We wanted to spend our anniversary at a state park, and what better place to visit in early spring than Nerstrand Big Woods, the exclusive home of the endangered dwarf trout lily? Faribault is close by, so we decided to make it an overnight trip and visit the park in the morning. I was surprised at how quickly we arrived: it’s just 35 minutes south of Lakeville. Far enough to be out of the Twin Cities, yet still reachable when beginning the journey after the workday.
After picking up some dahlia bulbs and plant markers at Farmer Seed & Nursery (the building with the giant Northern Grown Faribo Seeds sign painted on the side), we checked into our bed-and-breakfast, the Historic Hutchinson House. We stayed in Johnson’s Pride, which is just underneath the building’s iconic turret, so the room had a sitting area in an angled alcove.
In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the kitchen table rather than the bigger dining room table, since it was a spring weekday so there was only one other room booked. Host Tami showed us around and told many stories about the house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
And she told us we couldn’t leave without stopping at Faribault Woolen Mills.
We spent quite a bit of time in the store and carefully considered practically every item before choosing a beautiful yellow blanket, which is handy now that we are in a Minnesota winter. I’m charmed by the company’s tagline, “Loomed in the Land of Lakes.”
We would have liked to spend more time exploring the city, including touring the mill and visiting the cheese cave and the historic downtown, but all too soon, it was time to leave.
At least two things have changed since our visit in May:
- The restaurant where we ate dinner, Augusto’s, closed in July. When we were there, only one other couple was eating, so it’s not a big surprise, but it’s always sad to see a small business close.
- The Hutchinson House was voted Best Hotel, Inn or B&B by Southern Minnesota Scene readers. I can’t compare it to others in this category, but the title is well-deserved from what we experienced.
As for the park: we saw lots of trout lilies but no dwarf trout lilies — but that’s a story for another day.
Historic Hutchinson House
Visited: May 7-8, 2013
Faribault Woolen Mills
Visited: May 8, 2013