Ye Old Mill at the Minnesota State Fair

millThe Great Minnesota Get-Together, running for 12 days each summer culminating on Labor Day, is the largest state fair in the country with the exception of Texas, whose fair goes a few days longer.  Set in Falcon Heights, (a “suburb” of St. Paul), the fair is massive, swelling with people, and a rite of passage for any true Minnesotan. Most go for the endless, gut-busting fried food-on-a-stick options, the people watching, or maybe to take in a concert. But among the countless traditions, the one that stands out among them all is Ye Old Mill. Continue reading

Lark Toys, Kellogg, MN

Lark

As so many stories do, this one starts with a small hobby that grew into something amazing.  Two teachers, a husband and wife named Donn and Sarah Kreofsky, began making handmade wooden toys for their children in their spare time back in the early 1980’s and began selling them at arts and crafts fairs shortly thereafter. They eventually got their line of toys, named “Lark Toys” into some 2,500 stores nationwide.  Due to demand they set up a retail store in 1988 at the Minnesota factory where they were manufacturing just south of Wabasha. Over the course of the next decade, Donn began work on the largest toy he could think of: a handmade carousel showcasing his woodcarving talent. Continue reading

Niagara Cave, Harmony, MN

IMG_3236 I have had Niagara Cave in my sights for many years, knowing it was without a doubt a Minnesota “bucket list” thing that I had to see.  Niagara Cave is located only a couple minutes from the Iowa border in southeastern Minnesota near the small town of Harmony.  The cave, which is privately owned, sits in the middle of rolling farmland just outside of the popular and picturesque bluff country. It gets its name due to a 60′ waterfall right inside the cave, a highlight of the tour. Continue reading

Mosquitos Attack! The Big Bugs of Minnesota

Perpetually referred to as the “State Bird of Minnesota,” the pesky, blood-sucking pest known as the mosquito is one of the very few drawbacks of the short-lived summer season in Minnesota.  They come out with a vengeance at dusk for about an hour or two every night and really never truly leave you alone, even after layers of stinky OFF! repellent.  Yes, the mosquito is a nuisance, but Minnesota has embraced the bothersome insect in the best way we know how – by creating numerous statues depicting our least favorite pest.

215452_816363738655_6729745_n Continue reading