The Root River is a cool flowing, trout filled, brilliant body of water gliding through southeast Minnesota. It also flows right through the heart of what the Smithsonian considers one of the best small towns in America: Lanesboro.
The tiny town has a population of 750 -- citizens of Lanesboro oftentimes refer to their town as 'Minnesota's Bed and Breakfast Capital.' Despite the small size, Lanesboro was recently ranked
10th on the 2014 Smithsonian list of Best Small Towns to Visit.
Located about two hours southeast of the Twin Cities, in between Winona and Rochester, Lanesboro is more than a quaint area for overnight lodging at a B&B.
Among the notable reasons Lanesboro landed on the list is the Commonweal Theatre, a venue known for one of the "sharpest, most innovative small regional theaters in the country," the Smithsonian said. The theatre founded in 1989 actually has some of the original seats from the original Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
Lanesboro is also a great place for camping, either in the city park that features a pair of small ponds stocked with trout, or along the Root River near the spillway in town. There are also more than a dozen locally-owned cafes, restaurants and coffee shops within city limits.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love the Root River Trail System, a local bikeway which has limestone bluffs as one of the featured sights.
This is the Smithsonian's third annual list of the Best Small Towns in America. The geographical information systems company Esri aided the Smithsonian, analyzing data to find towns with less than 15,000 residents.
The chosen communities were commended for their history, music, visual arts, food options, theater and science. What separates Lanesboro from many other small communities that made the list is the fact there are essentially no corporate stores, restaurants or places to stay overnight in town.
When it comes to quality theater, outdoor-recreational opportunities, good food and acoustic music, Lanesboro is a fine place to explore. So let the 2014 summer planning begin!
Photos via: Google