Today the road has brought me to Faribault, MN.
It’s my favorite time of year as the Christmas season is upon us which also means it’s time for the annual Christmas B & B review here at the Corner.
Truthfully, I thought my review would either be greatly delayed or even outright canceled this year. I had hoped to be performing in a show this holiday season, but the theatre gods had other ideas which opened things up a bit. This year’s selection was Historic Hutchinson House, owned and operated by Dana and Olena Anderson.
I had a beautiful day for the journey and time just seemed to whiz by as I drove along an unusually empty interstate. About 1:30pm, I found myself in need of gas and a break in Story City, IA, so I gassed up and then stopped for lunch at Royal Café.
Royal Café is housed in a former Happy Chef restaurant. I ended up taking a seat in a booth next to a group of construction workers who provided me with some free entertainment as they were sharing stories of the dumb stunts they had pulled in their lives and the various injuries that had resulted from said stunts.
I ended up scoring a lunchtime special where for $8, I got a turkey club sandwich with a side of fries and a free beverage. I truly savored this meal as it was the first solid food I had enjoyed that week as I’d been laid out by either a chest cold or flu (I’m not sure which) and been subsisting on a mostly liquid diet due to lack of hunger. After polishing off the vittles, it was back to the road.
As I continued driving north, I felt the air temperature plummet and noticed snow starting to appear on the ground, evoking images of a white Christmas.
Around 4:30pm, I had arrived in Faribault and easily found Historic Hutchinson House which, as you’ve noticed, stands out pretty readily due to its coloration of periwinkle blue with pink trim. This look is known as Painted Lady.
This Queen Anne Victorian home was built in 1892 by John Hutchinson, Jr, a local Captain of Industry, who had been a partner in the Faribault Furniture Company and Faribault Roller Mills. In its 100+ year history, the inn has only had 8 owners and the current ones only took up ownership in July.
I walked up to the guest entrance, rang the bell, and was greeted by Olena who offered me some cookies and hot chocolate and led me to the Malone Suite which is the inn’s biggest room. It’s a 2 room suite capable of sleeping up to 4 people with two very soft full sized beds. The room also contains a pair of comfy easy chairs, lush green carpeting, a work desk, and a bathroom with a shower.
I actually didn’t have too much planned for the first night. I wasn’t exactly bursting with energy after my recent illness and wasn’t very hungry due to my late lunch. I did go around to look at some Christmas lights in the neighborhood and even saw the Faribault Snowman, a massive construct built (and still being refined) by a local engineer. Afterwards, I called it a night and just watched a little TV before sinking into my mattress for the night.
Boy, did I sleep well. All night and I truly felt refreshed in the morning. This feeling was further enhanced by a long, hot shower and shave and I was ready for breakfast at 9am.
I actually had company for breakfast as the inn had another guest with Liz from Lincoln, NE. The inn is actually sold out on Saturday and nearly every single one of us is from Nebraska. What would be the odds?
But, I digress. I enjoyed some conversation with Liz as we ate granola and fruit with cream, ham and cheese crepes with spring salad, and German Christmas Cake with marzipan. A very tasty meal and the crepes were fantastic.
After breakfast, I got the oil in my car changed and decided I needed a fix of Christmas. I thought that a visit to the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington could help scratch that itch as I figured it may do an impressive job of decorating for the holidays.
The mall was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. Towards the end of my visit I found out that a young celebrity was doing a meet and greet which explained the unusually high traffic roaming around the mall.
The mall did have some nice decorations. Most notable was a pair of gigantic Christmas trees in its central rotunda which also had a free concert going on.
The most interesting store I visited was called The Beef Jerky Experience which has homemade jerky which you can sample. The most unique jerky I tasted was a dill pickle jerky which would have been worth a pickup except for the fact that a single serving of jerky cost a whopping $11. The store also served a sauce called Slap Yo Mama which they were using with samples of jambalaya with sausage and shrimp etouffee. The sauce was incredible, though it certainly didn’t make me want to slap my dear mother.
I returned to the inn in just enough time to head over to worship services at Divine Mercy.
The church seems very new and was quite lovely. The service was just as nice with a sermon focusing on preparing for Jesus’ birth with mortification (genuine repentance) and penance. It was capped with Father inviting everyone to attend a penance party (reconciliation service) the next day at the church.
When I returned to the inn, I had a little treat set up for myself as I had arranged for a massage in my room. Janelle of Miracle Massage set up a table in my room as I lowered the light to better relax.
Man, did it feel good. Especially for my shoulders which were tight due to a combination of my regular use of a keyboard and the weight training regimen I’ve been following in recent months. But I felt and heard those knots pop as she worked through them and I knew I’d be sleeping like a baby that night.
It was time for some dinner so I sought out the Crooked Pint for some grub.
When I walked into the ale house, the joint was jumping and the wait would be 40 minutes and I didn’t want to wait that long. Sooo, I wandered around the downtown area to see if another eatery was available. Unable to find another one, I decided to go ahead and wait for a table at Crooked Pint.
My little search seemed to have benefited me because others had apparently not wanted to wait for 40 minutes so there was now no line as I entered and was able to be seated immediately.
Not to say that the joint still wasn’t jumping, for it was. I decided to try a sandwich called a Lucy which is a stuffed hamburger. I opted for the sweet heat version which had ghost chili cheese, sweet chili sauce, haystack onions, and bacon. The heat had a delayed effect after each bite and was just right. The chicken wild rice soup I had for a side dish was OK, but a bit on the bland side.
The wind was howling when I left the restaurant and I was more than ready to return to the inn to write and sleep after slipping an extra blanket on the bed.
Another full night’s sleep and I was ready for another rousing meal with a full table. Today Liz and I were joined by a couple from Plymouth, MN celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary and a family from Scott’s Bluff, NE attending a soccer tournament. Conversation was a flying as we enjoyed granola, fruit, and cream, overnight casserole (cheese, onions, and sausage) with vegetables, and banana nut bread.
The meal took over 90 minutes and then it was time for all of us to go our separate ways. Another holiday review in the books.
But if you find yourself in the Twin Cities region, take a moment to swing by Faribault and enjoy a little hospitality at Historic Hutchinson House. Come during the holidays and find a winter surprise or two in the town.
Until the next time. . .happy travels. . .and happy holidays.