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.
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.
“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
Kent Park campgrounds
2048 US-6, Oxford
Campus Recreation and Wellness Center
309 S Madison St, Iowa City — recserv.uiowa.edu
“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 — muddyfeetyoga.com
“She is very knowledgeable and encouraging.
— Amanda B.
Q&A with winner Megan Robertson
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 — backtogethermassage.com
“LOVE the craniosacral therapy!
“They are uniquely attentive to client concerns and will prioritize client collaboration and comfort.
Best Home Away From Home
312 E Market St, Iowa City
Best LGBTQ Hangout
13 S Linn St, Iowa City — sthirteen.com
Best Place to Read a Book
Prairie Lights Books
15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City — prairielights.com
Best Place to People-Watch
Downtown Iowa City
“From the window in ICPL that overlooks the Ped Mall.
“Especially on weekend nights when people are “silly.”
— Emma V.B.
“I love to draw the many faces I find there!!!
— Jeff A.
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 — emmagoldman.com
“I go there for all my birth control needs and always feel so safe and comfortable.
— Marissa D.
Best Mental Health Services Provider
University of Iowa Health Care
Iowa City — uihc.org
“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 — builtbycommunity.org
“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.