Getaway to Chicago: The Paris of the Prairie

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

With the release of his poem “Chicago” in 1916, Carl Sandburg put Chicago squarely on the map. The poem celebrates the proud working class residents of Chicago and the impact the city had on the growth of this country. The poem also vaulted Sandburg to celebrity status in Chicago.

Chicago is commonly known as the “Windy City,” and most folks assume the nickname refers to the epic winds that blow off Lake Michigan and whistle through the cavernous skyscraper-lined city streets. But, in fact, the moniker was a result of the many brash and long-winded politicians of yesteryear. Chicago is also lesser-known as the “Paris of the Prairie,” as city planners, a century ago, had great plans to design the city similar to Paris. However, when the Great Depression hit, much of the plan was abandoned.   

Chicago itself is a study in contrasts—a metropolitan oasis nestled between the aquamarine beauty of Lake Michigan and the corn fields of the Midwestern plains. Chicago is an amazing city, truly a world unto itself. 


If you enjoy traveling and you are age 55 or older, you may be delighted to know that Home Federal Savings Bank recently created its own travel club and whisked members away on its first regional adventure last fall. The travel club is very popular already, and they’ve only just begun.

Home Federal’s Jubilee Travel Club offers members a variety of travel options: day trips, regional trips and extended trips. Many members go on several trips each year because they love the diversity of trips offered. Home Federal’s travel club attracts a variety of travelers: singles making new friends on the trip, girlfriends enjoying a vacation together and couples enjoying time with each other. One thing all of the travelers have in common is their eagerness to have a great time and make amazing memories.   


Did you know that you can fly nonstop from Rochester to Atlanta? Atlanta is like another world, nestled within the deep south. It’s the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement and the land of peaches, pecans and peanuts. 


The great thing about flying is that it can transport you to another world in a matter of a few hours. In this case, you can be in Atlanta after a short two and a half hour flight. Delta offers daily flights from Rochester, Minnesota (RST) to Atlanta, Georgia (ATL), and upon arrival in “A-town” or “Hotlanta,” as the locals call it, you will find yourself immersed in a vast metropolitan area. 

Because you can catch a direct flight to Atlanta from Rochester, you may want to consider a quick  get away with family, friends or your special someone. there is a wide variety of things to do in Atlanta, depending on your interests, budget and time.


March, whether it comes in like a lion or a lamb, is a great month to grab some friends or your family and travel east of Rochester to Mississippi River and Lake Pepin. Businesses that have been closed all winter fling open the doors and let the sunshine—and customers—back in.  Even those that are open year-round often have a new feel to them as the shopkeepers are gearing up for the busy summer season ahead.


 If you are looking for a bit of the tropics right here in Minnesota, check out The Lagoon Water Park and Wave Spa at Treasure Island Resort & Casino. Just upriver from Red Wing, the casino’s new offerings are sure to be fun for the whole family. The Lagoon even includes hot tubs and a swim-up bar for the adults. The Wave Spa offers a variety of services, and you can reserve it for private parties.



Stewartville's Own Little Known Historic District

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Written by Debi Neville

Did you know Stewartville has an historic “Silk Stocking Road?” Neither do many Stewartville residents, according to Pat Johnson, librarian and history buff.

“You mention that term and many look surprised, but it was called that in the early 1900s. It’s an area along Lake Street, just off Main Street,” she says. “People named it that because if you could afford silk stockings, you could afford to live there. It was a very desirable area.” At the turn of the century, the new homes were built by doctors, lawyers and prominent citizens of Stewartville. 


If you love to travel and you are age 55 or older, you may be interested to know that there’s a new group travel option in Rochester. Home Federal Savings Bank recently started its own travel club and had its first trip in September. The travel club has been a raging success already, and they’ve just gotten started.

Home Federal’s Jubilee travel club offers members day trips, regional trips and extended trips. Many members choose to take several trips each year and love the variety of trips offered. The travel club attracts a variety of travelers: Some are traveling alone and enjoy making new friends on the trip; others are girlfriends getting together to enjoy a day together; while still others are couples enjoying an outing within a group setting. One thing all of the travelers have in common is their readiness to enjoy themselves and make some fantastic memories.    



Our Area’s Own Christmas Teas and Decorated Homes

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Written by By Debi Neville

If You Haven’t Been There, Go! If You Have Been There, Go Again!

This year, the Mayowood Mansion Christmas tours will be held from November 7 to December 13, giving you ample opportunity to see this historic Rochester site like you have never seen it before.

The completely renovated mansion opens areas which have not been available to the public previously. The entrance on the back offers handicap accessibility and a unique view of the gardens and restored summer gazebo. The interior boasts new drapery, upholstery, furniture and a gallery of Dr. Mayo’s personal pictures.



Southeast Minnesota Ghost Hunters: Searching for the paranormal with Dr. Nancy Horvath

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Written by By Amy Hahn, Photography by Fagan Studios

For Dr. Nancy “Hawk” Horvath, professional ghost hunting “is all about the evidence, more than the experience.” Horvath explains that while paranormal experiences—such as seeing a shut door opening for no reason in a supposedly haunted building—are fun, the focus for her and her Paranormal After Hours Investigations team is documenting the evidence. And it is this that makes it all worthwhile. “You never know what you’re going to catch!” Horvath says.

Starting with a location’s history

Before obtaining evidence, Horvath says her team does “lots of research to create a contextual analysis,” learning about the site’s history, past events, previous residents and the time period they lived, belief systems and customs. 

The team also looks for “trigger” objects. “A trigger object is anything relatable or has a connection to those who lived in the building,” says Horvath. These objects can improve communication with ghosts. Paranormal After Hours Investigations brings cat treats for the ghost cat at Mantorville’s Historic Opera House and a baby doll for Ellen,



Our Area's Own: Haunted Houses

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Written by By Debi Neville

History Whispering

Considered one of the “most haunted” properties in Southeast Minnesota, Mrs. B’s Bed and Breakfast in Lanesboro has a litany of tales to tell. Current owners, Trish Capua and Matthew Vedder, heard about the ghosts when purchasing the property a short time ago but have their own personal encounters to relate.

“We hear and see things daily. Lights go on and off with no explanation; footsteps are heard throughout the hotel. They never bother. I just ask that they let me sleep,” says Trish with a chuckle. 

Some suspect it may be Buffalo Bill or Doc Powell from the Wild West show which was once in town. Others see a child bouncing a ball. Laughter and singing have been heard coming from…nowhere. In the main lobby and dining room, staff and guests have heard sobbing, crying and unhappy sighs.




The 49th Annual Red Wing Fall Festival of the Arts will be held in historic downtown Red Wing, where artist booths, food vendors and various musical acts enliven the streets for the weekend. It is a very popular event, and typically over 10,000 people pass through Red Wing for the festival. Artists come from all over the upper-Midwest to show their artwork.

The fine art festival features 100 artists and their wares. “It’s a beautiful time to come to Red Wing,” says Dan Guida, executive director of the Red Wing Arts Association. “It’s a really spectacular weekend.” 

The juried show includes woodwork, fiber and fabric, watercolor, glasswork and metalwork, in a wide variety of sculptures, paintings, jewelry, pottery and apparel. The bright colors and mixed media of the artists’ work are truly inspirational, and visitors will find it hard to leave with empty hands.



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