Well, hi, there. It’s nice to see you again.
The grip of the road had hold of me once again this Memorial Day weekend and so I found myself traveling to the little town of Cannon Falls in Minnesota to enjoy a little rest and respite at the Quill & Quilt Bed and Breakfast.
Since I had to travel a little farther than normal for this trip, I broke it up over a few days so I wouldn’t cut into valuable exploration time. My journey began on Friday night where I promised myself I would drive an hour past Des Moines, IA before stopping to rest for the night. About fifteen minutes before my promised stop time, I passed through Story City, IA where I nearly pulled over for the evening, but reminded myself that I said I would drive a full hour outside of Des Moines. After all, surely there’d be another place just a bit up the road.
At first, I thought fate was going to push my drive all the way through to Mason City which is just outside MN’s border. Fortunately, about 30 minutes after my promised stop time, I saw the telltale 3 blue signs which meant that gas, food, and lodging were close at hand. I pulled off I-35 into the tiny town of Williams, IA and obtained a room at the Best Western Norseman Inn. The motel wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but I was pleasantly surprised by the clean and comfortable room that met my eyes. It also came at a very affordable price ($65 before tax).
After settling into the room, I went across the street to Boondocks Cafe for my supper. I was momentarily stunned when I saw the restaurant because I swear that I had actually eaten at this place as a child with my grandparents. I had a sourdough club sandwich and some fries for my meal which filled the cavity nicely, but I felt the price didn’t match the quality of the food. Everything was a la carte, so I ended up paying $12 for diner food. However, bear in mind that Williams is an isolated town so that makes it a bit of a seller’s market.
I returned to my room for a hot bath and some sleep. And I must say that this inn has the thickest curtains I have ever seen. When I turned out the lights, I couldn’t see my hand in front my face. So I faded into the land of Nod.
The next morning I had a quick continental breakfast and was on the road by 9:30. About 12:15, I found myself in Cannon Falls. The best way to describe this town is that it’s a small town with big city energy. The place was bustling!! People were walking all over the place and this town must be the bike riding capital of the USA for I saw more bicyclists here than I’ve seen anywhere in the country.
The first thing on my mind was lunch so I found Mick’s Downtown Diner and went inside. The joint was jumping, but I managed to find a seat for myself. I ordered a delicious steak pita and settled down to a relaxing meal while I completed the novel I was reading.
After lunch I wandered around the town a little before finding the famed trails of the city. As I walked along the trail, I found the city’s namesake waterfalls and wished I had packed swimming trunks and an inner tube so I could have tubed down the falls and Cannon River. Instead, I took an invigorating 8 mile hike along the Cannon Valley Trail.
Upon the conclusion of my hike, I attended services at St Pius V and finally was able to check into the Quill and Quilt. I was greeted at the door by the innkeeper and enjoyed a glass of natural fruit juice from a container that had strawberries, kiwi, and other assorted fruit soaking in ice. Very tasty.
I was led to the third floor of the inn and my room, the Writers Loft. This was the most spacious room, I have stayed in to date. Not only was the living area a good size, but the bathroom was a duchy in and of itself. It contained a whirlpool tub and a double shower nicknamed the Car Wash.
Once I had settled in, I gave the innkeeper my juice order for breakfast the next day, hopped in my car, and drove to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN to have dinner with my brother, Jeff AKA That One Guy Who Travels, and his S.O., Scott. We ate at Tucci Bennuch, a very wonderful Italian restaurant. I was in the mood for something healthy so I opted for the Scottish Salmon with lemon risotto and arugula salad while the guys settled for spaghetti dinners.
My dinner was absolutely magnificent and after a pleasant night of food and conversation, we walked across the way to the Nestle Tollhouse store where I bought a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Our group said our good-byes and I made the 45 minute drive back to Cannon Falls. Needless to say, I had funned myself out and collapsed into the most comfortable bed I had ever slept in and slept all the way through to the next morning.
I started my day with a long soak in my whirlpool tub, then headed downstairs to breakfast at 9:30.
The breakfast opened with a small dish of fruit with granola and a honey glaze and a glass of OJ. The main course was an egg quiche with cilantro, cheese, and other veggies that made me feel healthy just looking at it. On the side was a butter scone and some spinach and garlic sausage (which was devastatingly tasty). Most enjoyable was the companionship. For my regular readers, you know that I have been the sole guest at most of the B&Bs I’ve reviewed. This time, the place was sold out and I had an great time simply conversing with the other guests.
After breakfast I proceeded to do absolutely nothing. Now that’s a day. For once, I planned no itinerary. I wandered down another trail where I found the city parks and a frisbee golf course which had me wishing my old friends, Mat and Dave, had been with me for a little competition. Once my walk had concluded, I returned to my room and watched the classic film, Mississippi Burning.
When the film ended, I went down to the spa suite on the first floor and enjoyed a 2 hour massage from Anna Harvey. Her slow, firm pressure and movements really worked the kinks out of my weary body. Once the treatment was completed, I returned to my room and enjoyed another long soak in the whirlpool tub to continuing purging the toxins from my body.
Once done, I decided to hunt up some dinner and found myself at Chuggers, a little bar and grill on the main drag. I decided to try the Fireball Burger which was truly exceptional. After eating, I picked up a Dr. Pepper and returned to my room where I’m preparing to sip soda and watch Insomnia.
Tomorrow it’s back to reality until my next adventure which may be sooner than anyone thinks. . .
But if you find yourself in Cannon Falls, get a room at the Quill and Quilt. You’ll be glad you did.