Monday, September 8, 2008
August 24th-27th Rice Lake State Park
Paul and I decided we would "leave town" when the new school year started without us. Our chosen destination was Rice Lake State Park, which is located outside of Owatonna, Minnesota.
We arrived at Rice Lake on Sunday afternoon. We had the park to ourselves.
Monday morning brought us to the moment we could admit to ourselves we were officially retired from our teaching jobs. All of our former colleagues were back that morning to start workshop for the new school year.
We have good friends, Stan and Carol, who have recently moved to Owatonna. They are the reason we made this park our destination. Stan worked with us when we first started our jobs at Rosemount Middle School in 1976 and retired 10 years ago. His wife, Carol, recently retired from the Bachman Corporation. They have built a home on 40 acres that is a part of Carol's family farm. They are expert gardeners and so we were excited to see their new place. It was very special for us to spend this first day of retirement with them. We had a great day at their new house and enjoyed a great dinner before heading back to the park before the gates were locked!!!!
Paul brought a hummingbird feeder to the park. Within minutes of putting it out in our campsite, we had hummingbirds swarming for food.
This is a nice, quiet park. It is a major spot for migration of water fowl in the spring and fall. We saw lots of deer and wild turkey in the park as well as numerous warblers we had never seen before. We spent considerable time with our identification guides.
We made a trip into Owatonna on Tuesday. Carol recommended we visit one of the banks in town. Good recommendation. What an incredible building.
The Wells Fargo Bank, formerly the National Farmers Bank is located at 101 North Cedar. Construction was started in 1906 and completed in 1908 by architect Louis Sullivan. The building highlights are the gold leaf arches, huge stained glass windows, terra cotta tiles, murals by Oskar Gross and the massive 2 1/4 ton light fixtures.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and was featured on a United States postage stamp in 1981 as one of four unique architectural buildings.
We also visited the Arts Center, which is housed in the complex that was originally a state orphanage.
We also found a local meat market, "The Smokehouse" and bought a few items to stock up for our future trips.
We woke up on Wednesday to a thunderstorm and so waited until it stalled so we could pack up for home before the rain started in again.
It was a great trip.