Sunday, June 23, 2019

Rugby, ND

Well, it was a fun little trip to Rugby, ND, today! I felt very centered at the geographical center of North America. A word of advice - on the day of your road trip, check Google to see if your destinations are open. We wanted to stop in Anamoose for breakfast - but both options were closed on Sundays! Next time...

Prairie Village Museum was excellent - besides the old houses and schools, we visited a jail, summer kitchen, bank, land office, church, undertakers' quarters, and an old doctors sled.

Just yesterday my father-in-law was teaching me about farm life; how the windmill pumped water and how he helped make sausage.

The rhubarb tasting was super yummy! Don't worry - I did NOT eat the rhubarb leaves! I learned they were poisonous from the rhubarb fact sheet. One ticket per taste. We sampled ice cream, slush, mousse, brownies, bars, crisp, cheesecake, etc. Visiting with a few lovely ladies who had grown up in Rugby and Towner was a bonus! What fun to listen to their stories!

Pics of the beautiful drive along County Roads 14, 83, 19, and 3.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Hebron, ND - Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway

Small towns need our help! People move away and don’t come back. If you don’t want small towns to die, go visit them. Play tourist… visit their museums, general stores, cafés, dive bars, etc. Spend a few dollars to support the economy in a small town and keep it alive! We have decided to explore towns along the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway… and Hebron, ND is along this route.

Hebron, ND
After we walked in to the Wagon Wheel Café, we realized we were the only ones there at 9:30 AM. I think if we were in a bigger town, the place would have been much busier. Dark wood paneling, Cowboy/Cowgirl signs on the bathrooms, wagon wheel light fixtures met our eyes as we entered.

We ordered eggs, bacon, and toast - which was perfect... and Biscuits and gravy – this item is a hit or miss at other restaurants – and at the Wagon Wheel it was a hit! The gravy wasn’t overly greasy or salty, which is sometimes the case. A few minutes after we had ordered at least four other people arrived for breakfast. See, this is why small towns need us!

After breakfast, we drove to Fort Sauerkraut. One of the benefits of visiting towns along Old Red Old Ten is that this is a scenic byway, with Talking Trail markers. Visitors dial a phone number and extension and listen to a narration about the historic site. What a great way to learn!

We had seen a sign advertising Fort Sauerkraut t-shirts at the Cenex gas station, so we popped in to check them out. While we were talking to the staff, one of the customers told us, “you should call my dad – he will give you a tour at the Hebron Historical Museum.” Well, we took his advice and his father agreed to meet us at the museum.

Spending time with 97-year-old Henry was the highlight of our day! He told us his story, from life on the dairy farm (he had to wake up at 2 AM to feed the cows so they had time to digest the food and the milk wouldn’t taste like what they ate!) to his retirement working as an integral part of the organization of the Hebron Historical Society and its artifacts. Henry spent at least an hour traipsing around the rooms with us, up and down stairs. I enjoyed learning about his Victory 5 family band (Henry played saxophone) and all the artists in his family.
As we were leaving, he told us we should stop to he see is friend Robin, the potter. So on our way out of town, we stopped at Dakota Clayworks. We spent another very pleasant half hour learning the story of Hebron's town potter. Originally from Minot, ND, she spent time in Montana and Washington, learning techniques she eventually brought home to North Dakota. I purchased a clay necklace essential oil infuser and several clay magnets!

We are already planning our return trip to visit the Hebron Brick Factory (for a tour) and the Dark Side of the Brew
(for coffee!), which aren’t open on the weekends.
Other pics from the trip:

Forgot to mention - the Wagon Wheel Café is for sale.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Zumbrota, MN

Driving south on HWY 52? Check out Zumbrota, MN. What, you ask, is there to do in Zumbrota? Explore the charming downtown business district, grab a bite to eat, visit an art gallery, AND check out their claim to fame!

Zumbrota Covered Bridge - Minnesota's Only Remaining Covered Bridge

  • Claim to fame - Zumbrota boasts the only remaining covered bridge in Minnesota, spanning the Zumbro River at Covered Bridge Park, just a few blocks from the business district, right next to the Zumbrota Public Library.

The bridge even has a festival named after it - Zumbrota Covered Bridge Music & Arts Festival, which takes place the third weekend in June every year.

Sit down to eat at the Coffee Mill Restaurant. We had a tasty breakfast AND pie, yum! One of the slices of "pie" was bread pudding made from cinnamon rolls.

Crossings at Carnegie art gallery and shop, located in the former Carnegie Library, was our second stop. OMG... you need to go there... Why? Well they display new art exhibits every few months, hold art classes AND have a fabulous gift shop. They also host live music weekly.

The best part about visiting small towns is meeting the locals. Everyone we met in Zumbrota was friendly - from the staff at the Coffee Mill Café, to the barista at Bridget's Café, the owner of Wild Ginger Boutique, and the staff at Crossings at Carnegie. Through our visit at Crossings, we discovered that three of the local businesses are women owned - Wild Ginger Boutique, Luya Shoes, and the Crossings at Carnegie.

Two hours was definitely not enough time to experience all Zumbrota has to offer, so we will be back to spend more time downtown and at the Covered Bridge Park.   

Thursday, May 10, 2018

100 Mile Garage Sale!

When you hear the words garage sale, do your ears perk up? If so, then this is the day trip for you! The 100 Mile Garage Sale is a yearly pastime for many. Families and communities hold garage sales in neighborhoods along the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin. This may become a yearly event for us!

We started out driving through Prescott, WI on the Wisconsin Great River Road HWY 35 South.

Hager City, WI

Best sign!

First stop: Hager City - which wins the prize for best sign! We had planned to get on the road before 7 AM so we would get to garage sales as early as possible... because the early bird gets the worm. It's cliche, but that was true for us. I found a few nice tank tops for 25 cents each at the second garage sale and a pair of designer jeans for $5 at the third sale. At the fourth sale we found a set of six beautiful glass martini glasses for $4. We almost left without them, but the women running the garage sale wouldn't let us leave without the glasses. Thank goodness... they are beautiful and we have already used them once.

We went to several garage sales in Hager City. All were off the main highway, which turned out to be positive as these sales were not as heavily attended.

Bay City, WI

We came across several more garage sales and a few flea markets in Bay City. Browsing the treasures was super fun… but we were getting hungry. We also needed gas, so Ted filled the tank up and I had a few more minutes of amusement!  

Maiden Rock, WI
We had been wanting to return and eat breakfast at Ole’s since we had stopped there during the 2017 Stockholm Art Fair. It was worth the wait. Plus it was nice to see the owner again. The corned beef hash with hollandaise sauce, and plain old eggs and bacon were delicious! We sat at the bar… always a great place to meet the locals… and sat next to a few young men who stopped for breakfast while fishing. Well, we ended up visiting, and after playing a few of the dice games at the bar, they bought us a beer (but Ole's also has regular and iced coffees if you like)! While we were waiting for our food, the biscuits were made from scratch right in front of our eyes. Next time we pass through, I will have to try the biscuits and gravy!

After breakfast, we walked up the road to a few garage sales, the sidewalks are narrow and the traffic was picking up so we were careful!

After browsing at a few more shops, I stopped at the Smiling Pelican Bakeshop as I had been wanting to visit for a while. White paneling and crown molding, charming front deck, pretty bakery case and the smell and sight of fresh baked bread… what more could you want? OMG… if you like focaccia… please try their Sour Cream & Green Onion Focaccia… so tasty!

Stockholm, WI

We stopped at the Stockholm Pie & General Store… I just needed a pie stop! This time there was no line, even though it was midday and many people were about, there was only one person ahead of me. We grabbed a couple of pie cookies (pie crust with Blueberry and Nutella filling in the shape of a cookie) but choosing the slice of pie was a really difficult… we had tasted Triple Berry before, and that was delicious, but I wanted to try something new. The woman behind me clinched it when she recommended the Peanut Butter Fudge. Mmmm… we just sat in the park and ate our slice (we shared). It was rich… but tasty… creamy, with a flaky crust and chopped nuts on top.

Pepin, WI

More garage sales! This is where we found the glass lamp, brown sugar teddy bear stone, teddy bear book, and teddy bears. I was not on the hunt for stuffed animals, I promise… but the sellers were just giving them away. I made the mistake of saying how cute they were… and they insisted I take two bears… for free!

Look how high the water is!

After this garage sale we continued down the road toward Nelson to cross the river to MN HWY 61.

Lake City, MN

Crossing the Mississippi River
Stopped at a few garage sales in the outskirts of Lake City. By mid afternoon, the sales were pretty crowded so we just visited a few, but I found a chopper and a bowl that says Good Kitty (for Hops, our cat)!

Red Wing, MN

By the time we were heading into Red Wing, we were sleepy and ready to go home. We could not have been tempted by a single sign… or so we thought! The hand painted sign with two of our favorite words changed my mind… “We have to pull over, there’s an art fair!”

We were grumbling about where to park, when a nice couple who were leaving rolled their window down to let us know there was parking at the top of the hill. (We made sure to pass the message on when we left!)

So, we made it to the top of the hill and wow… Round Barn Farm - what a lovely view… the red-brick, white trimmed country manor home and the white round barn are amazing! If you have a chance to visit, please do!

Another wonderful surprise… live music! We browsed the art fair, had a chai tea latte (for the pick me up) happened to be there to hear the Saint Paul Mudsteppers, a group who plays country blues. Check out their website here.

View of the bluffs from HWY 61

Words of wisdom…

When you go… learn from our mistakes! I had been planning to browse the sales online, but it was a bit overwhelming, so I only looked up a few. Next year I will search the first town we are driving through for the garage sales that are open at 7:30. We drove straight through Prescott and stopped at our first garage sale at 7:40ish, but it wasn't open yet! Consult the website! Another thing we might do differently next year… start on the Minnesota side. Our plan involves eating breakfast early and bringing lunch. This year we stopped for breakfast during peak morning hours of the garage sale. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we spent at least an hour and a half before heading out again... but that was part of the experience... meeting people along the way!

Here's what we scored for around $20...

Rugby, ND

Well, it was a fun little trip to Rugby, ND, today! I felt very centered at the geographical center of North America. A word of advice - o...