DescriptionAmiable little Lanesboro is the “hub” of the Root River Trail system, a 60-mile paved recreational trail network that meanders along the Root River in southeastern Minnesota. Lanesboro's location on SR 16, also known as the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway, is another reason to pay a visit. From spring through fall this is a delightful rural drive through dense hardwood forests and past rich farmland, all against a backdrop of river views and 300-foot-tall limestone bluffs.
Outdoor recreation runs the gamut from summer hiking, biking, backpacking and wildlife viewing to winter snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Laze a sunny day away canoeing, kayaking or tubing on the Root River. Root River Outfitters, 109 Parkway Ave. S., rents equipment, sells fishing tackle and bait, and provides shuttle service for canoe, kayak and tube trips; phone (507) 467-3400.
Visitors will find fine arts, too, notably at the Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Ave. N. This intimate 200-seat house has an interior design that draws inspiration from natural features, like stone walls that recall the surrounding bluffs. Check out the Commonweal Stash encompassing the foyer and lobby, a cool installation created by local artist Karl Unnasch. For play schedule and ticket information phone the box office at (800) 657-7025. The St. Mane Theatre, 206 Parkway Ave. N., presents plays, variety shows and other community-oriented events; for more information phone (507) 467-2446.
The Minnesota State Legislature recognizes Lanesboro as the “Rhubarb Capital of Minnesota.” This herbaceous perennial is grown for its fleshy petiole, or stalk, ranging in color from light green to speckled pink to crimson red. While the roots have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, rhubarb's primary contribution to the culinary arts is as a sweet-tart filling for pie (hence the common name “pie plant”). The Aroma Pie Shop, 618 Main St. in the nearby community of Whalan, is locally known for tasty homemade pies—especially the strawberry rhubarb.
Searching out a slice of rhubarb pie is one good reason to explore downtown Lanesboro. Restaurants take advantage of locally grown and sourced produce, meat and dairy products, and when the weather's nice you can sit outdoors while watching cyclists burn off calories on the Root River Bike Trail. For more sedate exercise stroll up and down Parkway Avenue and check out the specialty stores and boutiques selling antiques, collectibles, handcrafted Amish furniture, recreational gear and locally produced wines.
The Rhubarb Festival celebrates all things rhubarb. Listen to live music, sample rhubarb pies, chutneys, crisps, jams, soups and drinks, participate in a rhubarb stalk throw and learn how to grow award-winning rhubarb plants. This fun family event takes place the first Saturday in June at Sylvan Park; contact the chamber of commerce for details. Another June event taking place in the park is Art in the Park on Father's Day. In addition to more than 90 booths featuring the work of local artists and crafters, this festival features live entertainment, food and activities for kids.
Visitor InfoLanesboro Chamber of Commerce and CVB 100 Milwaukee Rd. LANESBORO, MN 55949. Phone:(507)467-2696 or (800)944-2670
Things to SeeBluffscape Amish Tours