Beyond the List – What Makes Our Region a “Best Of…”

July 25th, 2014

This month we welcome to our blog Dee Slinde, our new Executive Director of the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. Dee now makes our beautiful region her home after years of visiting and enjoying what makes Lanesboro go “Beyond the List”!

Trail Towns Sign

Photo Courtesy of Ana Hagedorn

Over the 4th of July weekend I loaded up to attend the annual birthday celebration for a dear friend, as I have for more than twenty-five years. It is an opportunity to connect with old friends, enjoy some campfire music, and philosophize about life in the way only those that have known each other for a long time can.

As the conversation evolved, I spoke about my new position as the Executive Director for the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, reciting the very long list of wonderful features we enjoy here in our region: things like the bike trail, the Root River and its water sports, the Commonweal Theatre, the Lanesboro Arts Center, great restaurants, Amish culture…you know…the 60 second elevator speech any good representative of our area should be able to recite at the drop of a hat.

In the way only a dear old friend has of cutting to the chase, one of my friends asked, “That’s all wonderful, but lots of places have those kinds of  ‘things.’ What’s so special about the Lanesboro region that convinced you to leave a career and a life that you were happy with to go do that instead? I know you, and I know there’s more to the story. I can hear the passion in your voice when you talk about it. So what is the real attraction?”

I thought about that for a moment. My friend was right, of course. Lots of places have art, or natural beauty, or great restaurants. The one thing that is certainly harder to verbalize, but infinitely more important, is what brought me here: the incredible amount of cooperation and ability to work together for the greater good that Lanesboro and our surrounding communities have with each other.

I believe that spirit of cooperation shines through more brightly than many of our community members and businesses may even realize. When I initially came to the area as a tourist, I was struck by how friendly everyone was. To my amazement, when a local retail store didn’t have an item I wanted, I was cheerfully referred to a vendor across the street. I remember at the time thinking how odd it was for two competitive businesses to “share the wealth” so easily. Having come from a somewhat more bloodthirsty background in the corporate world, this was a foreign concept, but a welcome one.

Over the course of the next couple of years, I became a regular visitor to the area, spending time in each of our Harmony-Preston Valley, Root River Trail Town communities, and realized that that spirit of cooperation extends throughout the entire area. When Lanesboro’s Das Wurst Haus restaurant closed due to the owner’s retirement, I was quickly referred to Rosi’s German Restaurant in Houston as an alternative. When I asked where I could get a good piece of pie, The Aroma Pie Shop in Whalan, Village Square in Harmony, Pedal Pushers Cafe in downtown Lanesboro, and Birdy’s in Peterson all came highly recommended (and I have since tried them all!). Last November I decided to make this area my home. Accepting the Executive Director position this past March felt almost serendipitous!

Lanesboro has been awarded with a slew of  “Best of…” recognitions in publications both regionally and nationally, most recently in the Smithsonian Magazine’s Top 20 Small Towns to Visit in the USA in 2014, the Star-Tribune’s Best of Minnesota, and ArtPlace’s Top 12 Small Town Art Communities in the USA. All of the articles talked about the many wonderful “things” this area provides for visitors to enjoy. Yet none spoke of what I would consider the real “secret sauce” of what makes our area so special.

I have always embraced the “Everyone does better when EVERYONE does better” philosophy – in fact I have a bumper sticker next to my computer to remind me of it. Finding a place that actually practices that philosophy is the real “secret sauce” of what makes our region so special. These days, finding a person that has a genuine interest in working together to help their neighbors AND competitors is unusual. Finding a whole region of communities that do is incredibly rare.

Now, when folks ask me what brought me to the area, I don’t recite my elevator speech. I tell them I came for the secret sauce.

-Dee Slinde, Executive Director, Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce

 

UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE ‘BORO

*”Fiddler on the Roof” at the St. Mane Theatre (July 18, 19, 20 & July 25, 26, and 27)

*Buffalo Bill Days: Lanesboro’s City-Wide Festival (August 1-3, 2014)

*Exhibit “Summer Dreams” at the Lanesboro Art Center (through August 10, 2014)

*”Arsenic and Old Lace” at the Commonweal Theatre (through September 6, 2014)

*”Around the World in 80 Days” at the Commonweal Theatre (through October 27, 2014)

*Lanesboro Farmers Market (May through October, 2014)

For more information on these and other upcoming events in Lanesboro, 
please visit Lanesboro.com and check out our “Calendar of Events”. 
 

Lanesboro, MN: The “Write” Place!

July 19th, 2014

Lanesboro, MN is a great place for writers to visit, live, and create! How do we know this? Because of all the great literary happenings in our sweet little hamlet!

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Sometimes it’s amazing what you can overlook in your very own backyard. Recently it was pointed out to me that Lanesboro is a haven for writers. And it hit me that a) that person was absolutely correct and b) I should know this is true from personal experience. After all, I’m married to a playwright, who lives and works right here in Lanesboro.

Once a month I perform on “Lanesboro Live” and our producer and host, Damon Prestemon, brings in at least one author each month. I love listening to these fascinating, smart, and witty people as they speak passionately about the stories or topics which have stoked their creative fires, and I try never to miss a chance to add to my personal library when they do a book signing. And it’s wonderful to hear how each author is incredibly moved by their experience in Lanesboro! Authors come here to learn, to experience, to CREATE – just like the dozens of musicians, painters, sculptors, actors, et al who live and work in town. Maybe it’s the natural beauty of the bluffs and the river that inspires. Or the relaxed pace of life we enjoy here.

Yes, Lanesboro is a huge draw for artists of all kinds, but I never before stopped to think about what a mecca this is for writers as well. Just last week, the Commonweal Theatre hosted playwright Mark Brown from Los Angeles to lead audience discussion after a performance of his play adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days. The Lanesboro Arts Center offers up to four two- or four-week residencies from November through May to artists, including poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. And did you know that Lanesboro has it’s own publishing company (Shipwreckt Books), as well as several local authors who have had their works published? We regularly have both local and guest authors speak at the Lanesboro Public Library or do book signings at our businesses.

And, of course, the best place in any community to find new books is the local library. The Lanesboro Public Library hosts local and nationally-known authors for public readings and book signings. And recently our library was awarded a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council to have a mural painted in the entrance hallway, created by a local muralist working with local volunteers. The theme?  “Libraries Grow Community.” How perfect for Lanesboro!

Until next time,

Stela

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UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE ‘BORO

*Bronze Workshop and Pour (July 18 & 19, 2014)

*”Fiddler on the Roof” at the St. Mane Theatre (July 18, 19, 20 & July 25, 26, and 27)

*Exhibit “Summer Dreams” at the Lanesboro Art Center (through August 10, 2014)

*”Arsenic and Old Lace” at the Commonweal Theatre (through September 6, 2014)

*”Around the World in 80 Days” at the Commonweal Theatre (through October 27, 2014)

*Lanesboro Farmers Market (May through October, 2014)

For more information on these and other upcoming events in Lanesboro, 
please visit Lanesboro.com and check out our “Calendar of Events”. 
 

 

Summer in Lanesboro!

June 13th, 2014

WELCOME SUMMER!

So much to see and do in Lanesboro, MN!!!

20-best-small-towns-final

 We hope you will visit us soon and often.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE ‘BORO

*”Arsenic and Old Lace” at the Commonweal Theatre (through September 6, 2014)

“Around the World in 80 Days” at the Commonweal Theatre (June 20 through October 27, 2014)

Lanesboro Area Art Trail (June 20-22, July 11-13, August 8-10, 2014)

“Treasures from the Hill” Fundraiser (Saturday, June 20, 2014)

Summer High Ropes Challenge at Eagle Bluff Learning Center (Saturdays in June, July and August)

*Lanesboro Farmers Market (May through October, 2014)

For more information on these and other upcoming events in Lanesboro, 
please visit Lanesboro.com and check our “Calendar of Events”.
 
 
Motorists using Highway 16 west of Lanesboro in Fillmore County will encounter a detour
during construction to replace two bridges in a project that begins on Tuesday, June 3.
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Becoming an Outdoor Family at Eagle Bluff

May 27th, 2014

Outdoor Family Weekend at Eagle Bluff

June 7 – 8, 2014

Family

Get your family out this summer for some hands-on outdoor fun! Reconnect with family members in the great outdoors.  Class options include: archery, geocaching, fly casting, rifle range, ropes course, canoeing and more. Pre-registration required.

The weekend is co-sponsored by the Minnesota DNR:
Bringing Families and the Great Outdoors Together.

www.eagle-bluff.org

Contact Eagle Bluff ELC at 507-467-2437 for more information or to register.   Eagle Bluff is located 5 miles northwest of Lanesboro, Minnesota, just off Fillmore County Road 8.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE ‘BORO

*”Everything’s Coming Up Rhubarb” Concert at the St. Mane Theatre (Saturday, May 31, 2014)

*”Arsenic and Old Lace” at the Commonweal Theatre (through September 6, 2014)

*”Brand” at the Commonweal Theatre (through June 13, 2014)

*Exhibit “Inspiration in the Familiar” (through June 15, 2014)

*”Lanesboro Live” at the St. Mane Theatre (Saturday, June 7, 2014)

*Lanesboro Farmers Market (May through October, 2014)

For more information on these and other upcoming events in Lanesboro,
please visit Lanesboro.com and check out our “Calendar of Events”.