Lanesboro is located in southeastern Minnesota. It offers nature experiences, art, historical museums, camping, and a biking trail that is perfect for people of all abilities. Whether you are a novice or experienced bicyclist, you will appreciate the Root River State Trail. As you stroll the streets of Lanesboro, the charm will lure you in. While nestled in the bluffs of the Root River Valley, all-year-round experiences await you. You can be as busy or as relaxed as you want to be when you experience Lanesboro. I hope you will find a few things that interest you and start planning your visit.
Lanesboro History Museum
The Lanesboro History Museum is home to the model of the dam and area landforms as they were in 1868. The phone booth with stories is not to be missed. It’s fun to reminisce about the days of talking on a phone in an actual phone booth.
As a Norwegian American, I’m always intrigued by any museums that feature Norwegians. Elements of Norwegian culture including rosemaling (Scandinavian decorative carving that involves floral designs and inscriptions), farm tools, local history, and a scavenger hunt for kids are highlights of the museum. The museum is open May to October. Tours are available throughout the year by calling (507) 467-2177. The museum is located on Parkway Avenue right near the bike trail crossing. There is no admission fee; free-will donations are accepted.
Little River General Store
The Little River General Store is an all-season outfitter and a full-service canoe, kayak, and bicycle repair shop. You can rent a bicycle or a kayak for your outdoor experience in Lanesboro. Tube rentals are also available, along with a tube shuttle service. I was drawn to the building that this store is in. It is located in the middle of Lanesboro near the bicycle trail. The building has character. It’s the perfect home to numerous kayaks and bicycles, and a charming place to grab souvenirs and a few snacks for the road.
Stone Mill Hotel And Suites
The Stone Mill Hotel and Suites is located in the heart of historic downtown Lanesboro. Free tours of the historic inn are available throughout the day, so stop in and inquire. Staying at the Stone Mill is a one-of-a-kind experience as well. Iron-claw fireplaces and large double whirlpool baths are a couple of the amenities that you can expect to find during your stay. Guests also have the opportunity to book an on-site massage, Bluffscape Amish guided tours, Amish Backroads audio tours, and meeting space. Discounts to local attractions are also available for guests. Stay for a night after a long day biking the Root River State Trail or stay for several nights. Kick back in a chair out front and take in all that the charm of Lanesboro has to offer.
Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe
The Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe is unique in that you never know what is on the menu until you arrive. You can be assured that you will find something you’ll want to eat. If you don’t see it, ask. Waffles, pancakes, and blueberry scones are popular menu items. If you are an early riser, this is the perfect stop for breakfast when riding the Root River Trail. Have cash on hand, as they do not accept credit cards.
Another Time Ice Cream Parlor
Another Time Ice Cream Parlor awaits your visit. I am a fan of ice cream, which makes the perfect treat while strolling around charming Lanesboro. Chocolate, vanilla, chocolate chip cookie dough, and several other flavors await patrons. Look for the cute little pink building on the main street in Lanesboro. Find a chair, sit, and indulge in this tasty treat. Caribou Coffee and chocolates are also served for those looking for caffeine or a rich, tasty treat.
Shop The Peddler
If you have a limited amount of time to shop, make sure you set foot in The Peddler. This cute shop is filled with things that create a story. All sorts of treasures, unique finds, and antiques can be found here. Upcycled, repurposed, handmade, and fair trade finds can all be found in The Peddler, located in the heart of Lanesboro. If you don’t leave this store inspired to do good in our world, step back in for a second visit. Vintage items as well as furniture pieces all have a story or two tied to them.
The Driftless Area of southeastern Minnesota is home to fly fishing experiences that can be facilitated by the Root River Rod Co. You can book a guided fly fishing trip or purchase all of your fly fishing supplies in Lanesboro. Guided boat trips and guided wade fly fishing trips are both available. They also build custom-split cane bamboo fly fishing rods and have a large collection of vintage fly fishing rods and reels. This is the place to find your fly fishing gear. Top-notch customer service will make your experience a successful one. If you need a place to stay after your fun day out casting your line, book a stay at the Bue Apartment, which is right above the shop in Lanesboro.
Root River State Trail
Lanesboro is known for the Root River State Trail. Biking enthusiasts rave about the incredible 42 miles of pavement that meander through the bluffs in the Root River Valley. Lanesboro sits in the heart of the trail, making it a fantastic place to begin exploring. The rolling hills along with the towering bluffs make this one of the most scenic bicycle trails in the Midwest. If you want to ride a little further, hop on the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail for an additional 18 miles of biking. The historic buildings and rural communities along the trail offer a glimpse into how the area has evolved over the years. You can easily spend one full day biking this trail.
Cheryl’s Fabric Garden
If you are a quilter, you will appreciate all that Cheryl’s Fabric Garden has to offer. For a fun quilting experience with your friends, book a quilting retreat. Whether you are a serious quilter or just getting started, this quilt shop in Lanesboro is ready to welcome you. Quilts, quilted handbags, table runners, tablecloths, wall hangings, aprons, art quilts, napkins, and placemats can all be found in this shop. Cheryl also specializes in helping her customers create special items. She will work with you in choosing unique colors and fabrics to complete your work of art. If you are not a quilter, stop into the shop for a stroll through. Look at the vibrant colors in the fabrics on display. Sewing enthusiasts are sure to appreciate a thing or two in this unique shop.
Amish Backroads Tour
Explore the backroads around Lanesboro at your own pace with an audio tour. This Amish Backroads Tour takes you to Amish shops and sites in your car, at your own pace. You’ll find scratch-made pies, bread, handmade soaps, wildberry jams, baskets, and numerous other handmade wooden products as you go from place to place along the trail. It is important to note that the Amish shops only accept cash or checks. Most of these shops are open Monday through Saturday, all year long, except for the Christian holidays. Visit from dawn to dusk. Purchase and download an MP3 version of the recording that will facilitate your tour from the Amish Backroads Tour website, or pick up a CD or USB Flash Drive at the Amish Experience or the Stone Mill Hotel and Suites, both in downtown Lanesboro.
Bluff County Studio Art Tour
If you enjoy any form of art, make it a point to explore the art in and around Lanesboro. The Lanesboro Arts Tour offers an artist in residency program, which changes annually. This particular program brings artists together with the community. 103 Parkway is home to the Lanesboro Arts Juried Sales and Exhibition Galleries. This building underwent a major renovation project in 2014 that enhanced the facade and involved the installation of the grand entrance with 10-foot doors. You will notice that the architecture is unique on each building that lines the streets in Lanesboro. As you stroll through the community, remember to look up, down, and all around. You will be inspired by the incredible, unique features that each building has to offer.
Lanesboro welcomes visitors 365 days of the year. The warmer months offer fantastic bicycle riding experiences, and once the snow begins to fly, it’s time to break out the cross-country skis. Lodging is abundant. In fact, Lanesboro is often referred to as the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota — a nod to its cozy accommodations, beautiful Victorian homes, porches, parlors, gardens, and, of course, breakfast. I enjoy biking the trails in the Lanesboro area, and once Lanesboro comes into view, it’s a feeling of coming home.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss your chance to enjoy one (or more!) of these eight perfect hikes in Minnesota during your vacation.