Wabasha: For Grumpy Old Men. And Me.

Have you heard of the movie, Grumpy Old Men?

If you haven’t, the residents of Wabasha, Minnesota sure have. That’s where the movie was filmed, and this small town of over 2000 people don’t have any qualms about showcasing the movie’s memorabilia with posters and paintings.

I had the pleasure of staying in this quaint town this past weekend. A friend of mine who had lived most of her childhood and teen years in Wabasha had invited me to be her plus one to her 20 year high school reunion. Driving time from Nebraska was only 6 hours, and I was surprised how quickly the AmericInn sprung up on me, right off the highway. I was even more surprised when I saw benches out front of the hotel that showcased the main characters from the above mentioned movie:

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau

After settling in, my friend and I embarked on a nostalgia trip around her hometown. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly beautiful the scenery was. Wabasha sits on the Mississippi River, with a bridge looming over it that connects Minnesota to Wisconsin.


The National Eagle Center is also located on the water’s edge:

I stopped to have my picture taken with gorgeous sunflowers:

Later, she showed me downtown Wabasha, with it’s old school charm and local appeal. There are no huge food chains or fancy conglomerates, just small shops and bakeries with a few  restaurants sprinkled in.

Carriage rides through downtown
My kind of town! Bike riding with baskets! I love it!


Tucked away in one of the buildings is an ice cream shop with the most delicious Almond Joy ice cream! $2 paid for one full scoop (which really was equivalent to 2 scoops out where I live).

Can I have this delivered?

The next morning, I decided to go for a 4 mile run from my hotel room through the streets of the town. Other than a few strange looks (I am sure people were trying to place me, and figure out who I was or what family I belonged to) I received friendly, warm smiles and a “good morning to you” with that familiar Minnesota accent that no one else owned up to. At the reunion, one woman commented to me: “Honey, you are the only one here with an accent!”

My morning Wabasha run

After my run, I went for a walk alone through downtown, while my friend tended to family business. I stopped to pick up a personal vegetarian pizza for lunch, and sat on a park bench to watch the weekend festivities. Riverboat Days 2012 was in full swing, and children were running around while parents were busy talking to each other. Vendors peddled artwork and wares near the river. It was a peaceful and serene moment.

I was invited later that afternoon to go sailing with my friend’s relatives in nearby Lake City:

I’m on a boat. With a gin and tonic, my first one ever.
My view from the boat

This was my first experience with sailing, and it was a good one! My only mistake was forgetting to wear a bikini so I could go swimming. But the soft wind and plenty of shade on the boat made up for it.

That evening my friend and I went to her high school reunion, and I had such a great time! As was the theme with this town, everyone made me feel welcome and part of the crew, even though I did not go to school in Wabasha and didn’t know anyone there. They all made me feel so welcome!

One of the ladies tried to help me with my camera. When two tipsy women try to work a lens, this is what happens. Pictures of the food trays. But you get to see one of my sweet foo-foo drinks!

Although I didn’t get as much time with my friend as I would have liked to due to some circumstances outside of her control, I still had a great weekend! It’s not every day I’m given the opportunity to travel and go somewhere without my two boys with me, or to have some downtime with myself. I appreciate that I was able to do it, and I also appreciate that the people of Wabasha made my time there special.

I’ll tell you what: I was NOT grumpy when I left this sweet little town.

Even with a 6 hour drive ahead of me.

Thank you Wabasha!







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