I just spent what can only be described as quite possibly one of the most perfect weekends of my life, thus far. I'm racking my brain trying to think of a weekend that has felt more "right" and I just can't. I think this was one of those rare life moments where everything comes together to create contentment. A perfect blend of good food, friendly strangers, physical and mental activity, and a person to travel with that makes you happy.
David and I spent the weekend in Lanesboro, MN and thereabouts. We loaded up our bikes, and in my case, way too much other stuff and headed out of town. How is it that I can pack so light for a 10 day trip to Ireland, but when I head 2 hours south, I pack as though I am leaving home for an indefinite period of time?
We arrived in Lanesboro in the rain. We ducked in to the Pedal Pushers Cafe where we had the coffee and pie special for $1.99. Chocolate cream pie. Yum! I drew this lovely picture. If you look closely, you will see that the person in the middle is lamenting that there are not enough trees drawn for him to hide behind.
This is about as crafty as I got all weekend. Well, this and winding one skein of Malabrigo into a ball.
We wandered around a bit and then headed over to the Scandinavian Inn, the bed and breakfast we called home for two days. I can't imagine staying anywhere else in Lanesboro. Peter and Vicki, the innkeepers, were so friendly and hospitable. The breakfast was the best I think I have ever had. Our room was lovely. All in all, a wonderful place to stay. Do check it out if you ever visit Lanesboro.
Friday night we headed to the Vintage for dinner. I'd read about the Vintage and was excited to try this restaurant that has their own garden next door.
I started off with the beet salad, and the greens had that just plucked from the garden taste. What a difference from the lettuce in a bag I usually have! The Beef Tenderloin I had was amazing. A perfect amount of char on the outside, perfectly medium-rare on the inside. It came with baby summer squash that was tender and full of flavor. After dessert and coffee, we ambled back to our B&B for a game of cribbage (yes, we are dorks).
Saturday morning we woke up and enjoyed our coffee and tea delivered via dumbwaiter! Yes! A dumbwaiter. What a nice touch!
About an hour later, our breakfast started to arrive. Imagine my delight when I opened the dumbwaiter and saw all this fruit waiting for me.
The first bite of peach was like a little explosion of flavor, juicy and sweet. Lemon bread and chocolate chocolate chip muffins accompanied the fruit, as well as rommegrot (Norwegian cream pudding). We packed up the carbs to take on the bike trail with us.
The dumbwaiter arrived again with more food. By this point, I was giddy with excitement. I may have even jumped up and clapped my hands together. Waiting inside the dumbwaiter was an amazing meal. Oven-baked cinnamon pecan french toast with real maple syrup; shirred eggs with Jarlsberg cheese, dried tomatoes, and toasted onions; and free-range sausage links. It was a perfect mix of sweet and savory dishes. The sausage is from Hilltop Pastures Family Farm in nearby Harmony, MN. Not only was the food delicious, but it was beautiful. We enjoyed breakfast in the sunshine on the balcony just off our room. I can't think of a better way to start the day.
All this food left us well prepared for our 30 mile bike ride up and down the Root River Trail.
We biked from Lanesboro to Peterson. We perused all the history at the Peterson Station Museum while John Erickson shared some of the history of Peterson with us. He was very knowledgeable and a delight to talk with. We then had chili dogs at the little shop across the street before we headed back to Lanesboro. We stopped at the Aroma Pie Shoppe in Whalan for pie and ice cream. This is a must-stop if you ever plan to be in the area. It's right on the bike trail and you can eat your pie as you watch bikers zip by.
Biking 30 miles was hard work. I'm looking forward to doing it again, but Saturday night I was ready to just sit somewhere and relax. To that end, we bought tickets to see The Odd Couple at the Commonweal Theater. Lanesboro may be a small town, but they have a wonderful theater company. I'm looking forward to getting back to this part of the state soon.
By the time the play was over, I was eagerly anticipating Sunday morning breakfast. I was not disappointed. The dumbwaiter delivered up a fresh fruit salad of tasty pears and melon, with a sprig of mint. The raspberry muffins were melt in your mouth moist, with fresh raspberries that provided tang and sweetness. There was also cornbread with jam that was delicious.
The main meal was a Persian omelet (chard, spinach, parsley, walnuts, pine nuts, feta cheese), oven backed potatoes (so good!), and broiled ham. Even though our plans to eat on the balcony were thwarted by a bee, I could not have been happier.
After breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to the Scandinavian Inn. I really hope we'll get a chance to go back. I think it was one of my most enjoyable lodging experiences ever (right up there with the cottage in Ireland).
We drove through a few more of the towns on the Root River Trail and then headed to Miesville for a baseball game.
The Miesville Mudhens are an amateur league team, and what a great time we had. It was fan appreciation day, and we got two brats, a beer, and a soda for under $6. Soda was only 50 cents! You'll never see that at a major league game! The game got exciting in the 8th inning when one of the Mudhens hit a grand slam which ultimately won the game.
So, yes...it was a wonderful weekend, combining many of my favorite things: baseball, culture, exercise, really good food. True...there was no yarn (other than one skein of Malabrigo in my bag), but that was o.k. I've got plenty at home.