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!