We left on Friday right after H got home from work and we had a lovely and easy drive to SE Minnesota. Descending from Preston into the deep valley where the charming town rests was almost like driving backward into time. You got this feeling you were going somewhere that time has forgot. We got into Lanesboro and found our B&B, Habberstad House, a truly gorgeous 1897 Queen Anne home that has been lovingly restored down to the smallest detail. We didn’t get in until a little after 6:30, so we were too late for the cheese and wine party, but they brought us glasses of wine to enjoy as soon as we were in our room. The Scandinavian room was just beautiful. We had this marvelous balcony overlooking the gardens and the water fountain. You could smell the sweet scent of magnolia from two trees in the garden below. We sipped our wine on the balcony and then left for dinner. We chose a place called The Vintage and we had the most marvelous meal we’ve had in a while. We each had salads, and H had the paté (he said it was as good as any he had in France) while I had the spring pea bisque. We each had the pork loin chops, and we finished with dessert. We ordered a not-too-sweet Austrian Riesling and all that food and the bottle of wine came to $98, which just floored us. Afterward, we headed back to the B&B and noticed there were ominous clouds to the south and lots of lightning. We had a stormy evening from there on out, but we slept in that lovely bed with the softest cotton sheets I’ve ever felt and drifted off to the sound of rain on the rooftop, which was something delicious to hear.
We got up on Saturday and I took a long soak in the Jacuzzi whirpool tub. We went downstairs and I took my knitting with me since breakfast wouldn’t be ready until 8:30. We just enjoyed our coffee in the period parlors and met all the other house guests as they came down. It was a charming and diverse group of people – three professor friends from UW/Madison, an elderly couple from Chicago also doing the art tour, and another couple from the Twin Cities, very friendly, just there to get away for a while. We had apple dutch baby pancakes, and a fresh fruit salad with yogurt, and fresh banana bread served with a warm butter sauce, and fresh juice and coffee and it was quite the splendid set up. And the hosts of the B&B were a really friendly, outgoing couple originally from the Twin Cities.
We took off after breakfast and started the art tour (see the brochure) in Lanesboro where several of the venues were, then made our way along the Root River (which is apparently a lot like the topography of Norway) to Houston, then on to Caledonia, Spring Grove, New Albin (Iowa), and finally ending up in Decorah at Seed Savers for our garden transplants. We bought some pottery along the way and I hope to get some good pictures for you. I didn’t take any pictures on the trip – to be honest, I didn’t want to do anything except take it all in. And the weather was gray and icky, but we both really enjoy just riding through the countryside seeing new little towns, discovering places we haven’t been before. We left Decorah about 5 on Saturday and ended up back in town by 8:00, but it felt like we had been gone much longer than that. Beulah was so happy to see us both she just cried and cried when we got to H’s parents’ house.
We spent yesterday just laying around. The knitting muse hit me over the head a little after breakfast, and I spent a good part of the afternoon adding some Scandinavian color work patterns into the front of the sweater I am making for Harald. Oh, it did come out looking a treat. I can’t wait to finish the front. Maybe this week. And it rained off and on all day yesterday, water our gardens and lawns desperately needed, so we just stayed in and didn’t do anything. I did make a chicken and mushroom risotto recipe with a nice salad for dinner, and that was just right on a cold and wet day.
When I got on the elevator at the office this morning, it felt like I hadn’t been at work for a very long time, even though it was just a normal weekend. I guess that means we had a really good time getting away. All in all, I would say it was just what the doctor ordered. And we love Lanesboro. We plan to go back, maybe as early as June for a shorter day trip. It’s only 30 minutes south of Rochester, so it’s completely doable. And we are definitely going back in the fall when the leaves are changing. And we are also planning to go back to Spring Grove, which we discovered on Saturday. Ironically, there was a story in the Sunday travel section of the newspaper all about Spring Grove and how it was the first Norwegian settlement in what is now Minnesota. And we got great plants at Seed Savers. And Mom is getting better and has really seemed to turn the corner and has started eating again and sounding much more like her old self. So, today it’s all good ….