One of my favorite pastimes is exploring the apps for VRBO and Airbnb. I love finding unique and different places for us to stay and explore.
We thought we would take the kids away for a few days over Christmas, but somewhere off the beaten path. I found a wonderful cabin in Harmony Minnesota. Harmony refers to itself as "The biggest little town in Southern Minnesota." It is also home to a large Amish community.
We have Tony's boys 50% of the time. These kids grew up visiting Costa Rica regularly with their mom and grandparents, who have a home there. Last year we took them to Hawaii. Between the two households they do a fair amount of traveling. Though when with us, it's often a bit more on the unusual side.
We wanted to get them away from the Xbox and their day to life, and show them a different way of living. So, Amish country sounded perfect.
The trip was a surprise, the boys didn't know where we were heading. Once we got to Harmony we let them know that we were going to stay in a cabin and explore the local culture.
The horse and buggies they kept seeing along the road, clued them in that we weren't in the suburbs anymore.
The Cabin was beautiful and on a several acres of land, and included a fishing pond. Plenty for us to explore, which we did. It was the middle of winter in Minnesota. The way to survive a cold winter is to embrace winter activities.
We made a fire outdoors, the boys rode the four-wheeler and we took a few hikes along the paths. I brought my trusty buffalo hat I hat gotten on a trip to South Dakota. It looks absurd to some, but it's the warmest hat I own and I love it.
I thought it was perfect for this trip, till Tony pointed out I might be mistaken for an animal by nearby hunters. I think he was jealous of my hat.
We went into town and explored the local shops, which was a ton of fun. The town was quiet but shops were open.
Tony has always had an eye for fashion. He loves to combine his personal style with the local fashions, which is what I think he was trying to do with this hat he got.
He called it Amish chic and wore it to lunch. The boys were mortified of course, but hey, when in Rome.
We found a few really cool antique stores. We were super tempted to bring this stuffed raccoon home. I wanted to mount it in the living room and name it Gary.
I don't know why. It just looked like a Gary. In the end we decided against it. We were worried our Giant Schnauzer would try to eat it.
We love meeting new people during our travels and this trip to Harmony was no exception. The man we were renting the cabin from connected us with a local Amish family.
He said they would expect us at 5:45 to help them milk cows. We thought that would be a wonderful experience for the boys who were a couple of suburban city slickers.
While in town we picked up a small gift basket for our Amish hosts, had an early dinner and went in search of their farm.
When we pulled up it was dark and oddly quiet, being the Amish didn't use electricity. There were no bright lights or blaring televisions.
We approached two of men we saw next to a barn who looked incredibly perplexed to see us. We introduced ourselves and said we were expected at 5:45 to milk cows. This is when they informed us that it was supposed to be 5:45AM NOT PM.
Boy did we feel stupid. We apologized for the intrusion, let them know we couldn't make 5:45am, thanked them and left.
As much as wanted an Amish cow milking experience, we didn't want it at 5:45am. In hindsight it makes sense that cows are milked in the early morning.
All in all, it was a fun trip. We would definitely do it again and plan to wake early for the cow milking with the Amish.