FOR ME, TRAVEL—MOST OF WHICH IS SOLO—IS VERY PERSONAL. IT IS AN ESCAPE, AN ADVENTURE AND A JOURNEY OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. I REALIZED, AFTER TALKING TO MANY WOMEN IN VARIOUS CIRCLES, THAT I MAY BE A BIT OF AN ANOMALY. TRAVELING ALONE WAS NEVER A BIG DEAL TO ME, BUT IT IS TO MANY WOMEN.

ROAD TRIP

I took my first big road trip to Austin, Texas. It was after an ugly breakup. Instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for myself, I reached out to a few outof- state friends to let them know that was looking to drive south for the week. I asked who wanted to have me as a visitor, and I wasn’t ready to say why. I had three responses within a few minutes, which was a boost to my self-confidence. Soon, I packed up my suitcase and my dog and started driving south.

The questions I started getting from family and friends went something like, “Aren’t you scared?” or “What if something happens to you?” My first thought in response to these questions was: “Would you ever ask a guy these questions?” I don’t know why these societal disparities still exist, but it’s not the 1950s. Lastly, dangers lurk in our own backyards as much as the next town over or several states away. So, respectfully, I kept driving the 21 hours there and back. I had a wonderful time and, as you can tell, am still alive.

 

CORN ON THE COB AND WATERMELON, TWO FOODS THAT SURELY SAY ITS SUMMERTIME IN MINNESOTA, ARE CELEBRATED EACH YEAR AT FUN-FILLED FESTIVALS IN TWO AREA TOWNS. NOW IN ITS 49TH YEAR, THE PLAINVIEW LIONS CLUB WILL AGAIN HOST CORN ON THE COB DAYS, AUGUST 15-19. THE FIVE-DAY EVENT, WHICH ORIGINALLY BEGAN AS A WAY FOR THE PLAINVIEW COMMUNITY TO GATHER TOGETHER AND CELEBRATE THE BEGINNING OF THE SWEET CORN HARVEST, IS FILLED WITH ACTIVITIES, MUSIC AND GRAND PARADE AND A GIVEAWAY OF SWEET CORN THAT JUST MAY BE THE LARGEST CORN FEED EVER.

CORN ON THE COB DAYS SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

The event kicks off Wednesday night with performances by gospel groups. The groups will perform in a tent set up in the parking lot at the Plainview American Legion. Thursday night, weather permitting, the film “Cars 3” will be shown beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran School playground. On Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be an antique tractor display at Park Side Elder Care, and in the evening, the firemen’s dance, featuring JT and the Gunslingers, begins at 8 p.m. outside Plainview Liquor Store.

There is lots of family fun scheduled for Saturday, including a fun run, beanbag tournament, kid’s games—such as a three-legged race, ice cream eating contest and corn cob toss—as well as a kid’s pedal pull, talent show and a kid’s water fight. From 8 p.m. to midnight, the band IV Play, from Mankato, will perform classic rock favorites at Kim’s Saloon & Grill.

 

 

May/Jun
2018

Counselor Wanted! Location: Africa

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Written by Allison Loftus

DEEP DOWN INSIDE ME IS A PASSION TO PLANT IN EVERY WOMAN’S HEART THE FUNDAMENTAL LIFE VALUE THAT SHE IS LOVABLE, WORTHY AND SIGNIFICANT. AS A CHILD I KNEW MY LOVE FOR PEOPLE TRANSCENDED THE BOUNDARIES OF MY BACKYARD. WHEN I WAS 5 YEARS OLD, I REMEMBER TELLING MY MOM THAT GOD HAD CALLED ME TO HELP PEOPLE. I DIDN'T QUITE UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANT UNTIL FATHER’S DAY 2007 WHEN I MISCARRIED BABY LOFTUS AT 13 WEEKS GESTATION. ON THAT DAY, A PATH WAS LAID OUT FOR ME THAT WOULD LEAD ME TO GRADUATING WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE IN COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES.

MY HEART KNEW

When the opportunity presented itself earlier this year for me to spend 15 days in Uganda providing mental health care for women of Kyampisi, my heart said, “Go.” My mind said many other things, but my heart did not hesitate. It knew I needed to go to Africa.

 

May/Jun
2018

Raising Rochester

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Written by Renee Berg

VETERAN ROADTRIPPER MEG HAFDAHL LOVES PACKING THE FAMILY’S RV AND HITTING THE OPEN ROAD WITH HUSBAND, LUKE, AND SONS FOX, 10, AND DEXTER, 6. THE COUPLE BOUGHT THEIR RIG A YEAR AGO AND SPENT LAST SUMMER EXPLORING. 

“The boys were big enough, and we wanted it to be a summer memory they looked back on with nostalgia,” says the Rochester mom. “Last summer we went to the Wisconsin Dells, as well as the Iron Range, Kamp Dels and a few other Minnesota places. We loved it!” 

THE JOURNEY, NOT JUST THE DESTINATION

Sarah Larson always heads to the family’s lake cabin near Itasca State Park with sons Reed, 6, and Trey, 4, for two weeks each summer. Larson has learned how to approach the five-hour drive for best results with her tykes. She packs a bag full of library books, sticker books, Matchbox cars, crayons and paper and props it in the back seat for whenever the boys get restless.

 

Mar/Apr
2018

Raising Rochester

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Written by Renee Berg

Spring break options that won’t bust the bank.

NO SPRING BREAK TRAVEL PLANS? NO WORRIES, THERE ARE PLENTY OF REGIONAL OPTIONS. HERE ARE SOME CLOSE-TO-HOME IDEAS.

FINDING BIG FUN IN NATURE

Pack some snacks and hit the road. No need to go far to find big fun in the outdoors.

Head to Whitewater State Park in neighboring St. Charles, urges interpretive naturalist Sara Holger, and check out the flowers coming up. Grab a flower ID sheet at the visitor center and hit the park on your very own treasure hunt, finding a variety of flowers as you go.

Hiking is another big hit at Whitewater in the spring, as is trout fishing and morel mushroom hunting. You can even help plant trees at Whitewater sometime in April. Check out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website (dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater).

 

Mar/Apr
2018

Shops in Oronoco and Pine Island

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Written by Alison Rentschler

Take a quick drive to explore nearby towns.

MANY OF US WHO LIVE IN ROCHESTER PASS BY ORONOCO AND PINE ISLAND ON A REGULAR BASIS WHEN DRIVING TO OR FROM THE TWIN CITIES ON U.S. HIGHWAY 52. HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN THE PINE ISLAND OR ORONOCO EXITS TO EXPLORE THE AREA? HERE ARE THREE PLACES YOU CAN CHECK OUT NORTH OF ROCHESTER.

BETTY SUE’S BETTER BREW CAFÉ

Betty Sue’s Better Brew Café is a bustling coffee shop in the heart of Pine Island. On a Saturday morning, it is filled with people chatting, having a hearty breakfast and drinking coffee or espresso drinks. The cafe offers homemade meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as homemade desserts such as pies and cakes.

Owner Bobbi Jo Kennedy says she bought the cafe in July 2017. “My husband is from Pine Island, and my girls are getting older, and it seemed like a good time. We wanted good food for Pine Island people.” Kennedy has lived in Pine Island for more than 20 years and her family–including her husband, their three daughters and her mother–also work at the cafe with her.

 

Jan/Feb
2018

Costa Rica, Baby!

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Written by Dawn Sanborn

A BEAUTIFUL WEEK COME TRUE

For several years now, my daughter and I have taken a vacation together around the time of my birthday in January—a welcome reprieve from the brutal  MINNESOTA winters. In January 2017, we headed to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

GETTING THERE

Our travel there took a long time and included both a plane and a bus ride. We arrived after dark in Cahuito, the resort town we were staying in, and we were famished. 

 

Nov/Dec
2017

Exploring Ireland

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Written by By Jen Jacobson

An adventure—and a friendship—for a lifetime

I’ve always been a bit Ireland-obsessed. I soak up every movie or book I can find that’s placed there, engross myself in Celtic mythology and always seem to be adding new Irish artists to my playlists. When I was 17, I bought my first Ireland calendar and reveled in the pictures of the cliffs and countryside. Each year after that, I bought a new version, saying I would stop once I finally booked my trip. 

After almost 20 years of dreaming and watching flight costs, I decided last fall that 2017 was the year to make that dream happen. As a single mom, that wasn’t the easiest call to make. Work and child schedules had to be negotiated; money had to be tucked away. But I was determined. I even picked up a second job solely to make sure money would be earmarked for the trip.

TAKING THE LEAP

I was finally going! Now the big decision: Did I have the guts to go alone? Sure, why not? Solo travel can be a blast, and some tour groups cater specifically to those going it alone. Bringing the kids along just wasn’t in the budget at this point. 

 

Nov/Dec
2017

Sharing Olde Fashioned Christmas Cheer

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Written by By Kim Zabel

MANTORVILLE'S COMMUNITY OF WOMEN

CHRISTMAS—A TIME FOR COMPASSION, CONNECTIONS WITH LOVED ONES AND THAT EVER-IMPORTANT SENSE OF COMMUNITY. MANTORVILLE’S OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS FEATURES WOMAN-OWNED BUSINESSES THAT HAVE SECURED THEIR FOUNDATIONS, AND THEIR SUCCESS, IN PARTNERSHIPS AND A GENEROUS COMMUNITY SPIRIT. 

COUNTY SEAT COFFEEHOUSE

Co-owners Kristin Alexander and Adrianne McNiff have been nearly inseparable business partners since 2007. But it hasn’t always been that way. Both wanted to open a traditional coffee shop, and both saw a need for one in the Mantorville area, so they decided to combine their talents. Adrianne has a degree in the culinary arts, and Kristin has a degree in marketing. Both spent years in their fields before joining forces. 

“It was like fate,” Kristin says. “We were both taking a risk. We didn’t really know each other very well, but we both had the same dream so we decided we were going to do it, hoping it would work.” The traditional coffee shop model quickly expanded to include all-day breakfast, gourmet coffees, homemade desserts and an ever-expanding menu. 

Kristin and Adrianne have felt supported and accepted by the Mantorville community. “There are a lot of women business owners in Mantorville. The local paper in Kasson used to have a huge section devoted to them,” Kristin says.

Much of their success is formed through the combination of Kristin’s marketing know-how and Adrianne’s culinary skills. “I am a pretty darn good baker,” Adrianne says. “We have really good pies and desserts here.” 

CREATIVE CHANGE HAIR STUDIO

Karrie Berg and RaeLynn Mattick became business partners three years ago. RaeLynn worked as a stylist at Creative Change and was renting her styling chair there but was looking for more. Karrie wanted to expand the business, so they became partners. In addition to hair, the salon also features spa services such as manicures, pedicures, massage, waxing and dermaplaning. 

Unlike Kristin and Adrianne, Karrie and RaeLynn had been friends for years before the partnership. “Karrie actually did my hair when I was a kid,” RaeLynn says. “She did my first highlight!”

“We are very approachable and friendly. I think one of the biggest stigmas with salons is that it’s intimidating to walk into them, but we get complimented all the time on how welcoming and homey it feels here,” she says. That welcoming attitude is evident throughout the Mantorville community as well. “No one is really in competition with one another. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed,” RaeLynn says. 

THE CHOCOLATE SHOPPE

Lynnette Nash is a people person. “This is who I am and what I do,” Lynnette says. “If I am not at the shop, I miss people. I’m the kind of person that will go out into a crowd and start talking to the people around me.” 

Lynette has the support of her family to help her do what she does. Her mom purchased the confectionery shop in 1989, and Lynnette bought it from her four years ago. Her mom still works in the shop, dipping chocolates by hand, and Lynnette’s daughter, Alexa, plans to come into the business when she graduates with her degree in food and consumer science. 

“This is very much a family thing. If I’m busy, my son comes here to help. My husband is here too. It’s all about doing the product and doing the product well,” she says. 

“The interesting thing is that the glass ceiling doesn’t exist here in Mantorville. Everybody just supports everybody,” Lynnette says. 

Mantorville invites everyone to celebrate Olde Fashioned Christmas on Saturday, December 2 with a candlelight tea, caroling and sleigh rides. You can even take the trolley to Mantorville with your favorite group of friends for Olde Fashioned Christmas from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Register at RochesterMNTours.com or call 507-421-0573.

Editor’s Note: Established in 1854, Mantorville was listed on the National Historic Registry in 1975. 

County Seat Coffeehouse
1 Fifth Street West
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Creative Change Hair Studio
516 N Main Street
creativechangehairstudio.com 

The Chocolate Shoppe
420 North Main Street
chocolateshoppe.co

Finds on 5th
3 5th Street West

Mantorville Art Guild 
521 North Mantorville Street
mantorvilleartguild.org 

Hubbell House  
502 N Main Street  
hubbellhouserestaurant.com

 


Kim Zabel works as a wellness instructor at 125 Live and the Rochester Area YMCA.

 

LORI FELTIS WAS DESTINED TO BE A RUG WEAVER. HER FAMILY STEMS FROM A LONG LINE OF RUG MAKERS ORIGINATING IN PRAGUE, Czech Republic, INCLUDING HER GREAT-GRANDFATHER WHO RAISED HIS ENTIRE FAMILY ON HIS RUG MAKING ALONE.

She grew up watching her grandmother make rugs, and now Lori owns her grandmother’s loom as well as her great-grandfather’s loom. Lori is the chosen one in her family to carry on the rug making tradition. 

“I am proud of my heritage, proud of my rugs and proud to be a farmer,” she says.

 

PERSONAL MEMORY RUGS

Besides her rug making business, Lori is the owner-operator of Feltis Farms in Stewartville. She grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and wheat—not to mention she has French Charolais cattle, chickens, peacocks, ducks, pheasants and geese. She also runs a CSA that provides eggs, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, rhubarb and nine different herbs for her customers. “We are a working farm, not just a hobby farm,” Lori says. “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here.” 

 

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