Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Interlopers

   Lanesboro, Minnesota, is a small town in Southern Minnesota that was on the verge of extinction in the 1970's. A group of citizens conceived of the idea of making it a 'destination' spot, converting an unused trail line into a bike/hike/ski trail, refurbishing a small theater for live performances, and converting several stately Victorian mansions into BBs. It succeeded, far beyond anyone's expectations. The Weaver and I arrived early, the town was just stirring, so we ate and then took a stroll throughout the tree-lined avenues. We happened upon a slightly faded 'painted lady', as these majestic homes are sometimes called. The sign said "Vacancy", so we went up to the front door. The door bell was posted "out of order" so we took a chance and tried the door. It opened, and in the foyer was another set of doors with the sign "Open" hung upon the knob. We entered...

   "Hello! Is anybody home?" The house was silent. I strolled about a bit, carved golden oak woodwork, stained glass windows and vintage french posters lined the great room and the dining room. I peeked into the kitchen- a full commercial kitchen- obviously designed for banquets or other large gatherings. It was obvious that nobody was home. There was a number to call in a flyer by the door, the cell didn't work so I took it back to the commercial district, found a phone booth, and called. Someone mumbled: "MMmmbbttg B&B". I explained that we had seen the place and wondered if there was a room available tonight. "Sure! we've got one room with a queen sized bed." I said that we'd take it. I asked what we should do to reserve it. "Oh just come in, I'll be there to help you."

   Now many of these B&B's are part-time operations, with the owner working nearby during the day. I thought she would stop over and we'd meet her there. We went back. Nobody there. Well, maybe she'd been distracted. We waited a few minutes, read some art books and left a note, with our baggage. We were there to bike, after all, and the day was wasting. We rode for miles, ate lunch, and rode some more. Very pleasant and civilized. Visited the local museum, and toured some beautiful gardens. Then we went back to the B&B.

   We walked in, classical music was playing on the stereo, and we were ready to wash up and plan our evening. Nobody was there. We went upstairs, perhaps we could figure out which bedroom was ours. No such luck. We decided to wait, at this time we really could use a rest, so we both napped on the antique furniture. An hour later we both awoke, refreshed. Still nobody there. I snooped around a bit, found a telephone in the kitchen. I called the number again, and explained the situation. "Oh no!" The operator said. "This is the MMmmbbttg B&B - we only answer phones for that B&B. There isn't any room available..."

   Well, we then went and had a delightful dinner outdoors at a local restaurant, and drove home. We got to stay in a nice B&B for free, if only for a little while. I wonder if anyone ever did show up?

By Professor Batty


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