There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot
be realized until personal experience has brought it home.
– John Stuart Mill
In an attempt to organize photo albums in Lightroom, I ran across a few that I have not reviewed. The images published today are from back-roading in the charming area surrounding our home, Southeast MN and Southwest WI. Working on these images brought back wonderful memories and will display buildings that are not standing any longer.
For instance, the images of the one room school house in Elgin, MN seen below, is no longer standing. Visit an earlier post from 2014: When the School Bell Rang
The next couple of images are views seen around our area due to Frac Sand Mining. I still remember passing by the beautiful trees, hills, and marshes, when all of a sudden we ran into a large mound of golden sand. Thankfully, the Frac Sand Mining industry here in our area is dying down.
While we are blessed to share our lives now with “the new kids” on the block, Clover and Lucy, we will forever miss the two inseparable, mischievous, opportunists we called Tindra and Audrey.
Enjoy the sights from this day as we traveled the small towns and dirt roads.
Found… The long lost album. Over a year old, I still remember this album well; coming across this one was a fun find which brought back wonderful memories. We ran across a few faces, and a couple of properties left behind on this day. Both of the furry girls pictured are not with us today, but are still missed, and what we think is a 2-story schoolhouse was a chance find. Driving down the country roads in Wisconsin, I happened to spot the bell tower of this magnificent building; we stopped and captured what we could. Unfortuately, both Dan and I could not find much information on this building, but I know there is history here. Someday, it would be interesting to find out more about this property, but then again, we would have to find it again 🙂
On this day, Dan and I decided to take a short trip and venture down to Reads Landing in Southeast MN. We followed the mighty Mississippi as it twists southbound from Red Wing; our first stop was a small beach in Old Frontenac.
This small town was originally established in 1857 with the name Westervelt, the name changed in 1860 to Frontenac by brothers who owned large tracts of land in the area. At that time, Frontenac soon began to attract wealthy residents and became a community of summer homes with Lakeside views of Lake Pepin. Frontenac is indeed a beautiful little town, we visit Frontenac State Park often and will stop by the little beach on occasion. On this day, the girls had fun in the sun and sand.
Heading south on Hwy 61, our next stop was Lake City. We did not stay long but had enough time to walk the marina to see the sails that are waiting for warmer weather.
Our final destination was Reads Landing, MN and Reads Landing Brewing Company. Originally founded in the mid 1800’s, Reads Landing soon grew to a major river town located at the mouth of Lake Pepin. In the late 1880’s the town began decline and most businesses relocated to Wabasha. Interesting fact: According to Wikipedia, “At one time Reads Landing was considered a possible site for the Minnesota State Capital.” Although there is not much left in Reads Landing, it is home to Reads Landing Brewing Company. I would recommend a stop in to try some of their hometown craft brew and a snack.
The birds were out, the sun was shining, and we all had such a wonderful time making memories that will last a lifetime.
After spending a day exploring and photographing The House on the Rock, our time off was coming to an end. We packed up the car and headed on our way back home but of course, we took notice of the surrounding views. Not only is the landscape beautiful in this area, the counties of Vernon and Monroe Wisconsin, also have some interesting barns, including many round barns. I encourage you to get lost in the countryside no matter where you reside; each state has its own unique features and architecture!
The beautiful rolling hills and bluffs that overlook the Wisconsin River Valley are breath-taking. Dan and I started and ended a weekend photographing Southeastern MN and Southwestern WI and experiencing the artist community in and around Spring Green, WI. This land is part of the Driftless area, which was left untouched by the glaciers of the Ice Age millions of years ago.
Driving the backroads and taking in the country air will forever be a favorite of mine. With every turn of the road, you may find an old barn, an abandoned farmstead, the Amish towns, interesting livestock, wildlife galore, or River valleys with breath-taking views… Wonders for a photographer’s eye.
Some of the main attractions of this area today include Taliesin, which after 1937, was the estate of architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and House on the Rock. We did not make it to Taliesin but we did visit House of the Rock. As a child, I remember walking these halls and seeing the many collections that reside here. As an adult, I was astonished and amazed that one man had this eccentric vision to create what we see today… The world’s most bizarre and immense collection of stuff.
This particular day, we were itching to get out of the house and so were the girls. We forget sometimes that the furry little ones go stir crazy in the winter as well when they can’t go outside to chase “Chippy” or “Bun-Bun”. They will often sit on the bed and look out the window searching the woods for four-legged vermin. As we were packing the car with the camera gear, the girls were bouncing off the walls. Take me, Take me, TAKE ME!
With their cute little faces, they win every time. We decided to travel around close to home and drove into the Hay Creek area; a small town just south of Red Wing on Hwy 58. A campground, an old western saloon, the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail, Hay Creek Stables, 15 miles of equestrian trails, and a blue ribbon trout stream. The beautiful valley’s that make up the Hay Creek day-use area is beautiful in every season.
After photographing some enthralling horses in the Hay Creek area, we then moved on to Bay City Wisconsin; a small town east of Red Wing on the shores of Lake Pepin. If ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping in for a bite to eat at “The Chef Shack” a delightful restaurant with the best service ever and mouth-watering food! We decided to drive out onto Lake Pepin (that felt weird) to gain a different perspective of the landscape. Maneuvering around the ice heaves and listening to the ice crack was unnerving and we didn’t travel too far onto the frozen lake… Call me chicken 🙂
All in all, the Traun Family enjoyed our time together. Please enjoy the images from this little, close-to-home adventure.
This trip brought us through the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest which is located in Southeastern Minnesota. The Zumbro River twists and turns as it flows through the lower Zumbro River Valley and right through this beautiful state forest..
When it comes to backroading, we have come across some “sticky” situations- The first that comes to mind is a trip we took that celebrated Earth Day literally, or take a peak at Dan’s post on our “Sticky” situation that one Earth Day as we made a Mud Pie. That, truly was a “sticky” situation that really got us stuck!
This day we were not stuck per say, it was the hope that the car keeps moving in the direction we wanted it to. Driving through the beautiful area of Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest and the Zumbro River bottoms after a winter ice storm may not have been the best idea ever, but we were enjoying the day. We stopped at the information area to view a map so that we may actually travel on a paved road. The shortest route was the path we chose, the road was flat and our Chevy Equinox was plowing through the fresh ice and snow perfectly. Well, the road (or one lane path) started heading up the side of a bluff. With no way to turn around, we had to move forward and finish our trek. One quick look out my passenger window and I noticed the step drop off, which caused a slight whimper noise to escape out of my mouth. We both knew that if we stopped, we were in some deep doo-doo. We look at each other and saw the worry in each other’s eyes. “I think we might be using up a ninth life right now”, said Dan. We held our breath and eventually made it to the top… WE MADE IT! With steamy windows we moved on down a safer path, giving thanks to both of our guardian angels.
Please enjoy the images from this particular trip in and around the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest in Winter.