Good ‘ol Minne-sota

For the last 10+ years on Labor Day Weekend we Nelsons + friends have gone camping somewhere lovely as that last summer horah. It is always really great and relaxing and full of fun people, great food and cool waters.

This year, the plans got scratched. So what to do on a holiday weekend that I have always had plans for? A stay-cation!

Mur and I kept our apartment as home base all weekend and it was fab-u-lous. No big commitments. No huge plans. Just lots of great food, drink, company and relaxation on a long weekend.

Saturday: The plan for the day was to do something fun. To fulfill that we decided to make the relatively short (and quite pretty) drive down to New Ulm, MN to visit August Schell brewing.

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The story behind the brewery was really interesting and one that I knew little about. It is the second oldest family owned brewery in the country. They will be celebrating their 150th anniversary next year so that means they opened in… {carry the 1}…1860. The story starts out with a guy named August. He was a German settler who took a wife, had some kids and moved to New Ulm, MN. Once there, he started out in a flour mill. German beer was hard to come by so he took it upon himself to find a solution. Enter August Schell Brewing. At the brewery they have an interesting tour through the museum which is mostly family heirlooms. One part that I found to be real interesting was how the brewery has changed hands over the years. At the age of 50, August found himself not able to keep working and handed over the majority of the work to his son, Otto. When Otto suddenly died, the reigns were handed over to his sister, Emma.  Emma later handed it over to her son and that’s how it has been since. In general, it is a real interesting family story of how they succeeded at the beginning, through prohibition and to this day.

So since I know only a little about the brewing process because I can’t seem to wrap my artsy brain around it, I don’t really know what we saw on the tour as far as mechanics go. There was some of the old brew stuff but little of the current brewing stuff is what I was told…

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But they did have a tasting room with quite a few different beers to try. That was nice because I so rarely have the opportunity to try several side by side to really see what they taste like and how they compare to one another.

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Now the brewery was just one part of the planned day of fun. The rest was on the road to and from. Weird Minnesota is an odd book. It has numerous random roadside things throughout the state including the largest ball of twine and the two story outhouse. I used that along with Roadside America to decide on our extra stops.

First stop: Hermann the German

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Hermann the German is a German tale of a man (Hermann) who led many tribes of Germans against the Romans in 9 A.D. He signified liberty and unity for future Germans and because New Ulm is so German, what better place to have a statue to remember a German hero. While it cost some serious $$ to go up to the statue ($1.50 a person – kinda steep), we decided it was totally worth it if for no other reason than the opportunity to make goofy faces and take lots of photos.

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After Hermann, the photo trail ends. We went and saw a German clock tower in downtown New Ulm. Wasn’t super exciting and we didn’t even stop the car. I do regret not taking a photo but I wasn’t in control of the brake petal. In St. Peter, MN there is a Pharmacy Museum. While we did honestly forget about it while driving through, should we have made it there, it would have been closed. And besides, we were to concerned about getting to the FAB-U-LOUS meat shop in some other small town on the drive {I have never had such good summer sausage!} And finally, we searched and searched for the Two Story Outhouse in Belle Plaine, MN but to no avail. Court Square was a very difficult street {or square, perhaps} to locate and we felt kinda weird pulling over and asking some random passerby, “Excuse me, can you direct us to the two story outhouse?”

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~ by jmnphotography on September 22, 2009.

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