Friday, June 26, 2009

Mini Vacation

Wednesday, after I delivered Meals on Wheels, my husband and I took off for a mini vacation of 2 1/2 days. The only agenda we had was to go to Mary Lou's Yarn Shop in Mankato and to go to New Ulm. From there, we were just going to wing it-going to small towns and see what was there. I hadn't been to Mary Lou's since they moved from St Peter, so was amazed to see how much brighter and spacier the new shop was. Of course, I did have to buy some things! This is a sugar cane yarn made by Araucania. The colors remind me of cotton candy.

Aren't these felted slippers cute? I couldn't resist!
We arrived in New Ulm just in time to see and hear the Glockenspiel. It chimes every hour, but 3 times a day plays a program of pieces about 5 minutes long and has a stage that projects to reveal 12 three-foot animated figurines that depict the development and history of the city. Of course we had to see the Hermann the German monument, but I didn't take a picture.Something must have been wrong with me!
Driving down the main street we passed this beautiful old house which happened to have a bed and breakfast sign in front. When it came time to find a place to stay we decided to take a chance they had an opening for the night. They did! What a beautiful home! It is a restored Queen Ann, built in 1895 and is on the National Registry of Historical Places. Much of the original architecture remains the same as it did a century ago, including the grand staircase, brick turret, solid wood floors, and ornate woodwork. The entry has hand painted art by Anton Gag, a local artist. Our room was Maggie's Room which was a turret room. (This stay crossed another item off my "bucket list"- a stay in a B&B in an old restored home.) We arrived in time for happy hour and were served wine and appetizers in the parlor, visiting with the hostess and host who were a delightful couple.Our dinner that night was a disappointment. Wanting to have a German meal we opted for the downtown restaurant rather than the one in the Holiday Inn-a poor choice. The food was mediocre at best. After dinner we sat on the white wicker swing on the front porch, watching traffic while I knit. In the morning about an hour before breakfast, we had a tray with hot water and tea outside our door-the tray was complete with a flower in a vase. I sat in the turret and drank my tea. Breakfast!!! Started out with a mimosa, then into the beautiful dining room where we were served a freshly baked scone with butter and jam and the most beautiful fruit bowl I've ever seen. Wish I'd brought my camera to breakfast. The banana had a small peel peeled back, secured with a toothpick with grapes and then filled with assorted fresh fruit, topped with whipped cream and dribbled with chocolate! The plate was also decorated with dribbles of chocolate. That would have been more than I usually eat for breakfast, but that was cleared away and we were served a plate-beautiful china pattern-with quiche, sausage patty and hash brown potatoes with a crunchy cereal topping. It was hard to say good bye to that luxury.Worth every penny! You can check their website for more pictures.

My husband has always liked children's books, so has been volunteering at the Children's Library at the U of MN for several years. When we started doing some research on things to do in New Ulm he was delighted to see that the childhood home of Wanda Gag, author and illustrator of several children's books was there and could be toured. Our hostess at the B&B called and made arrangement for us to tour. Wanda's most famous book is Millions of Cats is a fun read and is still being printed. The house and tour were fascinating.The exterior of the house has been repainted to the seven different colors that Anton Gag selected, highlighting the seven different window shapes. Inside, the seven rooms have been restored to the original colors and decorative designs. In that house, Anton Gag lived with his wife and seven children.

I did consent to go into an antique store with my husband so he could look for additions to his collection of old sheet music. Thanks to me,(he and the clerk walked through the store and didn't see any, so against my better judgment I pointed out a box they hadn't seen) he did get some. He then tolerated a tour of the Schell Brewery which was interesting and of course ended with beer tasting. The tour was OK, and I did learn something I'd been wondering about-the Grain Belt Brewery in St Paul had closed, but the beer was still on the market and I could never figure that out. The Schell Brewery now brews it.The brewery is in a beautiful wooded area and had beautiful gardens, complete with peacocks.

Leaving New Ulm, we drove to Redwood Falls, and didn't see the Tourist Bureau or Chamber of Commerce so continued on to Granite Falls and had no better luck, but did see a nice War Memorial in front of their court house.

After this we went to Willmar looking for a place I had eaten at many years ago, but did not find it, so headed home a day early, stopping at a fun typical small town diner in Litchfield. Had a good dinner with Bridgeman ice cream for dessert. What could be a better way to end a beautiful, peaceful drive through southern Minnesota?

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At 6:58 AM, Blogger Mary said...

Millions of Cats is one of my favorite childrens' book--I didn't know about Wanda Gag's family background. Thank you so much for the tour of New Ulm!


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