Archive for the ‘America’s Prettiest Towns’ Category

Sharing Lanesboro is Good for Lanesboro

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Ann Han

Guest Post by Dee Slinde

As I’ve mentioned before, I get together with a group of longtime friends several times a year to get away from our busy lives and reconnect with each other. After copious levels of subtle hints, gentle cajoling, and eventually, downright nagging over the past few months, I’ve finally managed to get my ‘ let’s go up north’ friends to forego the annual fall colors weekend trip to Duluth. This year, they agreed to come to Lanesboro instead! Granted, it has something to do with missing the best fall colors due to the earlier than usual peak in the northern half of the state, but hey, whatever it takes to get them here, right? None had visited Lanesboro previously, and all have questioned my sanity for leaving the “Big City” to live and work in this rural community. The opportunity to show off Lanesboro during one of the most beautiful times of the year was exciting! The hardwoods that line the bluffs, trails and neighborhood streets were at full color by the second weekend in October, and they were all pleasantly surprised by the unique beauty we enjoy in Bluff Country.

The hardest part was figuring out how to share all that is Lanesboro with them in just 3 days. How could I possibly plan an itinerary for this eclectic group? My visitors included corporate and governmental leaders, customer service workers, artists, real estate entrepreneurs, waitresses, and more,  with the only common thread being that we’d all known each other for a long time. After a while, I finally gave up on the whole itinerary idea, and figured I would just let Lanesboro be Lanesboro. There is always plenty to do on any given weekend; let them discover Lanesboro’s charms on their own terms.

The Hoot on the Root Music & Arts Festival  was at the forefront of the schedule October 10-12, the weekend they arrived. There were plenty of local and regional performers playing, plus great BBQ provided by location hosts Smoky River BBQ. That became the hub where my visitors reconnected after exploring whatever interested them throughout their visit. The Lanesboro Area Arts Trail was taking place , as was Over the Back Fence; the Commonweal was doing one of the few remaining performances of ‘Around the World in 80 Days‘,  all of which were attended by at least some of my friends.  Others took an Amish tour or shopped. Some wanted fine dining while others wanted more basic fare. Some rented bikes, others went canoeing.

All in all, much of what makes Lanesboro such a great place to live, work and play was sampled by someone in my group, and perhaps more importantly, was shared with the rest of the group through enthusiastic conversations about their experiences in the community. In fact, the conversations continued long after the weekend ended, and have resulted in several ‘friends of friends’ coming to visit Lanesboro. Many from the group plan to come back to try out a few of our B&Bs, and some are planning to bring their families back in the future.

As it turns out, sharing our pride Lanesboro is also pretty good for our local economy. My new philosophy? Share if you care!





Just relax… Lanesboro, MN!

Friday, August 15th, 2014


Among the many accolades Lanesboro and Bluff Country have garnered over the years is the beauty and charm and peace of our campgrounds. This past Memorial Day weekend, I was out at Eagle Cliff Campground visiting some friends and while I was there, I was struck by the sight of people staying at the campground, hanging out at their campsites and some of them simply sitting in captain’s chairs just hanging out and shooting the breeze. Some by a fire, some with a game of cards going, some with a drink in their hand. But what was mind-boggling to me was that they weren’t really “doing” anything other than relaxing and enjoying themselves. It reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite comic movies “Office Space”:  “I did absolutely nothing all day and it was everything I thought it could be”.

I don’t mean to get all philosophical or anything but this really struck me. I fall into that category that so many of us do. Ask me “so how have you been lately?”, and my answer is often “busy”. How many of us often say that? Too many. But I have been trying to rethink my answer to that question and not be so “busy”. This is hard! And I’ve started to realize that many of the visitors to Lanesboro have the right idea….to relax. To let go. To just be.

Now of course relaxing means something different to everyone. I love to sit and watch TV and knit and that’s how I find my “moment of zen”. My husband loves to write stories, and that’s what relaxes him. I have a friend who loves to bicycle for long distances and that calms his mind and gives him release from the day to day grind. What’s so awesome is that in Lanesboro we all can find our own unique way to relax and reconnect with ourselves, our family and with the world us. Maybe it’s poking through the shops downtown, or taking the time to absorb the artistry all around you at the Lanesboro Art Center. Maybe it’s dinner and a play at the Commonweal Theatre, or the Over The Back Fence show at the St Mane. Perhaps it’s sitting around the campfire with friends and family, maybe roasting hot dogs or s’mores. Whatever you prefer, sometimes we feel guilty about taking quality time for ourselves, and it takes someone else to suggest the idea before we seriously consider it. 

So here’s my invitation to you. Come to Lanesboro and relax. You deserve it!

Until next time,



*Lanesboro Barn Dance (August 16, 2014)

*Exhibit: Selections from the 2014 Minnesota Biennial (through October 12, 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 and check out our “Calendar of Events”. 

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

Friday, 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 Burdy’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



*”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 and check out our “Calendar of Events”. 

Liz Bucheit, Award-Winning Lanesboro Jeweler
{Handcrafted Bridal Jewelry MN}

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Liz Bucheit: Autumnal Tiara

Jewelry designer and goldsmith Liz Bucheit of Lanesboro, MN is a first place winner in the Bridal Wear Category of the Women’s Jewelry Association’s “Dazzle Diva” Design Competition.  The Women’s Jewelry Association, founded in 1983, is the preeminent association of professional women in the jewelry, watch and related businesses.  WJA, which operates through the national office in New York, comprises a network of 12 regional chapters and an international affiliate in India.  WJA hosts an annual “Diva Design” competition for jewelers and designers with a different theme each year.

Bucheit placed first in the Bridal Wear Category for her “Queen for a Day” bridal tiara hand- fabricated from sterling silver wire, hand-cut drusey quartz leaves and black and white pearls.  As a winner she will travel on an expense paid trip to New York City in March 2013 to the WJA Members Gala Event to receive her award.  Liz Bucheit is the owner of Crown Trout Jewelers in Lanesboro, MN.  Contact Liz at: 612-756-2908   www.crowntrout.comAutumnal Tiara