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, “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.

Posted in getaway | Tagged | Comments Off

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.

Posted in getaway | Comments Off

Commonweal Theatre Summer Season in Full Swing

Many visitors come to Lanesboro, MN to ride the “Cadillac” of bike trails, the Root River State Trail.  Others come for the quiet and the beauty of canoeing or kayaking the Root River.  After a busy day outdoors many guests head downtown for an evening of quality, professional theatre.  The Commonweal Theatre has been entertaining Lanesboro guests  for more than 20 years.  From May through October the theatre offers two plays in repertory from Thursday through Monday each week.  The 2011 season offers three plays: “Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney, “Little Shop of Horrors” by Alan Menken, and “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Lanesboro MN Theater

Lanesboro State of the Art Commonweal Theatre

Sylvia is an outrageous comedy that challenges everything we know about love, sex, relationships and the meaning of life. A financial trader facing career burn-out adopts a stray dog who turns his home, life and marriage upside-down. Commonweal’s Sylvia includes a woman playing a dog and a man playing two women. That makes the play sound merely silly, but it turns out to be a fresh, entertaining and ultimately rewarding production (read the full review).  Sylvia runs through August 19.

Playing opposite Sylvia is Little Shop of Horrors.  Seymour is a lonely flower shop clerk living on Skid Row when an unusual talking plant – with a very unusual appetite – promises him fortune and fame…at a price. Don’t miss this smash hit musical comedy! Little Shop of Horrors was a Broadway and Hollywood hit, and with good reason.  The music is an irrisistible combination of girl group-pop and ’60s R&B, given a showtune polish.  The comedy is twisted, but is not threatening (read the full review).  Little Shop runs through October 28.

Starting August 26th is “To Kill a Mocking Bird” based on a novel by Harper Lee and adapted by Christopher Sergel.  The warmth of childhood and the bitter loss of innocence surround one woman’s recollections of growing up in the South during the Depression and the summer her father risked everything to defend a black man falsely accused of a horrible crime.  To Kill a Mockingbird plays through November 13th.

Make your visit to Lanesboro complete by staying in one of our many Bed and Breakfasts.  Lanesboro’s innkeepers have their welcome mat ready and waiting for your arrival.   When you stay at the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast your stay includes a just-baked loaf of home-made bread delivered to your room each morning, plus a hearty breakfast.  Hillcrest guests may redeem a voucher for a $5 discount to the Commonweal Theatre.

Posted in getaway, Outdoors | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Iron Pour Coming to Lanesboro July 7 – 10

Lanesboro Arts Center will host the 2011 Iron Pour in Lanesboro, Minnesota’s Sylvan Park on Saturday, July 9, from 1-6 p.m.  This is a free public event for all ages.  The pour will be led by nationally-acclaimed local artist Karl Unnasch, and is held in cooperation with the City of Lanesboro.  Bar-b-que food and beverages will also be available during the Pour, and a live band will play onsite after the Pour beginning at approximately 6 p.m.

Lanesboro art iron pour event

Melting the iron in the furnace


Folks might be wondering, what exactly IS an Iron Pour?  It is a FREE “Public Art Event” where people can enjoy the excitement of “Art in the making.”  Artists, community members, and workshop participants will have prepared sand resin molds ready to transform into iron sculpture.  Artist Karl Unnasch and his crew will stoke the furnace, and melt iron(hundreds of pounds of old radiators and brake liners) to the hot, hot temperature of 2700 degrees Fahrenheit.


Lanesboro iron pour art event

Pouring molten iron into the molds

Then, throughout the afternoon, the hot molten iron will be poured into the molds and allowed to cool overnight.  The next morning at 10 a.m. will be the unveiling of molds, clean-up, and patina/surface work.  As soon as the crew turns the furnace blower off, at the last tap, the live music will start (around 6 or 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 9).  Molly Maher and Paul Bergen and their band will perform.

There are two free opportunities during the week of July 4 where folks can find out more about the iron sculpture process.  First, the public is welcome to come and watch “Open Studio” as lead artist Karl Unnasch works on the community medallions.  People can stop by the shelter at Sylvan Park anytime Monday, July 4 – Friday, July 8 between 12 – 4 p.m.  Also, in another free public event, the Commonweal Theatre Company will host Karl Unnasch in an Artist Talk on Thursday, July 7 at 6:30 p.m. in their events hall.  This precedes the Commonweal’s performance of the “Little Shop of Horrors” performance at 7:30 p.m.; for tickets to the play, call 800-657-7025.

Iron Pour workshop

Workshop where you can make your own mold

The public will have a chance to make their own 6” round Iron Plaque in a workshop.  Workshop participants can choose from one of two sessions:  Thursday, July 7 from 5-7 p.m., or Saturday, July 9 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The workshop will be held at Sylvan Park in Lanesboro and is open to all ages.  Participants will carve a reverse relief design into a pre-made sand mold to prepare it for the iron pour (any imagery or text is possible, and tools & professional assistance will be available).  Finished works can be taken home on Sunday, July 10 at 10 a.m. — that will be the unveiling of molds, clean-up, and surface prep/patina finishing on the plaques (otherwise, participants may pick up their plaque at a later date at the Lanesboro Arts Center).  The workshop is $25 per mold, with registration in advance or day of each workshop.  Scholarships are available; call 507-467-2446 for more information or to register for the workshop.

The Lanesboro Arts Center serves as a regional catalyst for artistic excellence and educational development in providing diverse art experiences for people of all ages.  For more information: 507-467-2446 / /

While visiting Lanesboro stay in one of our many bed and breakfasts.  A stay at the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast includes a just-baked loaf of bread delivered to your room followed by a hearty breakfast.  Our gardens are in full bloom with day lilies, honeysuckle, calla lilies, mullien, and many more.

Lanesboro offers plenty to do for a multi-day visit.  During the week is a great time to ride the Root River State Trail where you can enjoy the serenade of many birds that surround us.  Eagles cruise overhead riding the updraft of the currents that rise from the bluffs along the trail.  Kayaking and canoeing is available on the Root River every day.

Posted in getaway | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Model T Vintage Car Club Visits Lanesboro on July 20th

Model T Classic Cars to Visit Lanesboro

Vintage Photo of Downtown Lanesboro

This is a vintage photo of downtown Lanesboro.  The first building on the left is now home to Mrs. B’s Inn.  On July 20th, the view will be similar in as the National Model T car club tour makes a stop in Lanesboro.  The club will be touring Southeast Minnesota during the week and parking their vintage cars all along Parkway Avenue for you to enjoy.  More than 100 vintage cars are expected on the tour.

Tin Lizzy with Minnesota Plates

Tin Lizzy with Minnesota License Plates

Model Ts are sometimes referred to as “tin lizzies.”  These two sweethearts are enjoying their 2 door tin lizzy.   This Model-T is an early-ish coupe, as it has rear-hinged “suicide” doors. Also note the two flags attached to the car’s radiator. A close look at the original photo shows a 1927 Minnesota license tag, or numberplate, with MINN (for Minnesota) down the right hand side of it.

I am sure the cars you will see in Lanesboro will be in as good or better shape.  Make your visit to Lanesboro complete by staying in one of our many bed and breakfasts.  The Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B is located three blocks from downtown Lanesboro.   So you will be within walking distance of the car display.  We hope to see you on July 20th.

Posted in getaway | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Backyard Visitors to our Garden

Last week a fawn was born in our neighborhood.  He laid under the neighbor’s board fence for most of the afternoon.  It is not unusual for the mother deer to leave new fawns unattended – even in town.  They are safe alone because the fawns do not have a scent that their predators can detect.

Fawn and mother in our back yardI watched them through the window for a few minutes and then stepped out the back door.  It is not unusual to have deer in our yard year round.  So they are really not afraid of us.

I watched them nibble on some grass for a while.  Gladly, they were leaving my flowers alone.

Little fawn with lots of spotsI do have a fence around my vegetable garden.  I will not share my precious raspberries with the deer.

The day lilies will be blooming soon.  The last two years the deer have enjoyed them more than me. In the summer it is a battle to keep them from our gardens.  I have found a few deer repellents that seem to work.

Visit us some time this summer and you can enjoy the creatures that visit our back yard.  Orioles, humming birds, finches, robins, chipmunks and more.  This blog authored by Marv Eggert innkeeper and gardener at Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast – Lanesboro, Minnesota.

Posted in Gardens, Outdoors | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Serving Flowers for Breakfast?

Flowers aren’t just for the gardens at Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast.  Our guests enjoy blooming plants outdoors from early May through October.  Now that the chance for frost is nearly gone, we are serving flowers for breakfast too.

bed and breakfast gardens

Apple Cheddar Quiche

We regularly garnish our breakfasts with edible flowers from our garden.  The first edible perennial to bloom this year is the “johnny jump-up” pansy.   I planted a few in our vegetable garden last year and they are back this year nice and healthy.

Carol made Apple Cheddar Quiche for guests this week.   The pansy was a perfect complement with some lemon balm from our herb garden.

Guests offered rave reviews for the Apple Cheddar Quiche.  It is a tasty savory entree with a touch of sweet (from the apples).  Carol makes an excellent  pie crust (almost my favorite part) topping it with the quiche filling.

Bleeding Heart, and violets are other edible perennials in our garden that are ready sharing with the guests.  Soon to follow will be Pansies,  Day Lilies, Bee Balm, and more.

This blog authored by innkeeper Marv Eggert from the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast, Lanesboro, Minnesota.

Posted in breakfast, Gardens | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Finches and Grosbeaks and Orioles Oh My!

It is spring birding time in South East Minnesota.  The birds are flocking to our front and back yard feeders.   Some are just passing through but some of them stay all summer.   Our guests at Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast enjoy watching the birds at breakfast and from our patio and back yard decks.

Orioles are wonderful birds to watch


Orioles are abundant in our corner of Minnesota from mid-May through mid-August.  The male Orioles arrive early to scout out a good nesting location.  They stock up on grape jelly at our feeders after the long migration.  When the babies are born, mom and dad bring them to our feeders and we get to watch them grow up.

Gold Finches are with us all winter.   But their beautiful gold color shows up early May.  They have been flocking to our thistle seed feeder where our cat Missy likes to watch them from her perch on the window sill (inside).

mn birds

Rose Breasted Grossbeak

The Rose Breasted Grossbeaks are also a recent arrival.  They feed on sunflower hearts on our bird feeder.  One day they were so hungry they were trying to share the thistle seed with the finches on bird feeder.

When you ride or walk the Root River State trail near our home in Lanesboro, MN, you will see all these birds plus blue birds, cat birds, wrens, robins and hawks.   If you keep your eyes to the sky, you may catch a glimpse of a bald eagle as well.

After time on the trail you can enjoy an evening of theatre at the Commonweal Theatre in downtown Lanesboro where you will also find restaurants from casual to very fine dining.

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

Posted in getaway, Outdoors | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Blue Flags in our Garden

One of my favorite early season flowers are “Blue Flags”.  They are a member of the Iris Family that  grow to be around six inches tall.

bed & breakfast garden photo

Blue Flags

Blue Flags have a special memory for my family.  They used to grow along the country road between my farm home and the one room school house I attended.  My Mom’s birthday is May 4 and I remember picking Blue Flags for her on the way home from school one day.

Blue Flags have always grown in the flower beds around our farm.  Recently my Mom told me that the Blue Flags in our garden were transplanted from along the road by my Aunt Dorothy when she was a little girl.   Aunt Dorothy would have been 97 this year.

The Blue Flags in our B&B garden were transplanted from our home after my Mom moved off the farm a few years ago.  So my Blue Flags have a bit of heritage from road-side ditch – to farm stead – and now to our B&B garden.   I’m hoping to take some of the Blue Flags along when I go visit Mom next week.

This blog is authored by Marv Eggert innkeeper (and gardener) at the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast in Lanesboro, MN.  The perennials are just waking up in our gardens and we are anxious to start planting annuals once frost is done.

Posted in Gardens, Outdoors | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Maple Syrup Time – Come Lend a Hend

Tired of being cooped up inside?  The first sign of spring is upon us – Maple Syrup season.   Join us and discover how that Maple in the corner of your yard can give you the tastiest pancakes in town. Participants will experience all aspects of syrup making from tree identification, tapping trees, collecting sap, and boiling down to syrup!

Making Maple Syrup Join us at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro on:

March 19, 2011
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
$10 per person

Call 888-800-9558 to save your place!

Make it a weekend with a stay at Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B in Lanesboro.  We would be glad to serve maple syrup on our breakfast entree to make your weekend complete.  My favorite is Blueberry Cornbread with maple syrup.

In the evening you can enjoy Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman  at the Commonweal Theatre presented by the Commonweal apprentices.

Posted in getaway | Tagged , , , | Comments Off