The rolling, rural landscape just to the west
and north of the Twin Cities area holds dozens of
lakes, trimmed by wooded shores. Several resorts
and campgrounds serve this popular fishing and
family vacation area. The cities and towns here
hold numerous interesting museums and art
galleries. Many of the towns are linked by bike
trails that explore this pastoral countryside.
Willmar is a city of fun finds. Two
Willmar men have opened their own
museums to exhibit their private collections.
The Mikkelson Collection displays restored
Falls Flyers boats, and the Schwanke Museum
features tractors and cars. A Scandinavian
shop claims to have the “world’s best lefse”
and another sells hand-crafted chocolates.
The Barn Theatre productions include plays
and musicals. At the Kandiyohi County Historical
Museum complex, there are a steam locomotive and the
restored 1893 Sperry farmhouse.
The Glacial Ridge Trail, a designated scenic byway,
heads north from here and winds among the lakes and
hills between Willmar and Alexandria. The next town
along the byway is Spicer, on the shore of beautiful
Green Lake. For big time golf, there’s the 27-hole Little
Crow Country Club between Spicer and New London.
Summer dinner cruises on the Spicer Castle Belle
explore Green Lake. At New London, the award-winning
Little Crow Water Ski Team performs each Friday
Central 0 50
MILEAGE SCALE (inmiles)
evening in the summer on the Crow River
at Neer Park. Glacial Ridge Winery lies
between New London and Spicer.
Nearby is Sibley State Park, with wooded hills,
restored prairie, and several lakes; the Mount Tom
overlook is a highlight. Cyclists enjoy the 22-mile paved
Glacial Lakes Bike Trail, which links New London, Spicer
and Willmar, with a spur to Paynesville.
The countryside between here and St. Cloud is
mainly farmland, dotted with many good fishing lakes.
Several family resorts and campgrounds near Richmond
and Paynesville cater to those who come to fish for the
wide variety of species in these waters, or simply relax on