Back in the early eighties, Sandy and I started seeking out new B&Bs and booking romantic getaway weekends. In fact, we often dreamed and talked of having our own bed and breakfast one day.
I came home from work one night and Sandy said, “I just heard about a new B&B in a town called Lanesboro. Should we check it out?” We’re always up for a new adventure, so we booked a stay at the Carrolton Country Inn in rural Lanesboro. We had no idea where Lanesboro was, so we looked it up on a map and set out to find this new B&B. Now, we always thought that Southern Minnesota was all flat with cornfields, so imagine our surprise when we found ourselves driving in bluff country – with hardwood forests, trout streams and limestone bluffs.
The first morning, we headed west out of Lanesboro on the new Root River Bike Trail. After seven or eight miles, we came upon an old farmhouse and sixteen acres right on the bike trail – with a “For Sale” sign. Sandy said, “Oh, we’ve always wanted a place in the country. Let’s check it out!” And I recall saying, “We don’t need another house to maintain!” And she said what we now laugh about, “Well, it doesn’t cost anything to dial the number!” But, of course it did because three weeks later we owned it!
It was a charming old farm house that needed a lot of work, but we fixed it up with new wiring, plumbing, insulation, windows and even added on a large wrap-around porch. When we were finished, it looked a bit like the Walton’s farmhouse.
In those early years, the Commonweal Theatre was founded, the bike trail was getting busy, the Art’s Center and Chamber of Commerce came to be, and Lanesboro’s storefronts were re-opening with new businesses. Tourists – bikers, hikers, other outdoor enthusiasts and shoppers – were finding and enjoying this beautiful little corner of Minnesota called Bluff Country. Lanesboro was beginning to thrive again!
This became our vacation home and getaway spot with family and friends for the next decade. Other people in St. Paul were traveling north to their cabins as we were going south to our farm! We liked the fact that there was no heavy traffic going or coming, and then we discovered the best feature of all – virtually no mosquitoes! This is a major benefit of this part of Minnesota. The area around Lanesboro has very little standing water – no lakes or other places for mosquitoes to breed... except after very heavy rains. In fact, Fillmore County is the only county in the state without any lakes. Instead there are many spring- fed trout streams, with water temperatures too cold for mosquito larvae to thrive.
So, you will notice that there are no screens on our large open-air porches. You can be outside any time of day or night enjoying the outdoors with friends, sharing a cup of coffee or glass of wine with no bugs or mosquitoes to bother you.