Let’s start with our home of the past evening, New Ulm, Minnesota. Crossing over the state line into Minnesota from South Dakota really signaled a change. The farms looked different – more Eastern than Western – and the terrain seemed more rolling and filled with trees. In other words, we have found the Midwest!
New Ulm is a German town, so I assume Old Ulm is where the original settlers came from. It boast a sweet main street, and lots of German restaurants. We picked one that evidently attracted lots of movie stars in the 40’s and 50’s – but please don’t ask me why. I took some pictures of their pictures since the owner’s name just happened to be Don. The food was just what we expected, but forgive the German chocolate cake image. Don’t know what got into us. Cake, I guess.
We learned quite by accident that New Ulm had the distinction up till about a year ago of being the center of Velveeta production in the US. Do you understand what that means? Every grilled cheese sandwich of my childhood originated in this town. We stormed the gates of the Kraft factory only to learn that Velveeta production has moved to Illinois, and that this factory does not offer tours or samples. We were bummed. But I took a picture anyway, just for nostalgia’s sake. (Pinnacle #1 in today’s story.)
But wait! There is more to celebrate about New Ulm. It was also the home of Wanda Gag. Surely Wanda delighted you too with her childhood classic, Millions of Cats. Her house is charming – but closed today, naturally. I was so hoping a little cat would wander into the yard. This book is the longest-selling children’s picture book in the country. (Pinnacle #2.)
Then we were off to one of Don’s major bucket list items – the world’s largest ball of twine. Yes, little Darwin MN has the honor of housing this noteworthy feat. (Now, you will notice that there is a small caveat on this claim to great fame. (Pinnacle #3.) Guinness was very specific about this detail.) Daggone, the museum was closed, but thank goodness we could see and admire this achievement up close – though through glass. You have to protect this thing, you know. We were lucky that we could still buy souvenirs in the bar across the street. When Don asked if the twine in the small balls came from the big one, the waitress informed him that “these are the starter kits!” Let us all pray he doesn’t get inspired to start…
Then it was on to the mothership of all malls – the MALL of AMERICA. Surely all Americans have a patriotic duty to spend money here at least once in their lives! We rose to the challenge. And it was surprisingly manageable – not at all as crazy as the Galleria in Houston. Plus, it has a Nordstrom’s, so a good time was had by all. I am certain we did at least two Mayo Clinic miles. Enjoy these glimpses of Pinnacle #4!