Unlikely Visitor

A miracle happened this past weekend in the Sobotka residence.

It saw an unlikely visitor — my dad.

Don’t get me wrong, he loves me very much and we have a great relationship, but he’s the type that makes himself physically ill leaving the farm.

I understand it — everything that could possibly go wrong would naturally happen while he’s away and helpless — but sometimes you have to step away, however briefly, from things that are out of your control.

I’m glad he did.

He and my mom arrived around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and we spent the whole evening vegging out on greasy pizza, peanut M&Ms and watching the Cornhuskers’ first game.  

It wasn’t pretty — but it was a W nonetheless.

The next morning Mom and I spent finally finalizing my apartment. There is not one more picture to hang or cupboard to fill — which is Mom’s fault, since she has become obsessed with second-hand shopping for dishes. She jokingly says she needs an intervention, but it’s the truth.

In the afternoon we headed southeast to Round Lake Vineyards and Winery. None of us are especially “wine people,” but it was a fun, relaxing activity to take advantage of seeing how it’s right under our noses.

Then by 3:30 p.m. Sunday, they hit the road again.

It was a fun mini adventure here in southwest Minnesota — the first I’ve really spent exploring the immediate area. However, I have put on some miles since moving to Minnesota more than a month and a half ago.

Shortly after moving here a buddy of mine came up and we hit the road for New Ulm and Mankato. We accomplished the trip in a day, but I could have spent several exploring shops in each city.

The whole goal of the trip was to visit Schell’s Brewery. I’m not a beer drinker, but I could definitely appreciate the beauty and history of the brewery.

It’s a huge accomplishment to survive the prohibition era in and of itself, but to be the second longest operating family-owned brewery in the nation takes the cake.

After Schell’s it was off to a German restaurant and to climb the Herman the German tower overlooking the city.

In Mankato we took in Minneopa State Park and the downtown district.

I’ve also jetted down to Pipestone National Monument — which looked nothing like I remember when I visited as a child.

I’ve been told that to really experience Minnesota I need to travel further north, and I will. I’m just getting started.

Where is the best Minnesota destination — common or Minnesota’s best kept secret?