Travel treats can be found next door

Published 5:23 pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

Some of the best summertime memories can be found closest to home.

In the past couple of weeks we have taken a couple of local trips including Clear Lake, Iowa.

Visiting the Surf Ballroom was a real treat. Our guide told us the original site was destroyed by fire in 1947, but was rebuilt on the original location. It was restored to its original splendor in 1994.

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It might be best known as the site of Buddy Holly’s last concert.

Holly, along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, all died in a plane crash north of Clear Lake following their performance at the Surf in the early hours of Feb. 3,1959.

In 2009 the Surf was designated as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. A display of photos featuring the many musical groups that played the Surf encompasses an entire wall.

One of our travelers was celebrating her birthday that day and reminisced on the many times she came to the ballroom as her husband played with big bands from our area.

The Surf continues to host big bands on Sunday evenings during the summer, to a full house.

Thursdays on Main was quite an event in this resort town. The huge flower hangings decorating their downtown area, with music and crowds mingling in the park area made for a real gathering area. It was the summer day we have all been waiting for.

Another “close to home” trip this past week was our neighbors to the west, Albert Lea, another city built around two lakes with a growing population.

Our motorcoach guide, who is a native of Albert Lea, drove us around many areas pointing out all their industry, including their new round school, which is built with an outdoor classroom, the expansion of its Mayo System branch and many of the parks, and pavilions, all of which we wouldn’t ordinarily do on just a stop in their city.

The Marion Ross Performing Arts Center was our main reason for this visit to Albert Lea.

Boasting productions for 48 years, this show was an exception. Marion Ross, a native of Albert Lea, and actress, who we fondly remember as Mrs C. in “Happy Days,” returned to her hometown.

The opening night show had Ross welcoming all us from the stage. She was delightful, warm, beautiful and charming lady.

The production of “Happy Days,” has a large cast of actors from the surrounding area. The play was played out mostly in the malt shop. The Fonz was a main character, along with the Cunningham family. It was lively and fun, and a production everyone could take their family to. The scheduled run is from July 10- 20.

At the end of the show, Marion Ross was available for casual photos, and some fun conversation.

Our next outing is to the Chanhassen dinner theater for “Joseph, and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” on July 31. We can still take reservations if you act quickly.

 Upcoming trips

•Aug. 15: Annual Mystery Trip. Another destination our travelers have not been.

•Aug. 26: Minnesota State Fair on Senior Day.

•Sept. 10-11: Waterloo two day trip

•Oct. 3: Stillwater Luncheon Cruise and City tour

•Oct. 13-19: Nashville Tour

•Nov. 13-16: Branson Christmas (includes Kansas City)

Call 507-438-3946 or 507-433-9391 for more information.