This was going to be an exciting day. There was a new shop to explore and a region to check out of which meant prizes!
We had about a half-hour drive to the west to get to Heather’s Book Nook in Granite Falls, MN and she opened at 9 this morning. Tu-Na Helper was focused on getting there by opening time if not before.
We came into Granite Falls on a most interesting route. Google maps on Tu-Na Helper’s I-Phone was set to route us the shortest distance so we found ourselves turning onto a gravel road probably because it was 12 feet shorter than staying with the paved road.
This also happened on the first day of the hop when we found ourselves diverted through a mobile home park. After touring past the homes, we finally exited following the directions told to us by Google Maps and came onto the right road.
This time the App would not fail us either. However, I fail to understand the logic in these short-cuts. Then again I am not the one driving. But Tu-Na Helper is a follower at least of map directions.
Me: “Why did you turn onto the gravel road?”
Tu-Na Helper: “Because it (Google maps) told me to.”
Me: “Even when you go through a mobile home park or onto gravel roads?”
Tu-Na Helper: “Well, we get there don’t we?”
He is right. We eventually get to our destination.
We checked out of the South Central Region at Heather’s. We each received a set of 4 coasters with quilt designs and a metal tray to hold them as our incentive prize.
The next shop would be a 36 minute drive to Marshall. I settled into my seat working on my hexi project as our trusty Prius headed south.
At Fabrics Plus, I asked which quilts were made by PB&J. I was given the tour of the shop and shown her beautiful creations.
Jen of Patterns By Jen (PB&J) and I were together in the New Quilt Bloggers group several years ago and she lives in the area.
Back on the road, I again settled in for an even longer drive—an hour and 10 minute drive southward to Worthington. We can count on Crafty Corner Quilt & Sewing Shoppe having a bottle of cold water ready for us. Tu-Na Helper had forgotten to fill his water bottle this morning so it would come in handy. Not only did we get the water but they also included a Rice Krispie bar (as they’ve done in the past) with their free pattern and square of Fabric.
We now turned our car to the northeast as we zigzagged our way to the quilt shop in Windom. I featured Prairie Quilting and their love story in 2017 here.
When we arrived, I found a beautiful floral fabric while Tu-Na Helper talked farming with Kay’s husband, who was in his feed business office next door. We’ve been seeing full truck loads of corn in their husks the past couple of days which we suspected were headed for a food processing plant. We’ve also driven by miles and miles of corn fields but some fields were barren or growing a crop he didn’t recognize.
He was curious.
After we left the shop, and Tu-Na Helper had his answers, he turned the car to the southeast and headed to Sherburn.
I really like the quilt shop in Sherburn and featured them in 2016 here. I’ve always said that if I could own a quilt shop it would be just like this one.
Back in the car, we turned eastward avoiding I-90 due to construction.
We arrived in Blue Earth and visited Michele’s Quilting & Sewing Center before continuing east onto Hayward to visit Calico Hutch. I featured them in 2017 here.
Up to this point, we were making good time. Tu-Na Helper had adjusted our travel time for the day to include spending an additional 5 minutes at each shop so we didn’t feel rushed. Some shops we spent more than the 20 minutes and some shops less. However, he had now changed the Route 4 Me App to direct us using the fastest route.
The last shop of the day would be in Mankato, one hour and 13 minutes to the northwest.
The New Shop on the Hop — River City Quilts
After walking through the door, I met the new shop owner, Laurel Ballman.
She bought the shop on August 1st, 2018, although it had been in business since 2000 in another location of the city. Laurel says her first year participating on the shop hop has been fun. I sure hope she’ll be back next year.
River City Quilts is now located downtown. This 142 year old building used to be the meat market. There’s lots of original architectural charm remaining in the building.
There’s even a meat smoking room in the basement. But the only evidence of that are the smokin’ hot and bright fabrics you’ll find inside the shop. Laurel offers a bit of everything to try to appeal to everybody’s tastes.
While you won’t find any fresh meat in the shop now, Laurel has been cooking up some fun. She creates kits and offers classes which will be starting back up in the fall.
Her advice for new quilters is to start simple. She says,”Don’t be afraid of trying something new and different. Ask for help. Ask questions when you need.”
I even found a firemen suit in a corner of the shop. It belonged to Laurel’s uncle and was added as a scavenger hunt item for the junior hoppers.
The outside of the shop is also interesting. Through all the years and various owners, the original Coca Cola sign has remained intact.
There’s a mural painted on the building across the parking lot that I had to have a bit of fun with.
When you stop at River City Quilts in Mankato, take time to relax and look for some smokin’ hot new fabrics. Be sure to tell them that Tu-Na sent you.
After we left the shop, we drove around the downtown section of Mankato because we’ve never seen it before. Laurel’s husband had spoken about its revitalization.
We dined on Mediterranean fare at Olives.
The food was delicious.
It was a good thing that Tu-Na Helper parked three blocks away from the restaurant as we needed the walk before we jumped back into the car.
We would be checking into a hotel room that we had secured earlier that morning located in New Ulm. It would be a 35 minute drive west from Mankato. We were beginning to think we were driving in circles. We both were tired and looking forward to a good night’s sleep.
After we settled into our room, we each turned on the hotel WiFi and started checking our email accounts. And then we heard it!!
It was loud!
Tu-Na Helper: “There’s a cicada stuck in our air conditioning unit,” he reported to the front desk on his phone.
Front desk: “I’ll let maintenance know about it in the morning.”
Tu-Na Helper: “I’ve banged on the unit to get it to stop and that hasn’t worked. Just so you know, in case you get complaints of loud noises from this room.”
Me: “Are you kidding?” I replied when he told me that there would be no one coming to rescue it or us. The hotel was full so no other rooms were available. We were too tired to try to find a different hotel.
Tu-Na Helper continued to try to get it to leave by banging on the unit. He even took the front grill off of it but about all that succeeded in doing was creating a cloud of dust in the air. He gave up and we got ready for bed.
We’ve only heard a couple of cicadas while living in North Dakota but we’ve also lived in a suburb of Washington D.C. and can still recognize that unforgettable sound. They are loud and shrill. This one had the added advantage of being stuck in a metal box that only amplified it.
I climbed into bed covering my head with the sheet and the pillow trying to convince myself we were outside camping in the wilderness. But I know for a fact that thing chirped all night and Tu-Na Helper slept right through it. Oh, it would settle down for a minute or two after his song was over and I would be just about asleep when it would start all over again.
It was a long night.
A Look at the Loot for the Day
Don’t miss out on my other 2019 Shop Hop posts:
Or the Shop Hop posts from prior years:
What I Learned Today:
- I am not very good at pretending. No matter how I tried, I could not convince my brain that we were outside enjoying the fresh air and sounds at a campsite.
- Tu-Na Helper can sleep through just about anything.
- “None of us are getting any younger” as heard on a radio program.
- I beg to differ. My mental age is still 29.
- Attitude is everything.
- “We are better together” seen on a sign just outside of New Ulm. I agree. Tu-Na Helper and I make a good pair.
Question: What’s your mental age? In my head, I am 29. Although, I often wonder who keeps stepping in front of me every time I look in a mirror.
At this time I am not affiliated with any of the items, products, services, or shops that I picture or talk about here on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats. I just happen to like and use them.
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Karen, Tu-Na Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication