Saturday was our 33rd anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it has been that long. I found an old journal while cleaning out my nightstand last night and read some of what I was thinking about back in 1984. We had been married only 9 years then. It was so cool to remember life with small kids and that I loved my husband just as much then as I do now. We sure were in a different place back then! We couldn’t have taken off for a weekend like we just did without much more planning. The Compadre made the reservations for the Jailhouse Inn last week. It was sort of a well if they have an opening then that’s what we’ll do kind of thing. They usually are booked solid for months out. Must have been the economy, the time of year, or gas prices but as long as we were willing to switch rooms between Friday and Saturday they had room at the Inn. We’ve gone there many times and it’s our favorite B & B. It’s also the first one that we ever stayed at. It’s the standard by which we measure all other B & B’s. Wonderful rooms, great historical place (the old Filmore County Courthouse), friendly hosts, fabulous gourmet breakfast, and lots to do in the area. What more could you ask?
The Compadre wondered what we would do for the weekend because I’m not bicycling anymore. The Jailhouse Inn is located in Preston Minnesota right by the Root River bicycle trail. It’s by our estimation the most scenic of the trails in Minnesota. Every other time we’ve gone there we’ve had bicycling as our main activity. So we were going to see what someone who doesn’t bike would do in the Lanesboro/Preston area.
We checked into the Inn on Friday night and then went to our favorite restaurant in Preston – The Branding Iron. Mmmm, good food. The chef cooks on the grill right out in the dining area and while enjoying our food we could see miles and miles of bluff country hills from the window. After dinner, our hostess at the Inn provided us with a bottle of wine and we sat by the fireplace in our room.
Moving right along to Saturday. We drove to Lanesboro after a great breakfast at the Inn. Lanesboro is sort of tourist central for the Root River trail. There are gift shops, restaurants, and more B & B’s. We zeroed in on the Scenic Valley Winery because I wanted to buy a case of their raspberry wine. Unfortunately they were out of it but they did have many others we could try and so we did. And of course we came home with a case of wine – just not the kind we had expected to. We got some that I liked and some that the Compadre liked. Good times to come!
I had noticed when we passed the bike rental place (Little River General Store) that they had side by side tandems for rent. Maybe we could bike on the trail after all! The Compadre had been thinking that we could inquire about canoeing on the river but water and I don’t get along very well unless it’s in bathtub with lots of bubbles. Anyway – turns out that the recumbent side by side tandem was just what we wanted (I want my very own now!). I could pedal only when I wanted and the Compadre did most of the work. That kept me and my knees very happy. You have to understand that the Compadre is a very strong bicyclist and he didn’t mind one bit. Only one of many reasons I love the man! We had a blast biking from Lanesboro to Preston – about 22 miles round trip. We chose to go that direction because it’s the part with the bluffs and we think it’s the prettiest. By the way, in a pinch, I could knit while riding this bike! That is if I got bored with the scenery or anything
We got back just in time for lunch at Das Wurst House, where we listened to the polka music and ate our bratwurst. There were 5 kinds of mustard on the table to choose from! Mmmm, sauerkraut and mustard.
We left Lanesboro and I didn’t even subject the Compadre to any of the many gift shops! But we did have a special destination in mind. I’ve shopped in Harmony, Minnesota for Amish made furniture for years. I’ve been looking for a new nightstand for a long time and thought that R & J Woodgoods might have something that would fit in my very tight spot. And they did!! I am able to get rid of yet another of our early married hand me down pieces of furniture and now I have a “real” nightstand. With some drawers that will hold some stuff!! We packrats need storage.
Next stop while in Harmony is always Austin’s Mohair! Jim and Ada Austin raise Angora goats and Baby Doll Sheep and have a very purple shop where they sell everything you can imagine made from mohair. Since I now have the spinning bug as well as the knitting bug I had to buy fiber while I was there - two different reds that I’m going to spin and ply together. Red is a color that I don’t usually gravitate to but these reds are something else. They’re a mixture of mohair, wool, alpaca and a little bit of sparkle. I’m anxious to see how it spins up! The Compadre spent the time while I was fiber shopping taking pictures of purple tractors and goats and little sheep.
After we left Austin’s Mohair we drove around the gravel roads in the area looking for the little shops that the Amish have for their handcrafts. We had been on an Amish tour before so since the Compadre has a map of everywhere he’s been in his head, I knew that we’d find some of the places we’d been to on the tour. I was looking specifically for another birdhouse like one I had bought for my Aunt Ann. It was fun to stop at the Amish farms and talk to the people. We bought jam, eggs, cantaloupe, squash, and potatoes but didn’t see the birdhouse that I had in mind. We saw many baskets made in a similar manner and we asked at one farm where to find a birdhouse. We went there and the friendly man and his daughter gave the Compadre directions to yet another farm where we did find my birdhouse. The Amish are interesting people. It’s hard for me to imagine living the way they do, it must be a hard life.
At the Inn our luggage had been switched to our new room. This room had a king size bed and a porch instead of the fireplace. We decided to be unoriginal for dinner and we went to the Branding Iron again. The hostess remembered us from the night before and seated us right at the window. Saturday is prime rib night – need I say more? We had enough left over to take home and make another meal (we were able to put it in the freezer at the Inn). Sunday morning we had another wonderful breakfast and we stayed as late as we could to enjoy the atmosphere of the Inn. We enjoyed talking with our hosts Marc and Jeanne before we left and they directed us to a place where the trail intersected a road and we were able to park our car and hike up the part of the trail that climbs up to Harmony. I took a picture of cows looking very suspiciously at me. Good thing there was a fence between us!
Thanks for the suggestions for what to do. You’ll see that we did take part of several of them. We had a marvelous time.