This month we welcome Marv and Carol Eggert of Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed & Breakfast to our blog. Marv and Carol returned to Minnesota in 2003 to start their lodging business after 25 years in Illinois. Marv is an avid gardener and freelance photographer; Carol is the inn’s homemaker and chef.
Hillcrest Hide-Away has been part of Lanesboro’s Christmas Inn Tour since it began five years ago. We asked Marv and Carol how they celebrate the Inn Tour and what makes the holidays special to them in Lanesboro.
What do you enjoy about the Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour?
Meeting new people and telling them about the history of our home, as well as how we came to be innkeepers. We have also learned a bit more about the history of our home. Carol really enjoys the planning and making the event as enjoyable for our guests as possible.
Do either of you have favorite decorations that go up every year for visitors to see? Do any of them have a special memory connected with them?
We have 2 types of decorations that we put up every year. Carol has a Santa collection that she has gathered for over 25 years. Recently we have added nativity scenes including one that has been part of the family for 38 years – a paper maché set that we have put out every year since we were first married. Marv used to have a little barn building he built out of weathered wood. Both of our our kids played with them all during the advent season, carried throughout the house and played with like toys. But before bed, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the wise men, and the shepherds all had to be returned to the nativity set.
Because of the Inn Tour, we have been accumulating a variety of ornaments and decorations indicative of the late 1920s and 1930s when our house was new. At that time electricity was very expensive or non-existent, so we have candles on the tree (unlit), a variety of handmade ornaments, and a little farm scene under the tree. Red was the predominant color with green only being represented in the natural decorations. Holly was used rather than poinsettias.
What recipes does Hillcrest Hide-Away use this time of year? Are there some that are special only to the Christmas Inn Tour?
Are any of the recipes family recipes?
Carol uses her grandmother’s recipe for cut-out cookies. She had a fresh batch ready for every visit, in a large tin under her sewing machine. Marv likes them more than his own mother’s recipe, although we do use Marv’s mom’s recipe for spiced cut-out cookies.
What do you enjoy most about holidays in Lanesboro?
The incredible beauty of the landscape, and the Christmas tree on the bluff that seems suspended in the sky on winter nights.
Are there any activities you be sure to attend every year at this time?
The community sing-a-long with Dan Choinard and the holiday play at the Commonweal. We also sing with the Elstad Christmas Cantata, which happens every year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
This year’s “Holiday Sing-a-long with Dan Choinard” is on Friday, December 20, 7:30pm.
Commonweal Theatre is featuring “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” this holiday season through December 22.
What is your favorite and least favorite holiday treat?
(Marv) My favorite holiday treats are what we called “angel food” candy. The other favorite is chocolate covered peanuts. Least favorite is anything with anise in it.
(Carol) My favorite is Grandma’s cut-out cookies. Least favorite is plum pudding. My mom was Welsh and she made plum pudding each Christmas Eve – the only YUCK of my childhood Christmas! Our philosophy when raising our kids was that Christmas Eve dinner should be something the kids would be enjoy. Sometimes it would be meatloaf, sometimes chicken, sometimes pizza!