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Minnesota Vacation 2014

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Mankato was where we were staying for this part of our visit.  Vanda was kind enough to play B&B host, giving us a place to sleep & some breakfast before we headed to Madelia on Sunday and Monday.  On Tuesday, we (Paul and Anne) played tourist, and Vanda was our tour guide. 

This photo is slightly fuzzy, but check out her Scrabble earrings.

Evidence is clear (based on the sign) that Sibley Park existed when I lived in Mankato, but I suspect it wasn't as fancy as it is now.

Although she only had the point & shoot camera, Anne had fun taking pictures of the park.   

It has a playground and petting zoo area with animals loaned in from local owners.  One of the owners is also an employee of the park, and she was telling me about some of the goats.  3 of the 4 goats are 'fainters', a breed that literally faints if they get frightened.  Luckily, they weren't frightened while we were there.  Anne of course bought some feed for them.

In addition to the petting zoo area, and large expanses of lawn, and some walking paths, the park also has a nice flower garden area. 

Anne dubbed this the 'frog rock':

Diane's bench is very close to here.

From there we went to New Ulm.  There are some cute buildings in their historic downtown area.  We planned on visiting the local brewery, so we called them and got there tour times and asked for a recommendation for lunch.  The women mentioned a couple places, including Pepperboy and Larkspur.  The 1st was closed, so we poked our head into a different place and they told us that Larkspur was about 2.5 blocks down the road.  Well, we didn't see it.  So Anne ran into a bakery and asked a person where Larkspur was; the answer was to go back a block and a half.  Two blocks later we didn't see it.  So Anne asked someone else; the answer was just a half a block back towards the bakery, immediately before the alley.  This last piece of information was key, since immediately before the alley was a little place called Lola's.  Larkspur had changed their name about a year or so ago, but EVERYONE in town must still called it Larkspur. 

By this point, we decided to get lunch to go so we could make the tour.  The brewery is Schell Brewery, which is the 2nd oldest family owned brewery in the US.  Here is Anne with our tour guide, at the start of the tour.

The star attraction of the tour turns out to have nothing to do with brewing; a resident peacock was wandering around.

The tour itself was very enjoyable.  The brewery was founded in the 1800s.  It got through prohibition primarily by making 'near beer', which is beer that has been heated to burn off the alcohol.  They showed us a copper brewing kettle, which dates from around 1890.  It is now longer used for brewing but is still in use during the process.  This is obviously the 'south kettle', based on the sign on the wall.

At the end of the tour, we sampled some beers and selected one to have with our lunch, which we ate on the little deck behind the building.  Anne's selection was "Schell Shocked", which is a take off the German Radler style: grapefruit juice combined with beer.  She was, as the name implies, shocked by how good it was.

August Schell, the founder of the brewery, and his family lived right on the site (which is lovely).  He, his wife Theresa (who ran the brewery for a few years after August died), and their 5 children were fairly cozy in this house.

He later built a 'mansion', which was a good sized house, finished in 1885.  The house cost about $5000.  Contrast this to what they paid for the brewing kettle pictured above, a few years later, which was a handsome $25000!  (He was clearly willing to invest in his business.)  The grounds of the house is a pretty garden area open to the public.  We saw one family bring a picnic lunch. 



This was the last day of our vacation.  The next day, we headed back home.  Luckily we had uneventful flights both ways!


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updated June 2014