Zumbrota...the One & Only
By Audra Knaup
Have you heard of the little town of Zumbrota, located in Southeast Minnesota? If you have, it may be because it is the home of Minnesota’s last remaining authentic covered bridge. The bridge crosses the North Fork of the Zumbro River, creating a beautiful entrance to the Covered Bridge Park and the Goodhue Pioneer Trail. Built in 1869, it was used as the river crossing point of Highway 58. In 1932, the decision was made to replace the bridge; it was then put on display in the local fairground and park. Eventually it was placed over the beautiful river again in 1997. The Covered Bridge has become a nostalgic place for wedding, graduation and family photos for many local residents.
Zumbrota boasts an inviting and charming downtown. It is the home of the historic State Theatre and former Carnegie Library (now Crossings). The Zumbrota Area Arts Council is a local non-profit that raises funds and awareness for the art community. They create many opportunities for everyone to experience the arts, such as sponsoring Z-Theater, Arts on Main, Zumbro River Art Splash and Music in the Park. Keeping the public involved in the arts makes a creative and beautiful community.
Many of the older buildings are still in use, creating a downtown with a quaint old-town feel. If you are looking for a gift, check out Flowers on Main, Dwell Local, My Happy Place or Crossings. In these shops you will find an abundance of items that you will love, from home décor to handmade gifts to jewelry and specialty food items. Also, check out the local clothing boutiques: Luya Shoes and Other Fine Things, Old Soul Vintage Boutique (located inside Audra’s on Main), Wild Ginger, Phenomenal Woman and Chubby Chique Boutique. These boutiques will help you find your owncreative style. Throughout the year these local businesses have put together many events for the town. First Thursdays is our monthly event when the local stores stay open later (4-7pm) for those who would like to shop after hours. In August, Zumbrota hosted a Block Party which provided the town with an evening of music, food, and fun. The next event is the annual Shop the Block hosted the weekend before Thanksgiving. Local retail businesses offer special sales, Christmas deals and a chance to win prizes. The grand prize each year is $250 in gift cards from the downtown stores. This year’s event will be held on November 19-20.
Zumbrota is a well-cared-for town. Besides having these great shopping options, there are also many opportunities for beauty, relaxation and healing.
Check out Audra’s on Main and Ah-Sirt at 75th on 3rd for any hair, skin and nail care. The Tranquility Barn (coming soon) is a salon and spa that will provide you with massage, nails and hair care. The Moon Pages (located in the rear of Luya) offers unique gifts, jewelry, spiritual goods and readings. Sol Foundation, located just off Main Street, specializes in reflexology and healings.
In a town where you can spend an entire day shopping and relaxing, you need a place for a delicious cup of coffee and great food. Bridget’s Café is known for their coffee and pies, but don’t forget to try a burger. Bridget’s burgers are the best in town and so filling that you may need to take your pie to go. Down the block you will find the Coffee Mill. This café gives you that small town vibe and serves breakfast until 2pm. The Pizza Kabin, the local VFW and Covered Bridge Restaurant are also popular places to dine. If you aren’t too hungry you can always stop down at the Guilty Goose and grab yourself a beer or cocktail and visit with the locals.
Zumbrota has great outdoor activities for the community as well. On the north side of the Zumbro River is the 64-acre Covered Bridge Park. It contains nature trails, campsites, picnic areas, Kids Kingdom playground, frisbee golf, volleyball, swimming pool and so much more. Across the highway from the park is a skateboard park, great for skateboards, bikes, or rollerblades. Across town you will discover East Park, home of Music in the Park and Farmer’s Market. This facility provides a playground, band shelter and plenty of shade on those hot summer days.
As you can see, Zumbrota is a diamond in the rough. Not only is it becoming a shopping hot spot, it offers a variety of things to do for all ages and families. Next time you need a day trip, check out this exceptional community on the Zumbro River. You will not be disappointed!
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