Bed and Breakfast Garden Labyrinth

Minnesota Bed & Breakfast Labyrinth

Backyard Garden Labyrinth

A year ago we installed a landscape labyrinth in our back yard.  My gardening rule of thumb is that it takes 3 years for perennials to get established.  As you can see from the photo, our labyrinth is ahead of schedule.  The labyrinth has 20 varieties of perennials of varying heights with a bubbling fountain in the center.

Landscape garden labyrinth

Red Yarrow Blossoms

One of the most prolific plants is  red Yarrow.  It has bushed out nicely in only a year.  I have already done some dividing and moved starter plants to other locations in the garden.

Other plants include Day Lilies, Lambs Ear, Black Eyed Susans, Asters, Carnations, Creeping Thyme, Bachelor Buttons, Geranium and Mullien.

Bee Balm - Monarda

Tasty Bee Balm Petals

Some flowers have two purposes: to adorn the garden and decorate our breakfast serving dishes.  Bee Balm (Monarda) has dainty petals that are very sweet to taste and add a nice touch to fruit entrees.  Hibiscus petals are edible and we have one that is taking hold nicely.

The plants we chose are “mostly” distasteful to deer.  But the Day Lilies need regular treatment to keep them safe from our four legged friends.

You can enjoy a morning walk in our garden by visiting our bed and breakfast – Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B.  We are located in Lanesboro, Minnesota 45 minutes southeast of Rochester.   Lanesboro offers lots of things to enjoy (an art gallery, live theatre, the Root River State Trail) and plenty of places to stay including more than 12 bed and breakfasts.  Lanesboro has been named the Bed & Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.  Visit us to discover a beautiful corner of Southeast Minnesota.

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Couple Announces Engagement in Lanesboro

Engaged Couple Enjoying our Garden

Chad and Amy (pictured here) visited us on Memorial Day weekend.  They had a lovely alfresco dinner Sunday evening at the Old Village Hall in downtown Lanesboro.

At breakfast, Amy announced that that Chad had “popped the question” the night before.  We hope that Lanesboro and the Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B will always hold special memories for them.

Consider visiting us when you plan your next celebration.

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Girls Getaway Weekend in Lanesboro

A few weeks ago a Mom and three of her daughters came to Lanesboro for a girls getaway weekend.  They stayed together in the Hope Room which has plenty of space inside  to relax and a lovely view of the gardens from the covered patio outside.

girls getaway weekend

Mom and girls refreshed after a weekend away

A special bonding time was shared with many laughs til the wee hours of the morning answering questions from “If … Questions for the Game of Life” book.

Everyone left with a souvenir Hillcrest Hide-Away mug or “Hillcrest at Home” recipe book.

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Go Red Spring Girls Getaway

webHeartHeart disease is the number 1 killer of women in our country today.  We are thankful for Carol’s return to the kitchen after successful open heart surgery on February 1.

To celebrate, we invite you to a spring girl’s getaway weekend at the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast in Lanesboro, Minnesota.  Mention this blog entry when making your reservation and we will donate $10 for 1 night stays and $25 for 2 night stays between now and Mother’s Day to the Go Red campaign sponsored by the American Heart Association.

Lanesboro offers plenty of things to do the next 6 weeks:

March 26 and 27 Commonweal Theatre presents: Death and the Ploughman
April 10:
Ladies Day in Lanesboro including a Fashion Show sponsored by Cheryl’s Apparel
April 16, 17:
Commonweal Theatre Ibsen Festival Weekend
April 23, 24: Bluff Country Studio Art tour and Earth Day in Lanesboro
April 30 – May 1
: Commonweal Theatre presents: John Gabriel Borkman

First Crocus of Spring

First Crocus of Spring

Let us  pamper you for a weekend away.  Awaken each morning to the aroma of just-baked home made bread delivered to your room followed by a hearty breakfast in our dining room.

Schedule a massage or a manicure.  Take an Amish tour.  Visit the unique shops of downtown Lanesboro.

The crocuses are stretching their little heads to catch the warm sun.  Other bulbs are sure to follow.  Kiss winter goodbye and welcome spring in Lanesboro the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.

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Celebrate Ibsen Festival in Lanesboro, MN

Goodbye Winter, Hello Ibsen!
It’s that time again! It’s Commonweal Theater’s 13th Annual Ibsen Festival – a celebration of Scandinavian art and culture, April 16 – 18 in Lanesboro, MN.   Spend the day taking in concerts, films, lectures, and artisan displays, then stay at night for the theatre opening weekend of John Gabriel Borkman. This rarely-produced Ibsen classic about an unscrupulous banker will be a brand-new adaptation from Minnesota’s premiere theater playwright, Jeffrey Hatcher. It is directed by Risa Brainin (Mixed Blood, Guthrie Theatre). Visit to see a summary of Commonweal Theatre’s commitment to Ibsen and download a pdf file for the Ibsen Festival schedule of events.

Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and Breakfast will have the welcome mat ready for you to enjoy the full weekend of events.  Awaken each morning to the aroma of just-baked home made bread delivered to your room followed by a hearty breakfast in our dining room.  Kari’s, a new Scandinavian restaurant in Lanesboro, will be serving special treats for Ibsen Festival weekend.

Experience Lanesboro, the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.

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Girls Getaway Weekend

In January, eight ladies ( Mom, one sister, five daughters and one grand daughter) enjoyed a girls weekend getaway to celebrate Mom’s 50th birthday.  The daughters planned the whole girls weekend months in advance – and were so excited.

The girls snuck into Mom’s house to gather clothes for the trip and then two daughters picked her up at work with a plan to “take Mom out to dinner.”   The dinner trip lasted much longer than Mom could imagine and when they arrived in Lanesboro there were five more girls welcoming Mom with balloons, birthday cake, flowers, black streamers, etc.

Girls Getaway Weekend

Girls Getaway Weekend

They enjoyed a complete weekend of girl bonding time including browsing at downtown shops and creating master pieces at Potiche Paint Your Own Pottery studio in downtown Lanesboro.  Beyond that there was much chatter and laughter into the wee hours of the morning.

Each morning they awoke to just-baked bread delivered to their room along with a favorite beverage.  A hearty breakfast followed in the dining room.

March Madness is coming soon.  Cabin fever is setting in.  It would be a perfect time to plan your own girls weekend getaway to Lanesboro and Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed and BreakfastDowntown shops and fine dining restaurants are ready to welcome you.  Amish tours are also available.  On March 9th, April 9th, and April 16th there are live performances at the St. Mane Theatre. We hope to see you soon in Lanesboro, the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.

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MN Cross Country Ski/Snowshoe Journal

Thursday Feb 11, clear blue skies, bright afternoon sun, 30 degrees, 6 inches of fresh snow – a perfect day for snowshoeing.  I’ve been away from the trails for 3 weeks.    I didn’t feel like trail blazing today.  So I drove near the Old Barn Resort, where there is a striking rock cut along the Root River State Trail.

Root River Trail Groomed for Cross Country Skiing

Root River Trail Groomed for Cross Country Skiing

The sun was at a rare good angle for photography.  The trail was freshly groomed with plenty of room for me to snowshoe at the packed edge of the trail.

Once again, I was struck by the quiet of the woods.  No road noise, no wind, just quiet.  A few crows cut the silence with their annoying call, but not enough to be a true distraction.

Bridge on Root River State Trail

Bridge on Root River State Trail

About 1/4 mile into my hike, the trail curved and revealed one of the many bridges over the Root River.

Arriving at the bridge I found a hawk and a mourning dove perched in trees along the river.  From the bridge I could hear the gurgling of the river where the fresh water broke through the ice encouraging me that spring may be coming soon.

Cross Country Skiiers and their companion

Cross Country Skiers and their companion

Further on down the trail I met Steve and Brenda accompanied by their German Short Hair “Hunter”.  Brenda remarked how great it was to get away from the hustle and noise of life to take in the beauty of the trail.

Hunter was wearing a harness and Brenda had a strap with a line attached around her waist.  When she got tired of skiing or faced a small uphill climb, Hunter was enlisted to play the role of “ski dog” and pull her along the trail.

I watched her hook Hunter up and he pulled Brenda more than 100 yards.  At that point, Hunter got distracted by something he saw along the trail and true to his name he dashed off to check it out.  Needless to say, Brenda had a small crash landing – but no harm done.

The long range forecast looks like we won’t have a thaw any time soon.  So snowshoe and cross country ski conditions should be excellent all along the miles of groomed Root River Trail through the rest of the month.

Lanesboro, the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota is located near by.  Bed and Breakfasts and Inns to suit any taste await your visit.  A new restaurant “Kari’s” has opened this winter featuring authentic Norwegian Cuisine.   It will be open on weekends throughout the winter.

This snow shoe blog is authored by Marv Eggert owner of Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B where we feature just-baked bread delivered to your room each morning.   Happy Snowshoeing!!!!

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MN Cross Country Ski by Candle Light

Lanesboro, the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota invites you to enjoy our winter wonderland in Southeast Minnesota.  The Root River State trail is groomed with dual tracks and ready for cross country skiing.

Candlelight Ski on the Root River Trail

Candlelight Ski on the Root River Trail

Make plans now to join us February 5 – 7 for a “Flurry of Fun in February”  highlighted by the 18th annual Whalen Candlelight Ski on Saturday evening.  Start at the Whalen Town Hall at dusk, ski for a mile by candlelight and warm yourself by the bonfire.  Then ski back to Whalen for another bonfire, homemade soups, sandwiches and hot beverages at the Whalen Town Hall.  Skis can be rented at Cedar Valley Resort.

Lanesboro’s downtown district will be candlelit at dusk where restaurants, shops, Bed and Breakfasts and the Lanesboro Art Center await your visit.

Visit and click on the Winter Weekend link to see a full calendar of events.

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MN Snowshoe Trail Journal – Jan 10, 2010

Snowshoe Trail Into the Forest

Snowshoe Trail Into the Forest

January 10, 2010 Snowshoeing week 2.

It is a “warm” 17 degrees today – 10 degrees warmer than last week.  So it seems conditions should be OK to get out the snowshoes again today.  It is much more overcast and there is a stiff wind blowing over the ridges.  The forest preserve seems fairly protected, so I am going for it!

I arrive to find fresh snowshoe tracks on the trail again plus a pair of cross country ski tracks.  Working my way straight up the bluff I’m amazed to see the ski tracks wherever I go.

I can hear the brisk wind in the valley.  But as I enter the pine forest, it is quiet once again.  Encountering a

White Pine Forest

White Pine Forest

sign post with a trail map I learn that the only way further into the preserve is to continue up the bluff.

As I reach the top of the bluff the wind gusts return.  The winter chill is quite brisk up here!  I’m now above the pine tree tops.  So I’ve lost any protection from them.  Even in the middle of the hardwood forest there are small snow drifts across the trail.  The only sign of wildlife up here are deer tracks and I can see why – no protection, bitter wind, and little food.

Do I turn back or continue on?  The hearty skier left his trail here.  So certainly I can continue.  Hiking another 200 yards, the wind is now beginning to make this more like work.  I debate whether I should turn back or continue.  I continue because I think there is a path back down into the valley a little further on.

Panoramic Countryside Vista

Panoramic Countryside Vista

But then I see a small shelter ahead along the trail and a clearing with a view of the surrounding countryside.  Stopping in the shelter, I catch my breath and enjoy the panoramic view.  Despite the overcast sky, the view is breathtaking.

Back on the trail again I follow the cross country ski tracks further into the state forest.  Reaching the back edge of the preserve I discover there is no short cut back into the valley like I thought earlier.  I must continue and circle back the way I came.

Bench Along the Trail

Bench Along the Trail

You can see how deep the snow is by looking at the bench in the photo.  I continue to follow the tracks of the cross country trail blazer.

Because the snow pack is heavy breaking a new trail is not too hard.  However, the deeper snow  collects  on the back of my snowshoes.  Each time I take a new step, the snow laps up on the back of my legs leaving me with wetter and wetter jeans.

Circling back I return to a spot I stopped at earlier.  It is time to head back.  Reaching the pine forest offers a welcome relief from the wind gusts on the ridge.  The birds are even feeding down here.

Back down the trail to my car I head for home where a warm mug of chai tea awaits.

Snowshoe Trail Journal week 2: Marv Eggert, Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B, Lanesboro, MN.

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MN Snowshoe Trail Journal – Jan 1, 2010

Welcome to my snowshoe blog.  I am a novice showshoer aiming to explore snowshoe destinations around my home in Lanesboro, MN this winter.  Watch for weekly updates until snow conditions are too poor due to melted snow.  Raise your glass to toast in snow shoeing adventures in 2010!

January 1, 2010, New Year’s Day, 2PM 7.3 degrees.  I have a choice – sit and watch college bowl games munching on leftover holiday treats or bundle up and get some fresh air.  I decide on the latter because it is good for my health and even better for my soul.  I better get a move on because I only have two more hours of sunlight.

A cloudless sky reflecting a soft shade of azure blue – greets me.  The air is quiet.  I’m out to explore snowshoe trails near Isinours Junction next to the Root River State Trail between Preston and Lanesboro.  I arrive surprised to find a well plowed parking lot.

Strapping on my snowshoes I head for a hiking trail that I explored last summer.  I am surprised to find a well broken snow shoe trail gently rising up the bluff.  With 24 inches of December snow plus an inch of rain on Christmas Day, a well packed snowshoe base awaits my exploration.  The Minnesota DNR has broken a path up the bluff and there is evidence that other adventurers have been here in the past week.

Near the start of the trail a sign post shows a map of the trail choices.  There are 3 loops that traverse the bluff and meander through the forest preserve.  Some segments pass through small underbrush on the valley floor and others wind through the heart of the forest.

Given there is a well established path, I can focus on my surroundings rather than watching where to place each new footstep.   The path gently rises up the bluff through a series of switchbacks leading me out of the valley.  The winter breeze whispers through the pin oak leaves that refuse to let go before spring to rustle a gentle welcome.

Clearing at the end of a deer path

Clearing at the end of a deer path

Working my way up the bluff, a narrow deer path departs from the trail.  I’m faced with a choice.  Do I stay on the well marked trail or go off the beaten path?  I choose the deer trail to satisfy my curiosity.  This is the beauty of snowshoeing.  The snow has covered all the underbrush I would trip over in the summer.  My winter jacket protects me from thorny bushes along the way.  AND there are no bugs to torment me as I follow the deer path through the under brush.  I follow the deer tracks to a clearing where I catch my breath.

Backtracking through the under brush I return to the well established  trail.  The path leads further up the bluff and into the white pine forest.  I am surrounded by the legacy of Civil Conservation Corp workers who planted these trees 75 years ago.  The pines rise straight and tall competing for light at the tree tops and providing shelter for the wild life and tender plants on the forest floor.

The crunch, crunch, crunch of the snowshoes is deafening compared to the quiet that surrounds me.  There is no way I’ll be able to sneak up on any wild life today.  I stop and wait for my breathing to return to normal (snowshoeing up hill is a good workout!).  Listen to the quiet.  No cars.  No snowmobiles.  No noise – just the sounds of the forest.  The rat-a-tat tat of the woodpecker searching for an afternoon snack.  The chatter of a squirrel making sure I know he is here.  The forest floor is blanketed with snow protecting the wild flowers that will be the first signs of spring.  However, there are signs of life here as well.  Well worn deer paths cross my path every so often.  In the underbrush is a protected spot where deer likely sought shelter during the rain and sleet a week ago.

Bird tracks line the trail on both sides.  A flutter draws my attention into the forest.  Black capped Chickadees flit here and there in the abundance of plants in the undergrowth along the trail.  Up on the tree branches they shiver and shake to fluff up their feathers warding off the brisk winter cold.  The feathers under their caps are white as snow and their soft cream colored bellies welcome the seeds that they find.

A hawk screeches from the top of a tree nearby.  Red tailed hawks are common in this area.  I’m sure he is able to see and hear prey that I’ll never encounter this afternoon.

Snowshoe trail through white pine forest

Snowshoe trail through white pine forest

Stopping to catch my breath, I hear what sounds like the muffled rushing sound of highway traffic.  How can that be?  Hwy 52 is more than 4 miles away.  This sounds too much like the background noise of the city that I escaped when I moved here six years ago.  Instead, it is the intermittent breezes swaying the trees and rubbing the five-needled clusters of white pine boughs together to produce the gentle sound of winter in the forest.

The forest is such a wonderful place to restore my soul.  The snow shoes offer freedom to explore points that are hard to reach in the summer.  I’ve been exploring more than an hour.  The shadows are growing longer warning me that day light is waning.  I work my way back down the trail loop through the bluff to where I began.  I am glad I discovered this spot.  I’ll be back next week to explore more.

As the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota, Lanesboro welcomes you with beautiful  landscape, fine dining, and accommodations to satisfy any taste.

Groomed Root River State Trail

Groomed Root River State Trail

The Root River State Trail is groomed with double tracks for cross country skiing.  The Lanesboro Art Center offers winter programming at the St. Mane Theatre.  At the Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B we start your day with a just baked loaf of home made bread delivered to your room.  Plan your winter getaway with us.

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