Whistle Stop Bed & Breakfast

After a day of fun in the sun, we were ready to check-in, go find food and then relax for the evening. We immediately perked up as we drove up to the Whistle Stop Bed & Breakfast, though, and looked for our train car. First we went inside the inn to check in and were greeted by Jann (the owner) and one of the friendliest cats I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. It’s a lovely inn, with beautiful sitting areas that host a variety of social gatherings such as book club meetings and tea parties, and you can see why – it’s a cozy and inviting space with a victorian flair – large floral prints, dark stained wood and oil lamps.

  

We were given the key to The Imperial car and were told breakfast would be brought out to us the next morning, before heading outside like the excited kids that we are. We opened the door that led into a small kitchen area and walked inside. There were so many tiny details to take in! The original lead windows, the decorating, it was all so well done and you could see how much love and attention went into it. From the steamer trunks to the velvet cushions in the breakfast nook, it was all just perfect. We looked at everything, including the random collection of VHS tapes next to the tiny TV for guest’s viewing pleasure and hats and gloves tucked away in overhead storage. In one corner of the car was a nice gas stove, and for once I wished that it was colder outside so we could snuggle up in front of it. Perhaps a new winter destination?

By far one of our favorite areas of the train car was the bathroom and the nice whirlpool tub. We soaked and drank champagne before wrapping ourselves in the nice big bathrobes provided and sat down to watch a movie whilst eating leftover wedding cake and finishing off the bottle. Then it was off to sleep in the comfy brass bed! One thing to remember about sleeping at the Whistle Stop… you will actually wake up feeling like you’re on a train, and not just because you’re in a train car. About every 30 minutes a train would make it’s way through town blowing the whistle. We didn’t wake up at every whistle, but I think we each probably woke up at least 3 or 4 times.

Over a delicious breakfast the next morning, we signed the guest book journal, and flipped through the highly entertaining photo album left in the room. Jann and her husband had created an album documenting all of the work that went into making the Whistle Stop B&B, and it was so neat to see the whole process while stuffing ourselves with yummy blueberry goodness. After eating, we loaded up and said our good-byes, but not before checking out the other train cars (at Jann’s suggestion). Each one has so much character and we’d love to stay in them all, especially the newest, which wasn’t yet complete. We peeked inside and got a little tour from one of the men working on it, whom we discovered was from Durango, Colorado (where I’m from and where we met)! It never ceases to amaze me how small the world can be. The new car promises to be very luxurious, with an added sauna, and I only hope we can get back there soon!

So, now it’s onward to our next adventure, and soon I shall have actual pictures up of our wedding, which we thought was rather spectacular.

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Paul Bunyan Land!

When planning our mini-moon, we knew we would need something to do after we checked out of the Nordic Inn, so we decided that Paul Bunyan Land and This Old Farm Pioneer Village (conveniently located within PBL) in Brainerd, MN would be the perfect way to spend a few hours. We weren’t disappointed. This Old Farm had dozens of building, and each was one packed with antiques of every sort – a veritble plethora. There were cars, creepy dolls, printing machines, cameras, clocks, farm equipment, lunchboxes, some of the biggest lures I’ve ever seen in my life, Avon collections, gas pumps, and more!

 

 

One of the first things you see as you walk into Paul Bunyan Land, is Paul Bunyan, himself, who greeted Josh immediately and commented on his awesome green shoes, (You have the option to give your name while purchasing tickets). After chatting with good ‘ole Paul, we began wandering around. There was a small petting zoo where most of the animals ignored us aside from some ponies and a very friendly goat, so we gave up a quarter to give out treats and then went to check out the animated whatchamacallums – you put in a quarter and figures come to life while a jolly sounding mountain man tells you a little bit about Paul and Babe.

 

We decided to ride the ferris wheel, and scope out the lay of the land and as we savored our delicious frozen treats, we decided to go on all of the rides. Have I mentioned I’ve never done bumper cars?  Well, I finally got to and had bruises to prove it, or was that from the roller coaster that we barely fit into? I advise padding either way.

I imagine the park isn’t always so low on staff, but we found ourselves wandering into “rides” a few times without attendants when perhaps we should have waited?  The haunted house proved to be a tricky endeavor as it was incredibly dark as we felt our way along walls and tried not to fall down steps before exiting out what could only be the wrong door, however, had we not, we might have completely missed the park dinosaurs. The beasts, though timid, were quick to show their curiousity and luckily we managed to make a quick exit before Josh lost an arm… or his head.

  

Overall, we had a fun time – I recommend you go when you feel like indulging your inner child, otherwise you may not enjoy it as much – we explored, we laughed, we bought souvinirs (we now both have very stylish PBL hoodies) and then we headed onward to Pirate’s Cove for some miniature golf and go-cart action.

I was actually a little suprised at just how busy Pirate’s Cove was for a Monday, but as we were in no hurry, we had no problems with the waiting. There was plenty to look at in between holes and shady benches to sit on. There were 2 different courses to choose from, one of which leads you through a pirate’s ship, but we chose the other route that led us past a waterfall and cannons that shot water out at unsuspecting passersby. While the holes weren’t tremendously difficult, there were a few tricky shots, but I managed to get a hole in one, which allows you to spin a wheel at the end. I’m assuming you win a prize if you land on the right number, but I was one off, so we’ll just have to imagine what we might have won. It was then off to race Go-Carts and then we headed towards to our next destination – The Whistlestop Bed & Breakfast in New York Mills.

To be continued…

Nordic Inn B&B

For our Mini-Moon (a preview of our big Honeymoon next year) Josh and I decided to head north and stay at a couple of Bed & Breakfasts (a first for both of us, though I worked at one years ago). If you know either of us, you know they couldn’t be just your ordinary everyday B&Bs – they had to be something unique and we needed to find some silly things to do during the day in the surrounding areas.

A couple of years ago on television, Josh and I saw this very unique hotel located in Crosby, MN, and we knew that we had to visit one day. So, our first destination was The Nordic Inn Medieval Brew & Bed! You know it’s going to be interesting when you arrive to a locked door with instructions to have your password ready (decided on when booking) and to pull on a giant ring attached to a chain. We stepped back and heard a voice bark out, “Password!” Josh called back, “Monkey!” and the doors swung wide to reveal a burly viking with a small horse at his side. Okay it wasn’t actually a horse, but a very large Great Dane named Thor. We were instructed to make ourselves homely at the bar and so the night began. If you’re offended by bawdy humor, this may not be the place for you, but we soon felt right at home drinking amazing mead (Winehaven – a MN winery) and beer, paid for with Kronnar, which you can get by converting your american currency as soon as you sit down. We were the only guests, so there were no games that night, but Steinarr (the owner) was entertainment enough and the conversation went from lewd humor to historical to philosophical. Not only is Steinarr a great conversationalist, but he is an amazing cook and treated us to a meal that included a wonderful soup, Rosemary Chicken, Turnips (the best I’ve ever encountered), Garlic Potatoes, to-die-for Parsley Bread, and for dessert – Peasant’s Pie (an oatmeal pie that tastes exactly like Pecan Pie.

One of our favorite parts of the night, was of course the fantastic themed room. The Jarl’s Den was one of the more masculine rooms with a hunting theme. There were furs of every kind on the walls and bed. (Apparently a previous guest had gifted the reindeer pelts that now drape themselves over the bed). In the middle of the room was a huge whirlpool tub, which you can be sure we soaked in before cuddling up in that nice big comfy bed. We both slept soundly and it was Josh who heard the 8:30 horn blowing alerting us that breakfast would be ready soon. At 9:00 the horn blew again and before we knew it, a heaping plate was set before us. For breakfast we feasted on meat pies, hashbrowns, more parsley bread, and a scrumptious apple pastry.

Stuffed to the brim we headed onward to Paul Bunyan Land!

To be continued…

(Insert sigh of relief here)

Slowly, but surely we’re getting unpacked and moved-in. I think the hardest part is deciding where to put everything, so I’m sure I’ll be doing some shuffling. I’m still trying to figure out how to better utilize the space in our “pantry.” We turned the hall closet into a pantry with a shelving unit from IKEA for $30, but it doesn’t quite hold all that we need it to, so I need to make some adjustments and find some containers that better organize that space. I’m determined to finish unpacking the kitchen first. If I can get that one area clean and pretty, I’ll feel much more accomplished and more importantly, able to make meals. We have so many new things that I want to use!

I think we’re going to try and set up the grill this weekend too and hopefully have our first barbeque and then watch the sunset. It’s our new routine – we stop everything and go sit outside and watch the sun go down with a nice glass of something. It’s so nice and peaceful and a wonderful way to wind down for the night.

We’re already getting some fun wildlife as well – mostly birds. There was a family of pheasants yesterday that were tiptoeing around the edge of the lawn (pictures to come*), and our first night, we were both awoken by an owl, and wouldn’t you know, it was perched on our garage! Josh got up and looked out the window and startled what was an apparently very large owl – possibly a great horned owl? We’re hoping it comes back for a photo shoot. 😉 Now I just need to get the birdfeeders outside and hope that some of the other pretties that I’ve been seeing/hearing stop by!

*Now that I can crawl to my desk, I think I’ll be able to take the time to actually post pictures and stories from our wedding/mini-moon. :p