Get out, hit the road, take in the sites

Published 11:11 am Saturday, July 22, 2017

Since I listed the states from which we had not received visitors, we have now attracted Virginia.

In the last few weeks we have welcomed people from England and Ireland, Tennessee, New York, and Michigan to mention a few.

In talking to our guests, I have learned of many other historic homes in the U.S. and now have a list of places to visit when my husband and I achieve retirement. In case you are travelling in the coming months, I thought I would share with you about the places our visitors tell us about.

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The Ford Estates outside of Detroit, Michigan, have been recommended a couple of times. The homes of Henry and Clara Ford and Edsel and Eleanor Ford have been preserved as representatives of the early 1900s and of a symbol of the family’s hard work, ingenuity, and community relationships. The family, contemporaries of the Hormels of Austin, impacted the nation’s economy and now their histories are being shared through their beloved homes. Check out for information about visiting.

Did you know that Thousand Island dressing is so named because of the region where it originated? I admit that I did not know there was a group of islands in the St. Lawrence River referred to as the Thousand Islands region where apparently a local woman created a tasty dressing. And, I did not know that a castle was built on one of the islands.

A recent guest told me about the Historic Boldt Castle, which is officially located in Alexandria Bay, New York. Building began in 1900 by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt (think Waldorf Astoria) as a tribute to his beloved wife, Louise. Mrs. Boldt died months before the castle was completed. Inconsolable, Mr. Boldt immediately stopped all construction and left the property vacant for over 70 years. Now owned and operated by the Thousand Island Bridge Authority as a tourist attraction, the organization has invested over $15 million in restoration and improvements. Only accessibly by boat, the island offers guests a full day of beauty and history through its maintained grounds and building. Visit for more information.

If you are staying a little closer to home, I highly recommend visiting the well-known Glensheen Mansion in Duluth ( or Rochester’s Mayowood. To the south, you can visit the Brucemore Mansion in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which was built by the widow of Thomas Sinclair of Sinclair Meatpacking, in 1884 ( Or, plan a trip east to view the Hixon House in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Home to lumber baron Gideon Hixon from 1859, the house contains 90 percent of the family’s original collection ( The country is full of fabulous homes built by influential people.

Go visit them!

I think the words of Henry Ford would be endorsed by many industrialists who found comfort in their homes and the people within: “I believe a home isn’t four walls; it’s a place where you get the strength to go on.”

The Jolly Huntsmen

6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 27

Performing since 1961, the Jolly Huntsmen will bring high quality German polka music to Austin. Enjoy authentic, fun and entertaining music and dancing.

Bissen Family & Friends Band

6:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 14

Learn the history and music behind some of Minnesota’s greatest bands and singers. Popular local musicians will educate and entertain.