga together. The idea behind that was “come as you are, it doesn’t matter if you’re dirty, it doesn’t matter if we get dirty.” Yoga in its roots isn’t a super clean, super fancy, super rich sort of classist thing. Yoga is for everybody, can be done anywhere, despite the cleanliness of your feet.

Do you think the studio retains some of that spirit from before? One hundred percent. It’s in the people. We keep it clean because it’s sort of a sacred space, and people put their faces on the floor. But people definitely come as they are with all of their emotional stuff, their mental stuff. They’re welcome and they know it, and they welcome each other. It’s noncompetitive, it’s nonjudgmental. The big thing about this place is the community and the love that everybody has for each other. It’s so cute!

There are a lot of great yoga instructors in the area. What does it mean to you to know people identified you as the best around? It means that they see me and my intention for what it really is. They see that it’s more than making money and being cool and having a key to a yoga studio. It really is about spreading peace and love.

I’m eternally humbled that we’re able to pull it off. I put everything that I have into it, and so does Emily. To be recognized in that way by the members, just by them showing up and coming back and trusting us with their care, their wellness — I’d say “thank you.”

Best Massage Therapist

Jamie Nevins, Back Together Massage

1700 S 1st Ave Suite 11, Iowa City —

LOVE the craniosacral therapy!

— A.T.

They are uniquely attentive to client concerns and will prioritize client collaboration and comfort.

— A.O.

Jamie Nevins — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Best Home Away From Home

George’s Buffet

312 E Market St, Iowa City

George’s Buffet — Bill Adams

Best LGBTQ Hangout

Studio 13

13 S Linn St, Iowa City —

Best Place to Read a Book

Prairie Lights Books

15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City —

Best Place to People-Watch

Downtown Iowa City

From the window in ICPL that overlooks the Ped Mall.

— C.M.W.

Especially on weekend nights when people are “silly.”

— Emma V.B.

I love to draw the many faces I find there!!!

— Jeff A.

Dancers at Sunset Salsa on the Ped Mall, June 8, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village


New Bohemia Neighborhood

“Walking the area, sitting on a patio, enjoying an event. I like people-watching in NewBo.”

— John W.

Most Trusted Physician

Dr. Katie Imborek, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Kind, professional, inclusive and knowledgeable!

— Lisa-Ann J.


Dr. Bradley Beer, MercyCare Blairs Ferry

“He takes time to explain and answer questions. He is very thorough.”

— Jan F.

Dr. Jason Powers, UIHC

“Best. Doctor. On. The. Planet.”

— Amelia K.

Dr. Kelly Skelly, UIHC

“She has been my doctor for more than 15 years and I am in great shape!”

— Diana K.L.

Best Women’s Health Clinic

Emma Goldman Clinic

227 N Dubuque St, Iowa City —

I go there for all my birth control needs and always feel so safe and comfortable.

— Marissa D.

Emma Goldman Clinic Co-Director Francine Thompson gives a speech at a pro-choice rally on the UI Pentacrest. Friday, May 17, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Best Mental Health Services Provider

University of Iowa Health Care

Iowa City —

I’ve been with [Lynda Green, ARNP] for a decade and she’s gotten me through the absolute worst and held my hope for me while I was incapable of thinking about a future. She’s the best. Hands down.

— Jamie H.


Counseling and Health Center

“Excellent counselors in a charming old house near Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.”

— Tyler S.

Psychiatric Associates, North Liberty

“They have three therapy dogs and they’re all the sweetest. Plus one of them is named Tonks after the Harry Potter character!!”

— Rhiannon M.

Best Crisis Management Service/Organization


1121 S Gilbert St, Iowa City —

If you call them in a crisis they will send social workers to your HOUSE within 45 minutes. So awesome.

— Meaghan H.

Excellent and expansive service provision with investment in collaborating with community partners to address the needs and conditions in order to improve well-being.

— Lindsey K.

Zak Neumann/Little Village

See who else won!

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