Field Trip Friday: Pine Island

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Main Street in Pine Island

A stone’s throw from Rochester, just 15 miles north on Highway 52, Pine Island is a small town with plenty of activities for anyone who loves the outdoors! Grab the kiddos and your favorite wheels, then head to Pine Island for a charming change of scenery this summer and fall.

The Douglas Trail
Perfect for walking, jogging and biking; this paved 12.5 mile trail was developed along an abandoned railroad track. The trail crosses outstanding scenery, giving a glimpse of some of Minnesota’s productive agricultural land. You can also keep your eyes peeled for the vintage Whistle Crossing signs. The trail begins in northwestern Rochester, travels through the small town of Douglas (for which it is named), and ends in Pine Island. At the Pine Island Trailhead Park you will find a nice playground, picnic shelter, and bathrooms for public use. You’ll also find a self-serve bike repair station at the edge of the parking lot. On weekends in summer, Tribute Soda Fountain sets up their ice cream truck at Trailhead Park to help trail users cool off with a sweet treat.

Douglas State Trail trailhead

Borrow A Bike
Located right across the parking lot from City Park, in the old Butter Factory building, you will find “Borrow A Bike”. Here you can, of course, borrow a bike! In fact, your whole family can borrow bikes. They have a wide variety of mountain, road, youth, tandem and reclined bikes available for loan. They are open from 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, May through October. Borrowing bikes is always FREE!

One Tasty Treat and Homemade Arcade
Looking for a fun way to spend an evening? Play some games at the Homemade Arcade, and then walk around the corner to One Tasty Treat. The Homemade Arcade features coin-operated arcade games and also has board games for rent. One Tasty Treat is a new little gem that calls itself “a Snack Shop bringing you sweet and savory treats with BIG flavor in one small location.” Owner Carmen Garcia started serving her desserts at her previous restaurant in town, Let’s Go Tacos. After selling Let’s Go Tacos to new owners, she opened One Tasty Treat as well as the catering/event space at The Loft 108.  From cupcakes to street tacos, churros to sliders, One Tasty Treat has both sweet and savory treats available from 4-8 p.m. Monday-Friday (fall hours). The tricky part for me is deciding what to try!

Nature Preserve

Pack your fishing poles and check out the Nature Preserve on 8th St SE. There is a short natural trail around the pond as well as a fishing dock (please note: swimming is not permitted in the pond).

Pine Island Free Summer Concert Series
The Free Summer Concert Series is sponsored by the Pine Area People for the Arts (PAPA). Held weekly during the summer, the concerts are held at the Creamery (101 E Center St) or Bandshell Park (S Main St) on Sunday evenings.

My family and I call Pine Island home and have found that this town has a lot to offer, especially during the summer months. In addition to the activities mentioned above, Pine Island offers canoe/kayak launch sites, bowling, golfing, a zero-depth entry public pool, a weekly farmers market and more. We also encourage you to visit us in January when we host Winter Fest!

I invite you to come explore!

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Kahla hails from Wisconsin, but heard the siren (loon?) song of Minnesota calling as she selected a college. Then, after eight years living in the Boston area for graduate school, her family moved to Rochester in the summer of 2010. Kahla and her husband have two children: one daughter and one son. They enjoy spending time outside, especially on Rochester’s hiking and bike trails. She loves finding inexpensive ways to pass time, and also enjoys her favorite form of recycling: shopping at thrift stores and yard sales. An avid reader her entire life, working as a school librarian is the perfect fit for her outgoing, book-loving personality. She also enjoys running, baking and knitting. She loves spending time with her family, book club, and running group.

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