Field Trip Friday: Zumbrota

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Pockets of culture and distinct spaces can be found in small communities scattered throughout Minnesota. Each one has a unique history and experiences just waiting for you and your family to discover. Zumbrota is one of those treasured places. Located about 20-25 minutes north of Rochester on Highway 52, it is just a short drive away. It is well known for its famed covered bridge, focus on the arts, and its emphasis on shopping experiences. It is the perfect Saturday morning girlfriend’s day-out destination or a fun and safe place to explore small-town living as a family.

For a girlfriend’s day-out:

Grab a morning cappuccino at Bridget’s Cafe with a pastry or order from their full breakfast menu along with your choice of various coffee shop beverages. Or visit the Coffee Mill to try their mouth-watering (from scratch) cinnamon rolls, Saturday breakfast brunch, or you may want to return for lunch when they serve their dinner specials and follow it up with a slice of their world-famous pies. These pies are so good that in 2011 President Obama put the Coffee Mill on his list of places to stop and ended up buying $60.00 worth of pie.

After your breakfast treat yourself to some pampering. There are multiple hair salons, but I recommend getting a facial or haircut at Audra’s on Main (conveniently located next to Bridget’s Cafe) or book a mani-pedi or another spa experience at Ah-Sirt. Now that you are looking fabulous, enjoy the eclectic, local, and unique shopping experiences found on Zumbrota’s main street and just around the corner. These shops are a mix of boutique and craft items to locally produced products. As you shop check out the Art on Main banners designed by local artists sponsored by the Zumbrota Area Arts Council.

Some must-see shops: Luya’s Shoes and Other Fine Things, Wild Ginger Boutique, My Happy Place, Flowers on Main, for all your quilting needs, and Phenomenal Woman and Chubby Chicque Boutique, shops for affordable and adorable plus size fashion. There is also now your favorite Rochester store Dwell Local expanded to Zumbrota.

End your day by visiting an iconic covered bridge. Located at the Trailhead of the Goodhue Pioneer trail and Covered Bridge Park. The bridge is the only functioning covered bridge still in existence. Winter 2019 caused the roof to collapse, but it is in the process of being restored and still, makes a great photo opt for the end of the day. Also, if you want to take in some local theatre or a concert and occasionally an old movie check out what the State Theatre is offering. They feature everything from classical movies, to concerts, and musicals by the Zumbrota community theatre group, Z-Theatre.

downtown Zumbrota

For a small-town family experience:

Load up your bikes, or scooters, pack snacks, or a lunch. Park at the Goodhue Pioneer Trailhead located near the Zumbrota Public Library. If the library is open, enjoy their children’s section, and then head out on your wheels over the iconic Covered Bridge. The Trail goes on for about 5 miles. There is an awesome playground that every kid will enjoy at the park. Or if outside activities aren’t your thing,  stop by Threads & Things and pick up a made-for-kids DIY kit to assemble in their studio. Multiple options are available. Kids will enjoy stopping at My Happy Place and the basement of Crossings has lots of fun art supplies and activities for kids. Find historic items around town such as a working phone booth and an army tank. In the winter, bring your ice skates along to enjoy free skating at the ice rink at the Covered Bridge Park.

After all, that energy is out. Enjoy lunch at one of the multiple family-friendly restaurants like the Coffee Mill, Bridget’s Cafe, Covered Bridge Restaurant, or stop by the Pizza Kabin for homemade pizza (includes gluten-free), wings, and craft beer, or dine at one of the various fast-food restaurants.

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Melissa Meyers, along with her best friend a.k.a. husband John and two kids worked in Central Asia for ten years with a Christian development organization. Native to Minnesota in 2014, they returned to the greater Rochester area, where she proclaimed to her children, Malcolm (now 11) and Emily (8) it was time to learn “all things Minnesotan.” She is a Neonatal Nurse at Mayo Clinic. Some of her adventures can be found at Thrive Connection, a magazine focusing on Global Women. As a family, building community, spending time at church, staying active, and screen-free times are top priorities. Reading, drinking more coffee than is probably good for her, bird-watching, and painting pictures of coffee cups are her hobbies.

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