Posted 10/6/21

OUTDOOR Adventures Practice what you preach Deadline is looming and I am still trying to figure out where September went? As I pound the coffee and keyboards here, I am, for one of the very few times …

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OUTDOOR Adventures

Practice what you preach

Deadline is looming and I am still trying to figure out where September went? As I pound the coffee and keyboards here, I am, for one of the very few times in my life, somewhat at a loss for words. Luckily, I am only “somewhat at a loss for words,” which means publisher John won’t be getting any gray hairs over a missed deadline. I guess you need to have hair for it to go gray.

How about a little “kudos” to a few local area businesses that provided my lovely bride and I some outdoor adventures this past weekend. The Downtown Business Association in Hastings held their Mainstreet Market Fall Festival which brought many additional vendors to the Historic Second Street area. There were sidewalk sales offered by many of the stores, a small farmers market on Sibley Street and lots of music. We started our day with breakfast on the beautiful patio overlooking the Mississippi at the American Legion. It was great to see many people out and enjoying life.

Our next outdoor adventure landed us at Zywiecs Garden Center and Nursery in Cottage Grove. They are well-known for their “Haunting Experience” Halloween attraction complete with a haunted house and hayride. There is more to Zywiecs than the “scare factor” though. The store has many craft and décor items for the holidays, food, and beverage items and much more. If you want to check out the Halloween attractions, information is available at www.hauntingexperience. com. After a chance meeting with my cardiologist and her husband in the parking lot, we took a short drive through “Old Cottage Grove” which is a cool little neighborhood where time seems to have stood still over the years. There are some unique homes and buildings that adorn the short little pass through including “The Boondocks” which has seen a few different uses over the years.

Being we were in nostalgic mode, it only made sense to head to Afton Apples. When the kids were young, we made regular trips there in the fall to pick pumpkins, see the various animals, take a hayride, and watch the kids play on the many structures available. We realized that with the kids now in their 20’s, the nostalgia could be experienced by simply going into the apple store and looking at the crafts, food and of course, apples without paying the admission fee for all the other hoopla. Afton Apples is truly a great spot to go if you have younger kids. If you and your kids are now more “advanced” in age, another great option is Whistling Well Farm, just down the road from Afton Apples. They also had some crafts, specialty food items, music and other activities happening from end to end of the orchard. We snacked on some of the best mini-donuts I have ever tasted as well. It is probably a good thing that we did not run into my cardiologist at Whistling Well. If you want to check out these places, go to and www.whistlingwellfarm. com for info on events, activities, and more.

We did take a quick break away from the outdoors to watch the Gophers defeat Purdue, moving them into a tie for second place in the Big10 West Division. This provided Gopher fans with a little relief after the humiliating loss to Bowling Green the week prior. At one and one in the Big10 and three and two overall, the Gophers are in a tie for second place with the Boilermakers behind undefeated Iowa in the Big10 West standings. For those wondering where the Badgers are sitting in the Big10 West, that would be on the bottom at zero and two in the Big10, one and three overall. Giving credit where due, the Badgers losses were to Penn State, Notre Dame and Michigan, all of whom are formidable opponents. The Gophers played strong with Ohio State, blanked a good Colorado team, and knocked off Purdue. Hopefully, they learned not to take anyone lightly, especially a 31-point underdog like Bowling Green and can make a run to November 27th when they play host to Bucky Badger. You can rest assured that many Gopher and Badger fans have this day circled in red on the calendar. The game is at Huntington Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Sounds like an outdoor adventure to me. Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.