Enjoy the Holiday Season in Lanesboro

Holiday Sing a Long in Downtown LanesboroDowntown Lanesboro is decorated for Christmas.  We might get some snow soon to get us in the holiday spirit.  Snow or no snow, there are fun reasons to visit Lanesboro in December.

The Commonweal Theatre presents – “The Christmas Carol”  The Commonweal’s unique adaptation  of Dickens’ holiday classic returns.  A miserly, covetous old sinner is given one last chance at redemption through the visit of three Christmas spirits.  Will he see the error of his ways in time to save his soul?

St. Mane Theatre EVENTS:
Saturday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

“Have Yourself a Halfway Decent Christmas” with Butch Thompson & Stephanie Ann Stephens, soprano This concert will feature sacred and profane songs — like “Lest the Winter Come Too Soon” and “A Simple Wish: To Be Rich, Famous & Powerful” and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”.  Sing-alongs, too, like “Deck the Halls” and “Winter Wonderland”.

Widely known for his 12-year stint as house pianist on public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, where the Butch Thompson Trio was the house band, Butch Thompson continues on the show as a frequent guest.  Stephanie Ann Stephens is a native of Omaha, NE and currently resides in Pepin, WI. She studied and performed in New York for many years, and for the past 17 years she has been an Artist in Resident with the Red Wing Elementary Public School system while continuing to perform concert and cabaret programs.

Tickets are $12 / $10 LAC member, available in advance at Lanesboro Arts Center, 507-467-2446, or at the door.  The St. Mane Theatre, at 206 Parkway Ave N., is handicapped accessible.

Christmas Sing-a-long with Dan Choinard

Friday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.
The Annual Holiday Sing-Along with Dan Chouinard & Friends
A sing-along treat for all with our favorite sing-along leader, Dan Chouinard. Dan will host the evening, with his fantastic piano and accordion playing, and his gentle spirit and genuine appreciation for sharing stories with the audience.  He will bring along special guest Beth Gilleland, actor, playwright, and longtime company member of Dudley Riggs Brave New Workshop (Minneapolis).  The evening will also feature local talent including the Bethlehem Boyz, the Rutabaga Brothers, the Rhubarb Sisters, Accordionation (duo of Barb Keith & Bill Swanson), the Lanesboro High School Carolers, Walter Bradley & Tom Schramm, and our favorite whistler Carla Noack.  Come share your holiday spirit with Dan and everyone!

Tickets: Free-will donations (suggested minimum donation $10), in support of the St. Mane Theatre.  Advance purchase recommended; available at LAC 507-467-2446, and at the door as available.

Can you smell the bread baking?  Guests who stay at the Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B awaken to  a  basket of just-baked bread delivered to their room.  Call us at 800 697-9902 to make a reservation.

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Deer Hunting Widows – Girl’s Weekend in Lanesboro Nov. 2-4

Girls just wanna have fun!  While the hunters are away, the girls will play.   Deer hunting opens November 3rd … do we need a better reason to celebrate?  We think not. GETFRESH Girl’s Weekend is a place where kindred female spirits can come to unwind, kick back and get refreshed in the stunning surroundings of Lanesboro, Minnesota. This little slice of heaven is one of the best kept secrets in Minnesota. You will understand when you drive down the hill, cross the bridge and enter this quaint little community. All your troubles will melt away and make room for nothing but smiles!

Deer Hunting Widow - Girls Weekend

Fun Shops in Downtown Lanesboro

A sample of fun activities includes:
Friday Nov. 2,
5 – 8 PM:
Enjoy the jazz sounds of Debbie Bigelow and Dean Kleven live.  Food tasting provided by Gracie’s Pantry.
6-9 PM: Paint your own pottery class at Potiche Pottery.
Saturday Nov. 3:
8 – 9 AM: Yoga at Coffee Street Fitness
9:30 – 10:30: Annie Sloan Painting Demo
11:30 – 2:30: Fashion Show with clothing, jewelry and accessories from Lanesboro retailers (includes lunch).


Sunday Nov. 4
9 – 10 AM: Pilates at Coffee Street Fitness
10:30 – 11:30: Annie Sloan Painting Demo
1:30 – 3:30: The Drawer Boy at the Commonweal Theatre – a heartwarming story of relationships and commitment.

Girls Weekend Deer Hunting WidowsClick the logo to the left for a more complete schedule of events.  Proceeds from this Girl’s Weekend will benefit Family & Children’s Center in Winona –  the largest private provider of human services in Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota. Family & Children’s Center serves individuals of all ages with a continuum of evidence-based services to meet specific community needs.

Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B is one of the sponsors for this event.  We will donate 10% of room rentals to the Family & Children’s Center for those women attending the event.  We’re ready to pamper you with just-baked home made bread delivered to your room each morning.  A hearty breakfast follows in our dining room.  Join us for the GETFRESH Girl’s Weekend.


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Four New Lanesboro Restaurants for 2012

With the early arrival of spring the 2012 visitor season in Lanesboro is off to great start.  This year there are four new restaurants to tingle your taste buds after a busy day out doors.

Lanesboro MN restaurants in downtown

Downtown Lanesboro Welcomes You

First, and the most unique restaurant,  is the Spud Boy Lunch. Gordon and Val Tindale have completed 4 years restoring this 12 seat diner car as a marvelous addition to downtown Lanesboro.  The Tindales serve classic diner fare for breakfast and lunch. The waffles are light and crispy and are served with real maple syrup.

Across the street is Another Time Ice Cream Parlor & Chocolates Formerly the Picnic Basket, Ron and Kathy Kasten have provided a new landmark to downtown with a bright pick exterior.  The Kastens continue to serve Minnesota’s very own Bridgeman’s ice cream along with Caribou coffee, truffles and chocolate pretzels.

Further north on Parkway adjacent to the Commonweal Theatre is Intermission. Intermission offer casual fine dining. Menu items change weekly including pastas, steaks and seafood. Open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays for dessert after the theatre.

The last new restaurant is Smokey River Barbeque.  Chef Bret Stecher from the Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe has opened a very casual barbeque joint with locally smoked ribs, beef, chicken and turkey.  Just follow your nose down the alley behind the Lanesboro Feed Supply at the north end of downtown.

Smokey River Barbeque and Intermission are open on weekends.  The Spud Boy Lunch and Another Time Ice Cream Parlor and Chocolates are open seven days a week.

Of course the Commonweal Theatre offers two great plays in repertory all summer: “The 39 Steps” by Patrick Barlow, and “The Philadelphia Story” by Philip Barry.  Guests who stay at the Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B are eligible for discount tickets to all theatre performances.

Join us for a great summer outdoors in Lanesboro.

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Ski Lanesboro MN by Candle Light

Lanesboro looks good in snow.  We received a fresh covering in the past week that has transformed the Root River valley into a winter wonderland.  The Root River Trail is groomed for cross country skiing for over 20 miles.  There are also two great snowshoe trails nearby.

MN cross country ski | winter getaway

Downtown Lanesboro ------------- Root River Trail Groomed for Skiing

Schedule your two night winter getaway at the Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B through the end of March and receive a complementary soup supper with dessert served in our dining room (a $22 value).  Through February we are offering a “snow guarantee” – make your reservation now – if there is no snow for skiing when you come, you can either cancel your reservation with no penalty or receive a $20/night discount for your stay.  You can check trail conditions at: http://www.lanesboro.com/lanesboro-rootrivertrail.php

We’re ready to help you with your winter getaway.  Cedar Valley Resort rents cross country skis and snow shoes.  Enjoy a horse drawn sleigh rides in the bluff tops. Savor a couples massage at the Prana Healing Center.  Chef Brett from the Pastry Shoppe has his smoker going on weekends at the “Smoky River Barbeque”.  It is a quaint joint near the river that has received rave reviews.

In February Lanesboro begins to wake up from its winter hibernation.

Feb 4: 20th Annual Whalen Candle Light Ski – The Root River Trail is lit with candles for a mile with bonfires at both ends.

Feb 4: Flamenco, Pure and Strong at the St. Mane Theatre, with dancer Deborah Elias and guest singer Vicente Griego - feature raw, soul-baring solos, lustrous and spirited company dances and driving guitar rhythms.

Feb 4: Dinner on the Bluff Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center hosts dinner and and a presentation by Gene Merriam, of the Freshwater Society sharing the status of the protection, enhancement and restoration of our freshwater resources.  Dinner menu include: strawberry-orange salad, roasted red pepper & tomato soup, trout, wild rice stuffing, roasted asparagus and cheesecake with assorted fruit topping.

Feb 10 7PMOver the Back Fence – locals call this Lanesboro’s version of A Prairie Home Companion, An hour and a half of fun entertainment plus 30 minutes of pre-show live music.

Feb 10, 11, 14, 17, 18 The Old Village Hall features a special four course dinner with optional wine pairings to share with your special Valentine.

Feb 27, 28: Lanesboro Community Theatre presents: “Moon Over Buffalo”-up It’s 1953 and a washed up acting duo, George & Charlotte Hay, are touring New York.. BUFFALO, New York.  They just one shot at leading roles in a film by THE Frank Capra, and he’s coming to see today’s matinee!  Everything goes wrong – with hilarious results!  This plan is nothing less than a love letter to live theatre.

All of our guests awaken to a just-baked loaf of home-made bread delivered to their room – followed by a hearty breakfast.  Our rooms are large and comfortable.  Curl up in a warm blanket with a good book in front of the fire place to create your personal winter retreat.


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Lanesboro Holiday Inn Tour Nov. 19 – 20

The popular Lanesboro Holiday Inn Tour is coming soon, and this year it comes with a special twist.

Lanesboro Bed and Breakfast Inn Tour

Lanesboro Inn Decorated for Christmas

The Tour welcomes people to visit the Bed & Breakfasts and inns that have made Lanesboro the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.  This year the Tour will happen over two days: November 19th and 20th.   Six inns will be open on Saturday November 19th, and six more on Sunday the 20th.  Each will be decorated for the holidays and will offer a warm welcome to their special homes.  The Old Village Hall Restaurant & Pub will also be serving Amuse Bouche (bite-sized appetizers) to all tour ticket holders as part of the tour.  Visit the inn tour web site to see the inns participating in the tour.   The times of the tour each day are 2-6 p.m.

Tickets purchased in advance are $20 for a one-day visit, $35 for two days. Guests who are staying at any of the sponsoring inns that weekend will receive half-price inn tour tickets.

Enjoy the charm of Lanesboro and the beauty of the decorated B & Bs as a way to beginChristmas B&B Tour your holiday festivities. For more  information, call 800-944-2670 or 507-467-2696.   Advanced tickets—which are limited—can be purchased online at or in-person at the Lanesboro Visitor Center in downtown Lanesboro.  Advanced ticket purchase is recommended.  Tickets purchased on the day of the tour are $30 for one day and $45 for two days.

Make your visit to Lanesboro complete by dining downtown and attending the holiday play “Parfumerie” at the Commonweal Theatre.  See you at the 3rd Lanesboro Holiday Inn Tour!


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Enjoy the Fall Colors in South East MN

Cool, crisp nights are upon us and the maples are starting to show their fall colors in South East Minnesota.  It looks like colors should peak around Oct 8-15 and we could get 3 good weeks of color in October.  It is time for you to book a fall foliage tour to Lanesboro.

Fall foliage, fall colors in Minnesota's Root River Valley

Fall Colors in the the Root River Valley

During the week is a great time to visit.  The Root River bike trail is quieter.  All you can hear is the wind rustling in the trees and the crunch of new fallen leaves under your bike tires.  At the Hillcrest Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed & Breakfast we offer a mid-week discount for two night stays Sunday – Thursday.  Awaken to just-baked home made bread delivered to your room.  Then enjoy a hearty breakfast in our dining room made with locally grown, fresh ingredients.

beautiful fall foliage comprised of rolling farm fields and colorful forests

Fillmore County Farmland

Lanesboro offers more that bike touring.  You can visit the Amish community nearby.  The Amish will soon be harvesting corn for winter storage.  You can see the corn shocks drying in the fields.  The Amish bakery is one of my favorite stops.  Fresh, glazed donuts, cashew crunch, home made bread, and apple turnovers are just a sampling of what you will find.

As you visit the Amish, tour many of the ridge roads that offer mile after mile of beautiful fall foliage throughout Fillmore county.

The Commonweal Theatre is performing two plays this month: “Little Shop of Horrors” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”  Both plays have been lauded as outstanding performances.  Guests at our inn are eligible for a $5 discount for theatre tickets.  Plan your fall leaf color tour to Lanesboro “a quirky combination of the outdoors and the arts.”

This blog authored by Marv Eggert, innkeeper at Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed & Breakfast.


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To Kill a Mockingbird Featured at Lanesboro’s Commonweal Theatre

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of the plays running in repertory this fall at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, MN.  This play is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee.  There is little debate that Harper Lee based “To Kill a Mockingbird” on factual events during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  Many believe the Tom Robinson trial in the novel was inspired by the infamous Scottsboro Boys trials – a case where nine black men were accused and convicted of raping two white women, despite overwhelming evidence to their innocence.

The novel is adapted for the theatre by Christopher Sergel and brought to the stage by the Commonweal Theatre Company.  The play is presented on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through October.  The play runs in repertory with “Little Shop of Horrors”.

Plan a fall getaway to SouthEast Minnesota, enjoy the fall colors, breathe in the crisp fall air, and take in the theatre.  When you stay at the Hillcrest Hide-Away you awaken each morning to a just-baked loaf of bread delivered to your room, followed by a hearty breakfast in our dining room.  Stay two nights Sunday through Thursday and receive $10 off per night.  We also offer $5 discount vouchers to all our guests for use at the Commonweal Theatre.

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Lanesboro – A great destination for Road Bikers Too!!

Four road bikers on the Root River Trail

Bikers on the Root River Trail

As home to the Root River Trail, Lanesboro has earned a reputation as a great biking destination.  Every summer thousands of bikers visit to enjoy the trail and everything else that Lanesboro has to offer.
Recently we had guests that took their road bikes to explore the rolling countryside around Lanesboro.
What they found was mile after mile of quiet country roads surrounded by fertile farmland that
Road bikers enjoy these kinds of vistas surrounding Lanesboro

Farm Fields near Lanesboro

forms a patchwork quilt from corn, hay, and soybean fields.
Fillmore county has a total population of 20,000.  There is one stop light in the entire county.  Many of the county highways are lightly used.  So there are very few cars and trucks to compete with on bicycle.


Three mile road climb out of the valley
Three mile climb out of the valley

Having lived here for eight years, I have found two bike loops that are great for road biking and site seeing – especially those who enjoy hill climbing and the subsequent rewarding downhill glides.  Both of the loops begin and end in Lanesboro and use paved county highways and sections of the Root River Bike Trail.  There is ample trail head parking in two lots near downtown Lanesboro.

You can find detailed, printable route maps on a web site called www.roadbikerides.com.  The two routes are called “Highland Rolling Country” www.roadbikerides.com/ride/view/highland_rolling_country/6392 and “Amish Country Harmony” http://www.roadbikerides.com/ride/view/amish_countryharmony_root_river_trail/6394

Both road bike routes begin with a 3 mile, 300 foot climb out of the valley.  The Highland route is 35 miles with rest/food stops every 10 miles.  The most interesting stop is the Highland Country Store which was built before 1900 and today houses a unique country restaurant in the middle of farm fields.  Be aware that the Highland Country Store is not open on Saturday.

Peterson is the second rest stop where you can find two restaurants and access to the Root River Bike Trail.  The last food stop is Whalan’s  Aroma Pie Shop a must stop for almost all bikers who visit the Root River Bike Trail.

road bikers enjoy riding in Amish Country near Harmony
Horses grazing in front of an Amish Homestead

The Amish Country route is 40 miles with 20 miles before the first rest/food stop.   The Amish Country route has more hills on miles 8 through 11 but stays reasonably level the rest of the way.  You will travel past many Amish farms.  The Amish who welcome visitors have a sign by the road of items they have for sale.  You are very welcome to stop and meet these very interesting people.

You will also ride past an Amish school, which will have children around if you ride during the week.  Please do not visit the Amish on Sunday because it is their day of rest and worship.  They will not conduct any business on Sunday.


road bike riders are welcome to visit the Amish

Amish Farm items for Sale

The first food/rest stop on this route is in Harmony which has a number of restaurants.  Our favorite is Quarter/quarter located 1/2 block east of the Hardware store in downtown Harmony.

The second half of this road bike route is on the Harmony/Preston and Root River Bike trails.  You can stop in Preston after 10 miles and then finish the last 10 miles to Lanesboro.  If your legs are still strong, you can add another 10 miles with a stop at the pie shop in Whalan for your end of ride treat.

Otherwise, enjoy any of the great restaurants in Lanesboro at the end of your ride.  If you stay at our bed and breakfast, you will awaken to a just-baked loaf of bread delivered to your room, followed by a full breakfast in the dining room.  Call us at 800 697-9902 to make a reservation or visit our web site www.hillcresthideaway.com.




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Plan your next Canoe/Kayak getaway to South East Minnesota

canoeing kayaking trips in Southeast Minnesota

Make Lanesboro your destination for your next canoe/kayak trip.  According to www.RiverPaddling.com, “Southeastern Minnesota is a paddlers paradise for both canoeing and kayaking. The Driftless Area of Southeastern Minnesota is quite different than the rest of Minnesota as it contains no natural lakes and the terrain is quite rugged with spectacular scenery.”  The Root River passing through Lanesboro is the primary artery for canoeing and kayaking in the region.  The North and South branches of the Root offer miles of gorgeous scenery upriver from Lanesboro and continues down river more than 15 miles to Peterson, MN.

canoes and kayaks are easy to use on the Root River

Kayaks on the North branch of the Root River

The Minnesota DNR maintains these waterways for use by kayaks and canoes.  The Root River is a class one river with an average depth of 2-3 feet and an average flow of 3 miles per hour.  Lanesboro outfitters offer 2 and 4 hour canoe and kayaking experiences on the Root River.  Some campgrounds and resorts offer these services too.

Family canoe trips are very popular along the Root River.  Those more adventurous can take advantage of the canoe campsites for overnight trips.  A map showing camp sites and canoe launches can be found on the Minnesota DNR web site.  Lanesboro outfitters offer 1 to 3 night trips with shuttle services.

Have your own equipment?  The Root River State Trail follows the river from Lanesboro to Peterson making it convenient for you to leave your bike(s) at your take out point and pedal back to pick up your vehicle.  Some outfitters will shuttle you for a fee as well.

kayak fishing is available along many miles of the Root River

Fishing downstream from Lanesboro

Trout fishing is excellent along the Root and its tributaries.  The South branch (which is spring fed and much cooler for trout habitat) was rated one of the top ten trout fishing streams in the US by Outdoors magazine.  Excellent brown, rainbow, and brook trout may be found here.  The North branch is also good for browns rainbows, bass, northern and sauger.  Local fishing experts can direct you to the creeks that feed the Root where excellent fishing is available.

Lanesboro offers more than canoeing and kayaking.  Lanesboro is nearly in the center of the Root River State Trail which offers more than 60 miles of paved surface.  The section from Lanesboro to Fountain is freshly repaved making it ideal for roller bladers.

After a busy day on the River, you need a place to rest and relax.  Lanesboro has more than 20 lodging establishments including Bed and Breakfasts, motels, house rentals, resorts and campgrounds.  You’ll find shopping and restaurants downtown plus the Commonweal Theatre - offering professional live theatre.  You won’t run out of things to do in Lanesboro.  Plan you next canoe/kayak trip to Lanesboro the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.

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A “nursery” in our Garden Labyrinth

Every year when I get spring fever, I head for the nursery to find plants for our garden.

labyrinth garden, robin eggs

Robin "Nursery" in our Labyrinth

This year the “nursery” has come to us.  Momma Robin has built a nest in the pergola that leads to the labyrinth garden in our back yard.   There is a honeysuckle vine growing on the pergola providing good protection for the nest and the new babies.

She has been tending the nest for a couple weeks so we should see new babies soon.  Every time I walk by the garden Momma Robin flies off, but of course returns soon.

pergola at the entrance to our garden labyrinth.

Honeysuckle vine growing on our pergola

Today I walked through the pergola and got within a foot of Momma Robin sitting on her nest.  I certainly don’t want to disturb them.  But I hope to get some pictures after they hatch.

The pergola provides an entrance to our garden labyrinth.  The labyrinth pathway is bordered by blooming perennial plants.  Cornflower, mullein, lamb’s ear, yarrow, milkweed and calla lilies have been blooming for a month.  Coneflowers, day lilies and black eyed susans are just starting to bloom now.  Mums, hybiscus and asters will be coming later in the summer.  This is the third summer for most of the plants in the labyrinth and the perennials have followed the rule of thumb that it takes three years for a perennial to get well established.  Many are large enough that they should be split soon.

labyrinth garden perennial flowers


I almost gave up on a milkweed I planted three years ago.  But this year my patience has paid off.  It has more than 15 blossom clusters.  Now I need to watch for the butterflies to show up.

We welcome you to view our garden when you visit Lanesboro.  Just stop by for your very own garden tour.

This blog is authored by Marv Eggert, gardener and innkeeper at the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

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