ANOTHER DAY OF SUNSHINE and unseasonably warm temps here in southern Minnesota prompted Randy and me to once again hit the road in search of fall colors. This time we headed into eastern Rice County, following backroads in the Cannon City and Nerstrand areas with a lengthy stop at Valley Grove Churches.
At those historic hilltop churches, we followed prairie trails until we reached the highest point. There we stood, impressed by the distant Big Woods treeline colored in the hues of autumn. Valley Grove is one of our favorite spots in any season, but especially when the leaves are morphing color.
Our drive also took us on the road slicing through Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. We didn’t stop, simply enjoyed driving under a canopy of trees evolving in color. They have not yet reached their prime.
As always, Farmer Trail (off Falk Avenue) drew us in. This secluded road twists and turns among the maples and seems a well-kept secret. Thick woods edge the gravel road on both sides. I feel sheltered here, as if I’ve briefly entered some magical place.
This time of year in southern Minnesota truly feels magical given the remarkable beauty found in trees shifting from green to yellows, reds, oranges and browns.
My community of Faribault is ablaze and still erupting with color. City View Park on the east side overlooks the city, offering a vista view. The Shattuck-St. Mary’s clock tower always focuses my eye when taking in the city below and beyond.
Even traveling down the viaduct into downtown impresses in the autumn. There’s so much to see locally in autumn colors whether along a city street, an area lake, a back country road.
If there’s anything I want to impress, it’s that all of this—this autumn color spreading across the landscape—is right here in Faribault, in Rice County, in our backyard. I don’t know if everyone realizes that. I also want to impress that the days of autumn are fleeting. A cold front is moving in along with wind. Now is the time to get out there and view the fall colors, at least locally.
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
The fall photographs are lovely. As a child I remember being overwhelmed by fall colors and beauty in the Nerstrand and Faribault areas. Another church that is beautiful, is St. John’s United Church of Christ, or the stone church. Of course I might be biased since my husband and I were married there over 52 years ago.
Ah, yes, I am quite fond of St. John’s UCC Wheeling Township. I’ve attended many events there including German Fest, Lenten luncheons, The Last Supper Drama and more. Love the people. Love the place.
Congratulations on 52 years of marriage! What a blessing!
I love the canopy of trees-
Beautiful photos, Audrey! I love the old hilltop churches. ❤
Thank you, Penny. I’m certain you would love Valley Grove.
That is my kind of view!
Just a hint of “mountain/hills.”
I really miss this time of the year along that Mississippi Valley area.
I know you do. I hope this helps a bit in the missing of Minnesota in the fall.
Thanks, it does.❤️