The city is home to the Mayo Clinic, which has a
worldwide reputation as a medical research and
treatment center and draws patients from around the
globe. This impressive international medical center began
a century ago as a small family practice founded by
Charles and William Mayo and their father. A more
personal side of the Mayo heritage can be explored by
touring Mayowood, the 57-room mansion built by Dr.
Charles Mayo in 1911. The History Center has exhibits on
the Mayo Clinic and other Olmsted county history.
This city of parks and trails is the southern anchor of
the Douglas State Bike Trail, which runs for 13 miles
north to Pine Island. West of Rochester is the village of
Mantorville, with architecture dating to the 1850s, now
home to antique and specialty shops. Once a stagecoach
stop, a popular restaurant here has served diners since
1856. The Mantorville Theatre Company presents
melodramas, comedies and musicals at the Historic
At the western edge of Bluff Country, the landscape
becomes less hilly as the terrain meets the eastern side of
the Minnesota’s prairielands. Ribbons of prairie border
the 31-mile Shooting Star Scenic Byway, linking four
small farm towns. At Taopi, there’a a path through a
small prairie and an information kiosk about prairie
plants. The paved, 14-mile Shooting Star Bike Trail runs
between Taopi and LeRoy, and passes through Lake
Louise State Park, a quiet spot on an old millpond.
The countryside in the middle of southern Minnesota
is dotted with lakes. Interstate highways 90 and 35 intersect
here, bringing many visitors through this rural landscape.
Shopping, fishing and other recreation lure travelers off
the roads to explore this area.
Austin calls itself“SPAM
Town USA,”for the internationally
known lunch meat it produces.
The SPAM Museum focuses on
this slice of Americana with fun,
The Historic Hormel Home
(1871), once the home of the
founder of the Hormel Foods Corporation, welcomes
visitors for self-guided tours on weekdays. At the Hormel
Nature Center, miles of trails wind through woods and
prairie. The old Paramount Theatre has been renovated,
with a variety of performances scheduled for its stage.
Albert Lea, at the intersection of Interstates 35 and
90, is home to a cluster of lakes. Along the lakeshore
three miles from town is Myre-Big Island State Park, with
stands of oak and fields of prairie grasses. The Blazing
Star paved bike trail links the state park with a lakeside
park in the city. The Freeborn County Historical Village is
a collection of pioneer-era buildings, including an 1853
log cabin. A collection of dolls is featured at another