Rochester: So Much More than the Mayo
By Chrissy Sarinske, Minnesota Monthly
When you have kids, your “new normal” becomes a completely different landscape. Not in a bad way, just in a different way. Your priorities0 shift. And when you do plan a weekend getaway without the kids (and for your sanity, you should plan these every now and again), it’s a great way to reconnect with your significant other.
A few weekends ago, my husband Aaron and I went down to Rochester for a friend’s birthday celebration and it was nice not having to cut someone else’s food into tiny pieces, worry about nap schedules, break up any fights, or have to listen to any kid-friendly music during the ride down.
As we were driving through farm country on our way to Rochester (Zumbrota, I’m talking to you), I had to remind myself that Rochester is third-largest city in the state, a thoroughly modern city with so much more than the Mayo Clinic. When you think about the millions of people who have visited Rochester solely for the top-notch care at the Mayo Clinic (350,000 patients a year), it makes sense that the city caters to visitors. There is a thriving arts-and-culture scene and really fun nightlife, but what I love most are the historical sites.
There’s the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial with the Memorial Wall and Walk of Remembrance honoring all American veterans; the History Center of Olmsted County with a fascinating permanent exhibit featuring the Mayo Clinic, St. Mary’s Hospital, IBM, and the hands-on cabin from “back in the olden days;” and the 38-room Mayowood Mansion, affectionately referred to as the “Big House” by the Mayo family. Oh, and don’t forget the Plummer House of the Arts(built by an impressive Mayo doctor who is credited with inventing not only the pneumatic tube, but also the Mayo's record-keeping system. Seriously smart guy!), and the Heritage House—located in Rochester's 1856 town square, Central Park—showcasing the way of life over 125 years ago. I love the Victorian era and, consequently, these mansions. (Wasn’t that a romantic period in history? Everything but the poverty, child labor, executions, and some of the fashion. Don’t you think the women got hot in those heavy long-sleeved gowns?!)
There is so much more we plan on doing when we return, so many side trips we can take, so many adventures we can embark upon with the kids. We were happy to be away for a few days and equally happy to come home. Rochester was the perfect distance for a mini getaway.