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Back from Wabasha by Ann Treacy
March 28, 2011, 12:43 am
Filed under: SE Minnesota

We wound our way home slowly after our quick trip from Wabasha. Wabasha is where Grumpy Old Men is supposed to have been filmed. Turns out that more happened around Wabasha than in Wabasha – but there are still fun Grumpy Old Men stuff. I got a few pictures.

We also stopped by Read’s Landing on the way home, which is a fun place to see eagles. They aren’t as up close as in Wabasha, in that we didn’t have binoculars, nor were there eagle handlers bring them to us. But it was cool. It’s always fun to see an eagle in the wild.

We had lunch at the St James Hotel in Red Wing.

Preston by Ann Treacy
October 18, 2008, 10:58 pm
Filed under: SE Minnesota

We’re on the way home now but here’s our vacation in a nutshell, minus the posts I’ve already done.

We drove down 52 on Thursday and stopped for lunch in Chatfield and headed to Preston. We stayed at a hotel in Preston because it was the only place I could find with a swimming pool. And now after driving around there for 3 days, I’m still sure that it was the only place with a swimming pool. We went swimming every day we were there. I have to say a swimming pool was something we really missed traveling in Ireland. A pool can take the edge off a rainy day and helps to make up for the dramatic increase in calories due to vacation mode.

We had dinner Thursday at a supper club in Preston. It was pretty good although I have to say it’s the first time I’ve ever had deep fried scallops. Luckily they were pretty good if you just peeled off the deep fry batter.

Friday night we went bowling. Lily rocked! She scored 130 on the first game. Patrick won the second game but the night really goes to Lily.

Lanesboro by Ann Treacy
October 18, 2008, 10:57 pm
Filed under: SE Minnesota

On Saturday we stopped in Lanesboro for a quick tour and lunch. Lanesboro must be the official or unofficial cycling capital of Minnesota. It is the center of tons of bike paths. We saw people off all ages on or near their bikes.

We took a trolley tour of the area. Lanesboro was settled around 1865 by some folks from NY. The goal apparently was to create a vacation spot for New Yorkers; but it’s a long way from NY to MN so it didn’t work out well – until about 100 years later when they started building the bike trails.

We stopped at the Lanesboro fish hatchery; it’s one of eight in the state. We had never been to a hatchery. It’s kind of cool – especially since we recently saw a movie about the Great lakes and sturgeon. This hatchery bred rainbow trout and brown trout. They can keep the rainbow trout outside but not the brown trout as they get sunburned. We fed the tiny fish in the ponds. I took a video, I hope it works out; I have never seen so many fish in one place.

It was amazing to see how big they rainbow trout get in three years; that’s when they release the fish to northern lakes.

In the trolley we got to tour the area and to see a survey of the local B&Bs. There are tons of them. We also saw a waterfall. Energy is created from the waterfall. There is also an ethanol plant in Preston and wind turbines nearby – so the tour guide pointed out that they were in good shape. There is clearly a focus in the area environmentally friendly behavior and alterantive energy. It was good to see.

We had lunch at the start of the bike trails and headed back home.

Niagara Caves by Ann Treacy
October 17, 2008, 9:24 pm
Filed under: SE Minnesota

It’s MEA and we’ve decided to go to Southeastern Minnesota. Our neighbors came here a few weeks ago and loved it. We had planned to go somewhere so here we are.

The main reason we came was to see the Niagara Cave. It is one of the top 10 caves in the US. It’s cool. It’s just outside Harmony Minnesota, which has an Amish community. (You can tour the Amish community but that felt a little voyeuristic, so we just took pictures from afar like regular stalkers.)

Anyway back to the cave. It was discovered in 1924. A farmer lost a few pigs. They were eventually found in one of the first chambers of the cave. A couple of years later spelunkers came to take a closer look and eventually open the cave to the public. At its deepest point, it’s 150 feet below the ground.

We took a guided tour of the cave; I think that’s the only way you can visit it. It’s pretty well lit, for a cave. The tour guide offered to turn off the lights but the other (smarter, kinder) mom on the tour thought that would be too scary. I was disappointed.

The tour is about an hour. You climb a lot of stairs and walk through some pretty tights walkways. We saw the wedding chapel, where they have had 400 weddings. Apparently there are still a half a dozen or so a year. There’s an underground waterfall. There are a bunch of fossils, which are very cool. We saw the stalactites and stalagmites.

We saw huge stalactites; the tour guide guessed that they were a million years old. He was funny and clearly had grown up around the cave. He told us that while no one had ever been lost in the cave his brother had been stuck – twice.

Last June there was flooding in the area and apparently much of the cave was filled with water. They pumped much of it out. The guide said there were climbing around and that it was pretty cool when they suddenly noticed that the lights were on , which meant obviously that the electricity was one – so they hightailed it out of there.

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