Archive for the ‘Best of the Midwest Getaway Town’ Category

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 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



*”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”. 

Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The Bed and Breakfasts Inns of Lanesboro, Minnesota welcome you Sunday, December 2nd, to our Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour.  Join us for an afternoon of celebration and tour the Bed and Breakfast Inns that have made Lanesboro the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.

On December 2nd, we invite you to visit eleven beautiful Lanesboro Bed and Breakfasts Inns when we open our doors forthe Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour.  This self-guided tour will take you through Victorian homes to  European style farmhouses, all charmingly decorated for the holidays. Enjoy holiday treats and  brighten your holiday spirits in Lanesboro.

 Sunday, December 2nd,  2:00-6:00 pm

 Tickets $20.00 Advance Sales; $25.00 Day of Event

TicketsMaps and Information Contact The Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce 507-467-2696  or 800-944-2670

or go to and click  Where to Stay  / “Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour”

  Participating Inns: Anna V’s B&B,  Art Lofts,  Berwood Hill Inn B&B,  Fillmore House B&B,  Habberstad House B&B,  Hillcrest Hide-AwayB&B,  Historic Scanlon House B&B,  Inn at Sacred Clay Farm B&B,  Scandinavian Inn B&B,  Stone Mill Hotel & Suites,1898 Inn B&B

Contact Peter Torkelson 507-467-4500

New Massage Therapist at the Lanesboro Day Spa

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

CrystalStoneFlowersThe Lanesboro Day Spa is proud to announce the addition of a new massage therapist. Crystal Narveson is a Certified Massage Therapist who graduated in September 2009 with high honors from Minnesota School of Business with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Massage Therapy.  She opened her first office, Massage On Main By Crystal Narveson, in September 2009 and has now joined our team at the Lanesboro Day Spa located in the lower level of Stone Mill Hotel & Suites as a full-time therapist.

Crystal is professionally trained and is offering the following modalities: Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Hot Stone Massage, Bamboo Massage, Pregnancy Massage, Geriatric Massage, Body Polishing, Thai Massage, and Sports/Stretching. You can discover more about each of these modalities on our newly re-designed website

We are currently running a New Therapist Special to welcome Crystal to our team: As an introductory offer you can receive your first massage with Crystal for $5 off or 3 massages for $170.Must mention this ad at time of booking.

Sunday After Hours in Lanesboro, Minnesota

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012


The Lanesboro downtown business community will collaborate to create a festival atmosphere in town on Sunday evenings from 5-7 pm beginning Sunday, May 27 and running through Labor Day. Businesses will be offering discounts specific to the Sunday After Hours 2 hour blitz! Activities and deals will change weekly to include things like discounted shopping & dining, art experiences, chair massage, history talks, music and more. Look for the orange & white balloons outside the 20+ participating businesses.

ShoppingsmallLanesboro Area Chamber Board Member, Emily Spende, said, “The goal is to fortify and build upon what’s already going on in Lanesboro and expand the vibrant downtown experience.  This fosters continued long-range growth for the Lanesboro community.”

Contact: Julie Kiehne, Lanesboro Area Chamber 507-467-2696