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Series: Dating Ideas Summer 2011: Lanesboro, Minnesota

One of the struggles couples have is not finding time alone and getting away from the home front to have fun together.  Having new experiences creates new memories and bonding times.

I suggest to couples I see that they find a time to get Out-of-Dodge once a quarter 4 times per year).  Some will go on vacation together or to a business conference once a year, but that isn’t often enough.  If you are lonely in September and your annual vacation or conference together is not until March, looking forward to that is not much comfort.

But if you went somewhere together in August and you have a trip coming up in early November, you can look back on the one you had and look forward to the one coming up so you can keep encouraged during a difficult time to hang in there and approach your daily burdens with a little more fortitude, grace and good humor.  That keeps everyone’s spirits in a proper place.

These quarterly trips don’t have to cost a lot of money, either.  The trip I’m reporting on today is a case in point.  We camped out at a private campground in SE Minnesota over Labor Day weekend.  Camping kept the costs to a minimum.  We had one day of rain, but that became our explore-the-other-towns day in our full-sized van and by evening it was clear and we were able to have our traditional campfire.

There’s nothing like relaxing around a campfire.  Park rules prevented us from bringing our firewood, so we had to buy firewood at the campground.  It’s a good thing I brought an ax because the firewood wouldn’t have burned so gracefully without a little splitting to make them more manageable sizes.  Chopping the firewood was part of the fun.

The camping trip over Labor Day is becoming a tradition in our family, with my sister and brother-in-law, Cindi and Craig, out of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  The year before we explored NE Iowa with my uncle Al and Aunt Sharon and the year before with my uncle and his wife, we drove our motorcycles over to Madison County and Pella, Iowa, while camping at Adventureland Campground in Altoona, Iowa.  A few years prior to that Cindi and Craig and I rode our motorcycles to the Apostle Islands area near Bayfield, Wisconsin.  This year we brought the motorcycle and scooters along and bopped around the area.  It was quite beautiful, with the bluffs and hills and river and corn rows and apple orchards.

These kinds of traditions give us things to look forward to and to plan for.  The thinking about them in other seasons becomes their own little vacation!  We’re hitting new areas each year and discovering new places and sites and fun things to do and great places to eat.

Lanesboro is considered the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.  Throw in the Root River Trail, which is considered the top bicycle trail in the state of Minnesota and you’ve got two top draws.  With the scenery and the recreational opportunities, it’s easy to see why it’s a great spot to visit.  In addition, the town has a significant Amish presence and there are tours to learn more about them firsthand.  We went to the local farmer’s market (sorry no pics of that) on Saturday which had a strong Amish presence.  They had very unique items, all homemade, of course.

Here’s a few pics to highlight our trip.  I hope it’ll encourage you to get out of the house with your wife or husband and discover new things!

Lanesboro is a sleepy river town right on the edge of the Root River in SE Minnesota.

Lanesboro has a quaint downtown with cool little shops and has many bed and breakfasts. It is both a motorcycle and bicycle destination because of the beautiful scenery.

Bicyclists are all over as the Root River Trail, Minnesota’s premier bicycle trail, runs through town. You can rent bicycles, inner tubes, canoes and kayaks for recreation along and in the Root River.

This couple, who owned an ice cream shop in Lanesboro, would play polka music for their patrons whenever the mood hit. Sadly, this was their last weekend as the owners were closing up and retiring. But, hey, where have you ever seen Polka Music in an ice cream shop?

Lanesboro is very hilly as the name on this store illustrates.

Mary Sue at our camping spot at Eagle Cliff Campground, 3 miles from Lanesboro along the Root River. We took our motorcycle for side trips in the area.

Eagle Cliff Campground also had a motel where Cindi and Craig stayed. Their balcony view looked up at the bluffs for which Lanesboro is famous.

You can see the bluffs behind my motorcycle, but this picture doesn’t do them justice. Cindi and Craig’s motel is just behind me where I took this picture.

In the little town of Whalen, just up from our campground, we found this quaint restored gas station from the 1940’s. Very original and very cool. You can see Cindi and Craig’s scooters.

Inside the replica 1940’s garage. He had way cool stuff like this all over. It reminded me of the shop my dad took his old Pontiac station wagon to when I was in grade school.

The Aroma Pie Shop (across the road in the picture above) in Whalan was a hit with all of us and our favorite stop. The bicyclists lined up out the door as the pie shop was right on the Root River Trail.

The humming bird that came for a visit while we ate our French silk and coconut cream pie in Whalen. You can’t plan these sorts of things.

Mary Sue trying out Craig’s scooter with Cindi on hers. Mary Sue wants one now!

We took some county roads to places unknown. The scenery was incredible. I’m sorry my pics don’t convey the majesty. You’ll just have to go yourself!

Craig and Cindy overlooking the waterfalls in Lanesboro from a church parking lot high up on the bluffs over town.

Mary Sue and Bing

Links of interest:

Lanesboro, Minnesota

Eagle Cliff Campground, Lanesboro, Minnesota

Aroma Pie Shop, Whalen, Minnesota

Root River Trail


Check out these other travel blogs from this summer by Dr.  Bing Wall for dating ideas with your spouse around Central Iowa:

Series: Dating Ideas Summer 2011: Rochester and Mantorville, Minnesota

Series: Dating Idea Summer 2011: Downtown Cedar Falls

Series: Dating Ideas Summer 2011: Awesome Date or Family Time Idea: The Des Moines Farmers’ Market

Series: Dating Idea Summer 2011: Des Moines Farmers’ Market, Part Two


Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.


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