German For a Day: A Sunday in New Ulm, MN

Awhile back I did an article on the Top Ten Coolest Towns in Minnesota, with New Ulm, MN being the number 2 pick.  A recent trip there a couple weekends ago just confirms this ranking. Although our trip there was limited to one day, it was enough time to see the remarkable beauty and unique aesthetics of this heavily-German town. We started out the day with a drive around town admiring the architecture of the houses and commercial buildings near the downtown area.  It’s absolutely incredible seeing blocks and blocks of interesting and beautiful houses that people call home everyday. Below are several examples. 2013-10-20 11.08.42 HDR2013-10-20 11.08.55
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After making the rounds we checked out The Way of the Cross, which is Catholic statuary and shrines that depict the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Built into a hillside back in 1901, it ends with a pretty little chapel in a picturesque setting. 2013-10-29 12.35.26
After that, we headed downtown to walk around a little and grab some lunch at one of the German restaurants called the Kaiserhoff. The German food, beer, and sauerkraut balls appetizer were all absolutely fantastic.

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The Glockenspiel is a major landmark in downtown New Ulm. It’s one of the world’s few free-standing carillon clock towers, and at noon, 3pm, and 5pm each day, a small door in the lower half of the tower opens and the Glockenspiel’s 12 animated figures rotate while the bells chime out a tune.

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After taking in the Glockenspiel experience, we headed up to the Schell Brewery, the second-oldest family owned brewery in America. They are the makers of the Schell Beer products as well as Minnesota’s classic “Grain Belt Premium.” The tour was fun and interesting, and the brewery grounds are beautiful. It is typical to see peacocks wandering around the gardens and driveways. The Schell mansion was impressive and the museum was informative.  The sample room was great as expected.

 Schell Mansion:2013-10-20 15.03.17 HDRThe original brewery building:

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And the museum:

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After the Brewery tour we drove briefly into Flandrau State Park and looked around, and then back into New Ulm to explore a bit more. Flandrau seemed nice but we didn’t have a ton of time for hiking and the weather was starting to turn, so we pressed on.

We checked out the architecture at Martin Luther College:

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As well as Hermann the German, (which I have covered before here):

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The colorful Wanda Gag House (Gag was an author from New Ulm):

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And the home of John Lind, a former lawyer and MN congressman:

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And the last but not least was the stunningly beautiful Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church.  The resident priest was able to turn the lights on and let us snap a few pictures of the detail of the altar and sanctuary artwork.  It was absolutely incredible.

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Had we had a little more time, it would have been fun to explore the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame (below);

2013-10-20 15.55.42 HDR-1Or the Brown County Historical Musuem:

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But we were able to check out the Harkin Store on our way out of town, a general store in the ghost town of West Newton, dating back to 1870, that was left untouched when the town was abandoned over 100 years ago.  It is now run by the Minnesota Historical Society, and many of the original items are still on the shelves. 2013-10-20 16.30.56New Ulm is a place we will be returning to, maybe next time for one of their German festivals, or maybe to do some camping, or maybe just on a whim again. Regardless, New Ulm retains its position as the 2nd coolest town in Minnesota. If you haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is New Ulm, you are missing out on something truly special.

2 thoughts on “German For a Day: A Sunday in New Ulm, MN

  1. Excellent trip review. We liked New Ulm so much we had our destination wedding there. Only in that town can you fire off a cannon to announce the wedding and have the New Ulm High School Marching Band escort you from the church to the reception at Turner Halle. Great community.

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