Minnesota Nice

Neither David nor I had ever been to Minnesota, so we were both looking forward to stopping there on our book tour. We drove into Minnesota from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, as I mentioned in my earlier post.

 

I spoke at two venues in Minnesota, one in Owatonna, the other in Spring Grove. On our way to Owatonna, we saw a sunset that I really wanted to get photos of, so David was kind enough to stop. Here is a shot of that sunset:

This looks like "Big Sky Country" to me, even though Minnesota is not known as such.
 
A group of ninety-five people showed up in Owatonna with people from all walks of life. It used to be that most of my audiences were made up of women, but there were at least a third men in this group, which was wonderful. To see photos of that event, you can click here.
 
We got a chance to drive around Amish farms and we took several pictures. These were taken around Harmony, Minnesota. 
 
 
 
 
The event at Spring Grove was held in the theater across the street from the library. We arrived early to set up. When I saw how big the theater was, I did not think we'd fill the place, especially when I found out that it seats 204 people. Dawn Johnson, Director of the Spring Grove Library, organized this event. She, David, and I drove east to the next town to have dinner before the talk. When we drove back into Spring Grove, we saw cars lining both sides of the street:
 
 
Dawn was so excited, she grabbed onto my arm and just kept saying, "This is for us! This is us! I can't believe it — this is for us! 
 
People kept coming, and kept on coming, young, old, and in between. There were about two seats in the middle of each row that were empty, and the rest of the theater was pretty full. The little town of Spring Grove (population in 2009 was just over 1,200 people) broke a record for my book talks, which had been set at 160 from my first one at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont. Spring Grove brought out 176 people. It is a gratifying feeling to have that many people interested in my talk.

 

 

 
This was the second time an Amish person came to one of my talks. She was with a cousin who is former Amish. At the end of the evening, we took photos of a group of us:
 
Dawn, the dynamite promoter, is on the far left.
 
I LOVED Minnesota. Now I know what people mean by "Minnesota nice" — the people there are so open and friendly. If I didn't know how brutal the winters are in Minnesota, I could easily make myself at home in Rochester, Minnesota — it's just about the right size and has everything one needs. In many ways, it reminded me of Burlington, Vermont, but without Lake Champlain. I hope I get to go back someday.
 
Have you ever been to Minnesota? If so, what parts? Did you like your stay there?
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5 thoughts on “Minnesota Nice”

  1. So happy for you about the big turnout! We travel to Minnesota every year to a town called Hackensack. It is about 150 miles north of Minnneapolis. We rent a cabin by a lake (same one every year).

  2. Barb, thank you for your comment. Your summer vacation sounds divine! I look forward to going to the parts of Minnesota that the state is known for – 10,000 lake! Apparently there are very few in the southeastern part of the state where we were.

    I’ll have to keep Hackensack in mind for our next trip. Thanks for your comment and have a wonderful weekend.

    Saloma

  3. I live next door (in South Dakota) and often travel to Minnesota. I thought I would add a few comments…
    The part of Minnesota that you were in is very much part of the prairie lands that dominate the southern part of the state. North of the Twin Cities, you get into more wooded and lake areas. Both have their beauty.
    On the prairie, sunsets and sunrises can be stunning. No, this area is not known as big sky country, but the sky is beautiful.
    People are nice in this area of the country. We might disagree over many things, but we depend on our neighbors and look after each other. Winters can be brutal, so we take our weather seriously and lend a hand to help out a neighbor in need. One example I use to describe that attitude in South Dakota (and Minnesota has that same attitude) is the Spencer tornado of 1998, which destroyed almost every building in the small town of Spencer one night. By mid-morning the next day, the radio was broadcasting pleas for people NOT to come to help–they had so many people (thousands!) that just showed up to help with the clean-up that they could not accommodate any more people. That is the kind of spirit that gives living in this part of the country its life!

  4. Hi Joanne! Yes, it was very exciting to have all those people in the theater.

    Anon, that’s an amazing story. Thanks for your comments about the spirit of the people in that part of the country. Sounds like the people would be the fun part… the winters not so much.

    And you’re right, the sky in the prairie lands of southern Minnesota is stunning!

    I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.

    Saloma

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