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 ibsenfest.org 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 www.lanesboro.com 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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New Year’s Weekend Getaway

Ring in the New Year with a getaway to Lanesboro, MN the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.

The Old Village Hall Restaurant is featuring a lovely dinner all weekend including:
Appetizers: Sautéed Mussels in an Orange Gin Chile Cream Sauce,
Seasoned Lamb Chops with Irish Whiskey Cherry Sauce
Entrées: Monkfish Scaloppini,
Dry Aged New York Strip,
Roasted Organic Chicken Breast on a Bed of Fettuccini
Desserts: Almond Cake and Apricot Ice Cream,
Baked Alaska with Hazelnut Brittle,
Chocolate Tart with Fresh Marshmallow Praline Sauce and Crème Anglaise

Call (507) 467-2962 to Reserve Seating (Advance Reservations Recommended)

The snow has made the hills, valleys, and streams in our corner of Minnesota into a winter wonderland.

Amish Farm in the Country

Amish Farm in the Country

The Root River State Trail is groomed for cross country skiing.  Weather has been great the past 2 weeks to maintain good skiing conditions.  There are plenty of places to snow shoe as well.

Root River

Root River

Relax, recover from the holiday rush with a quiet getaway to the Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B.  We’ll start your day with a just-baked loaf of bread delivered to your room followed by a hearty breakfast.

Then you can head outdoors or curl up with a book next to one of our electric fireplaces.  Give us a call at 800 697-9902 to make a reservation.

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Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride Winter Wonderland

We’ve got a fresh pack of snow in Lanesboro, MN.   The countryside looks like a winter wonderland!  Downtown Lanesboro is decorated for Christmas.

Downtown Lanesboro Decked out for Christmals

Downtown Lanesboro Decked out for Christmas

Restaurants, Bed and Breakfasts, and the Cornucopia Art Center have their welcome mat ready for you to create your personal winter getaway.

Cuddle together in the crisp winter air and listen to the music of brass bells as the sleigh runners cut through the snow!

webDanielsonSleigh

Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride

Your horse drawn sleigh ride begins in scenic Duschee Creek valley near Lanesboro.  Heavy lap blankets will keep you cozy as you glide through the fields and into the woods. From there the horses know their way home.  Back in town a steaming cup of hot cocoa or cider awaits you!

The Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B is your perfect winter getaway destination.  Two of our spacious suites have electric fireplaces where you can curl up with a good book and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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Minnesota Tundra Swan Migration

Last week we took a day off and observed the  Tundra Swan migration near Brownsville, MN.  Brownsville, MN is located 10 miles south of LaCrescent, MN on MN state hwy 26.  The US Fish and Wildlife Services has created an overlook just south of Brownsville on the Mississippi River where the swans and migrating ducks can be seen by the thousands.

A Swan Family Feud

A Swan Family Feud

The swans are graceful birds with over a 7 foot wing span!  The swans migrate from their summer habitat near the Arctic Circle to their winter habitat in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

The interpreters at the overlook told us that the swans fly non-stop from the Arctic Circle to the Mississippi River where they refuel for the next leg of the migration.  They remain in Brownsville until the colder temperatures and reduced feeding habitat pushes them on.  They may stop in Lake Erie for another refueling stop making their way to Chesapeake Bay.

Migrating Swans

Migrating Swans

The photos really don’t do the experience justice.  There are places where the sand bars are white with birds.  It looks more like snow in the distance!

We have had a warm November so the swans may be around for a few more weeks.  The viewing area is about an hour drive from Lanesboro.

Lanesboro is dressed for Christmas with new downtown decorations.  Take in The 1940′s Radio Hour at the Commonweal Theatre and stay with us at the Hillcrest Hide-Away.  We’re ready for  Christmas too  including Carol’s extensive Santa collection.

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Girls Getaway Weekend Vacation

Last weekend we hosted a group of sisters and their daughters for a girls getaway weekend.  They left their husbands and kids at home and filled our home with laughter and fun.  Friday night they shared a pot luck spread of snacks (including a marvelous trout pate’ spread) and wine in our living room.

Breakfast for Sisters/Daughters group

Breakfast for Sisters/Daughters group

Saturday morning they gathered for breakfast (after munching on home made bread of course).   There was no need for gentle background music.  There were at least three simultaneous conversations most of the time.

Then they ventured off to the farmers market, shopping downtown and enjoying their time together.

We often host groups of ladies who vacation together.  It is always interesting to hear how they are connected and how much they enjoy traveling together.

Plan your next girls getaway with us at the Hillcrest Hide-Away B&B.  Hunting season is coming.  You deer hunting widows need time away too.  While the hunters are shivering on those deer stands, you can cozy up with book next to a fireplace at our inn.

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