I CONSIDER IT ONE of the most scenic spots in Rice County. A location that presents a sweeping vista of the countryside from atop a hill adjacent to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Autumn, especially, at Valley Grove offers a visual delight.
The group aims to preserve and maintain this place on the National Register of Historic Sites. Here, on this land claimed by early Norwegian immigrants, two churches (built in 1862 and 1894) stand next to a cemetery and next to the prairie.
To visit here is to feel a deep appreciation for the history of this place and those who chose this site to build houses of worship.
To attend the country social is to experience history—through music,
demonstrations, historical talks,
hands-on activities and more.
I always feel such a peace at Valley Grove. As if the world of today exists somewhere distant.
It’s good for the soul to take time on a sunny Sunday afternoon in September to step back in time. Not necessarily to idealize life then—because it was hard. But to gather with others in the countryside far from traffic and distractions and the noise of modern-day life.
To appreciate simpler times
and simple beauty.
To gather under the burr oaks, to walk the prairie, to study tombstones, to sing in the same church where early settlers sang, to watch youngsters craft ropes and walk on stilts. And so much more.
I appreciate the preservationists who understand the personal and historic importance of Valley Grove, of not allowing these churches to fall into disrepair like too many other shuttered country churches. They clearly value the land, the efforts of their forefathers, the importance of this place. Still today.
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling