Monday, October 7, 2013

The Three-Legged Trip: Part 1 - Lanesboro

Ain't it the truth?  The more time that passes after a vacation, the more the details and charm of it fades.  It's been over a month, but I'll attempt to recapture the essence of our late August road trip. 

I was hoping for a warm weather vacation at some point this year since our earlier trips to Chicago, Duluth and Spring Green were all COLD and RAINY.  I got my wish.  As we were driving down to Lanesboro, MN (which is just a bit south of Rochester), it was raining; it rained later that night, but for the rest of the trip it was 90s and HOT.
Lanesboro Falls

I think the best part of traveling to small towns is that there's a limited amount of things to do, and so whatever there is to do is excellent and focused and sort of the feature of the town.

View from the hill
Street View
For Lanesboro, it's all about biking, arts, food, and wine.  There's a scenic rails-to-trails bike path that runs along the Root River, and we went in the morning before it got too hot. 


It's always tricky traveling when you have food allergies, especially if you're going to small towns.  In Lanesboro, we stayed at an artist loft on Main Street that's above the Lanesboro Arts Center.  It had a full kitchen so I could make and store my own food items, and it was also a great space just to hang out.

We also found a few restaurants that could accommodate my allergies.

The first night we went to Los Gables, a Mexican Restaurant in Fountain, 9 miles away.  The woman who seemed to be in charge knew what she was doing, but I kept an eye on the kitchen staff and noticed that person making my burrito seemed to be a little geared to the routine of grabbing the regular flour tortilla.  At the risk of being obnoxious (vs. having to deal with gut problems that could spoil my vacation), when my food comes out I ALWAYS ask again and or say, "So, this is the gluten and dairy free burrito?"  And the server paused, "Oh, wait a minute," she said.  She sent it back and they made me a "safe" one.  Other than that, no problems here.

A few doors down from where we were staying was a place called Pedal Pushers.  We went for coffee one morning and also inquired about food.  I was amazed that they had a gluten free vegan bread that they used on their sandwiches.  So, we went there for lunch and I had a turkey club.

"Where in the world did you get this bread?" I asked.  It was soft, yet it had substance, like a healthy Wonder bread.

"We get it shipped here from the Twin Cities, a place called Sysco Foods."

"No kidding?"  So I've been scouting for that bread, hoping they don't just sell it to restaurants but maybe they can sell it to regular folks like me.

Another great place we went to for dinner was called Intermission next to the Commonweal Theatre.  Someday we'll go to the show at Commonweal, but we've always been a little sticker shocked by the cost of the ticket prices.

Anyway, Intermission was a great place to eat.  We had mixed green salads with blueberries and walnuts.  I had a Cajun blackened fish with a rice pilaf and a side of vegetables.  And my spouse had a shrimp and pasta dish with a vegetable side.

 After a few bike rides, some hikes through the town and some visits to the local galleries and shops, our last stop was the Scenic Valley Winery.  We had been there several years earlier - might have been over ten years ago, and at that time they had about six featured fruit wines.  I remember getting the apple and the plum.  This year they have several more wines including an onion and a garlic cooking wine.  I also sampled a rhubarb wine which would work for all-purpose cooking.  They also had a really great peach wine, ruby red grapefruit and the wild blackberry which was up for tasting, but I'm looking forward to enjoying it during the upcoming colder months.

Scenic Valley Winery

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