A restored 1800’s village, tubers, and a Amish Community.

While some of the group from the Red Wing Photography Club was well underground touring Mystery Cave, Jeff, Dan and I were traipsing through the back roads of Southeastern MN.  After the groups photography tour of Mystery Cave, we met up above ground and proceeded to our next stop… Historic Forestville.  This restored 1800’s village is operated by the Minnesota Historical Society and has some great photo opportunities.

Lunch time 🙂 A stop in Lanesboro, MN was needed to fuel our bodies and of course to photograph the surroundings…  A hidden treasure, this small town is nestled in the Bluffs of the Root River Valley and offers that hometown appeal with spectacular views.  A must stop if ever in the area.

As Dan and I broke away from the group and made our way back home, we ran into many interesting sites and an Amish community.  I still remember us driving down a dirt road when, off in the distance,  we noticed two horses and their riders headed our way.  The car slowed and eventually came to a rolling stop as the riders approached.   The riders, probably brothers, one on a horse and the other on a pony, were Amish boys.  Both boys were waving “hello” and had a grin on their face from ear to ear as they came barreling past our stopped vehicle.  A site not captured on film but saved in the memory banks of our mind forever.   The friendliness and hard work of an Amish community will forever amaze me.

All and all, the day was filled with many surprises, laughter, and learning.   Thanks to Dan, Amy, Jeff, Kendall, Ken, and Linnae (friends and fellow members of the Red Wing Photography Club) for the great adventure!!  I hope to take part in many more group trips this year!

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Lines, lines, and more lines… Birthday Weekend Day #1

Early Monday April 16th 2012, I received an email from Dan with an cryptic image attached stating “It will take us a little over three hours to get to our destination.  We can drive straight there and check in or shoot along the way and check in when we get there – whatever we want to do.  I’ve attached a detailed map of to our destination.  That’s all the information I can share.”
Lines, lines, more lines and a river?  Hmmmmm.

Weekend Birthday Map

My email reply to Dan… “Trying to figure out the trace of a map you sent!  Internet and the Minnesota and Wisconsin maps are in my sight; would this trip have anything to do with round barns and Monroe County?”  It turns out that the “lines” was a travel route leading us to the beautiful Vernon and Monroe Counties in an area of Wisconsin known as the driftless area.  See the detailed maps of Vernon and Monroe Counties for the location of the round barns and covered bridges.  The maps are another story for another day as the “X” didn’t always mark the spot 🙂

Off to a friends house for great conversation and a breakfast of champions (Thanks Linnae).  Hugs as we walked out the door and a wave as we headed on our way. Little did we know- we had a small stowaway named Hans.  Hans caused quite the stir back home when he was found to be missing but he was a good travel companion and enjoyed his time away from home.  Keep a watchful eye out for Hans in the images as he LOVED his picture taken.

Located in southwestern Wisconsin, Vernon and Monroe County is a land of scenic beauty and is in the Driftless Area of the upper midwest.  Glaciers surrounded but did not pass over this land.  From craggy buttes and mesas that once were islands rising from the wooded bed of a great glacial lake and grand marshes where bright red cranberries and mosses grow, Monroe County features a plethora of breathtaking views.  This serene countryside is truly an astounding sight and it’s roller coaster like roads were fun to travel.  Up, down, up, down, up, down… you never knew what your eyes would lay upon at the top of the hill or the bottom for that matter.  Our destination?  Justin Trails Resort in Sparta, WI for a long photography weekend retreat.  Check out Dan’s images from the day at his blog titled Driftless Area Weekend – Monroe County, Wisconsin – Day 1